Salade De Scarole Aux Pommes Et Aux Lardons

You will love this crisp, flavorful winter salad with its mix of savory and slightly sweet.  Vary the greens, mix and match.

For poaching the eggs:

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

4 large eggs

For the Salad:

7 ounces (210g) escarole leaves (about 8 cups loosely packed), trimmed, rinsed, patted dry and torn into bite-sized pieces

7 ounces (210g) slab bacon, rind removed, cut into 1 x ½ x 1/8 inch (2.5 x 1.25 x .25cm) pieces

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, if needed

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 large crisp, sweet apple such as Jonagold or Honeycrisp, cut into 16 pieces

1 clove garlic, green germ removed if necessary, finely diced

2 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1.  Pour water to a depth of 3 inches (7.5cm) in a large saucepan, add the vinegar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Break one of the eggs into a small bowl.  Adjust the heat so the water is at a rolling boil, and slide the egg into the spot in the water where the bubbles emerge from the bottom of the pan.  (The swirling bubbles will help wrap the egg white around the yolk, protecting it from the direct heat.)  Fit as many eggs as you can without crowding the pan, and cook until the whites are solid but the yolks are soft, about 3 minutes.  Remove the eggs, one at a time, with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a bowl of very warm salted water so they will still be hot when you serve them.  Cook the remaining eggs and prepare the salad.  (For hot eggs, keep them no longer than 15 minutes.  You may poach them up to 1 hour in advance and keep them in warm water, to serve them lukewarm.)

2.  Place the escarole in a heat-proof bowl.

3.  Place the bacon in a medium-size, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, and brown it on all sides, stirring frequently, for about 7 minutes.  (If the bacon doesn’t have much fat on it, add the oil at this point.)

4.  While the bacon is browning, melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat until sizzling hot.  Be sure not to brown the butter.  Add the apple slices and sauté until slightly golden and nearly soft through, 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and keep warm.

5.  When the bacon is golden, drain off all but 3 tablespoons fat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, just until it begins to turn golden on the edges, about 1 minute.  Then stir in the vinegar, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Some of the vinegar will evaporate, creating a cloud of steam, which may be irritating to your eyes, so stand back as you stir.

6.  Pour the bacon and its cooking juices over the greens, and toss until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.  Add the apple slices and their cooking juices, and toss quickly. Then season with salt, if necessary, and a generous amount of pepper.  (Taste the salad.  If it doesn’t have quite enough vinegar flavor, sprinkle a bit more on to satisfy your palate, as vinegars differ greatly in their acidity.)

7.  Divide the salad among four warmed dinner plates. Drain the poached eggs and trim off any straggly egg white with kitchen shears.  Top each salad with a poached egg, season with a shower of pepper, and serve.

serves 4


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