Ok - I tend to be a pretty down to earth gal. I tend to call ‘em like I see ‘em and sometimes – just occasionally- I get tired of all the hoity toity terms used in food circles.
Take my most recent pet peeve – amuse bouche. I was over at The Restaurant Widow’s joint. She talked about the wonderful radishes she got and how she paired them up with bread and butter to make an amuse bouche. Ya know – when I was growing up – that was called a pre-dinner snack. It’s the kind of thing my mom would give to the starving children so they wouldn’t waste away before dinner hit the table in twenty minutes.
If I were dining at the French Laundry – I might expect to get something called an amuse bouche. Hell, for $210 per person, it should be a freaking hysterical bouche. It better be a “front row seat at my favorite comedien” bouche or “The kid in 5th grade who always made me laugh so hard milk shot out my nose” bouche.
Next thing ya know - they will be offering amuse bouche at your local Mickey D’s. I mean they got oranges and fresh soy beans in their new salads – why not grab onto a new buzzword as well. “Hello, Welcome to McDonald’s. Would you like to try one of our new McBouches?”
So, to keep my taste buds amused, I am pleased to say that I have been snacking on fresh radishes from the garden – pretty damn tasty. Plus some fresh baby spinach…that I am going to use in a pasta dish tomorrow night – I might even post pictures if it tickles my fancy.
Tonight, however, I decided to warp a recipe from Bourdain’s book – Frisee aux Lardons. (It’s ok for me to use French words here – it’s a French dish.) Basically, it is what my mom would have called a wilted salad, which she adored. It takes frisee – more commonly know as curly endive - and tosses it with crispy fried bacon bit and shallots, and topped off with chicken liver vinaigrette that has been warmed in the same skillet that was used to fry the bacon. It is served with toasted baguette rounds smeared with a nice strong blue cheese. Excuse me – bleu cheese.
Not having chicken liver vinaigrette hanging around the kitchen, Mr. Bourdain will have to forgive me for substituting in a nice red wine vinegar and olive oil vinaigrette instead. I also added two poached eggs on top (having picked up some fresh eggs from the farmer’s market this morning) which mixed nicely with the bitter greens and vinaigrette. Pared with a crusty roll, it was an awesome dinner. And my mouth was laughing all the way.
Rosie’s Frisee aux Lardon (or Wilted Salad with Bacon and Eggs)
Two medium heads of curly endive or frisee
Half pound of bacon, cut into coarse dice
½ cup of thinly sliced sweet onion
¾ cup red wine vinaigrette (homemade using the basic ratio 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 oil)
4 eggs, poached
Clean the endive. Wash well and tear into bite size pieces. Dry and place into large bowl. Add the thinly sliced onions to the bowl.
Brown off the bacon until crisp. Put aside. Do not sample while making rest of recipe. Drain all but two tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Add the vinaigrette to the pan and bring to a boil. Take off heat and immediately pour hot dressing over salad. Toss to distribute evenly.
Divide the salad into serving bowls and top with bacon.
Poach eggs over simmering water. Remove from pan with slotted spoon and allow to drain before placing on salad. Top with salt and freshly grated pepper.
To Eat: Break eggs and mix with dressing before eating. Use crusty bread to wipe up last of dressing.