Coming upon this rough little dish brushing shoulders with the sometimes extravagant refinements of Ali Bab’s monumental Gastronomie Pratique is a bit like being offered a beer to quench one’s thirst after having spent days tasting in the cellars of Champagne. He notes, “This dish, which I had occasion to taste in the country, seemed excellent to me after a long walk.” He apparently made no attempt to re-create the object of this sentimental memory in his own kitchen, for the proportions given are completely fantasist.
The preparation is typically Lyonnaise in spirit, heart- and soul-warming, but it should be thought of as a winter’s supper dish, perhaps accompanied by a bitter green salad and followed by a cheese, with no further adornment.
The moment the potatoes are cooked, put the shallots to cook with the butter over a very low flame—they should soften and yellow without the butter’s browning.
Peel the potatoes, hot, the moment they are out of their water, holding each in a towel to protect your hand and slicing them onto a heated serving platter. Slice the eggs thickly and gently mix with the potatoes, breaking them no more than necessary.
When the shallots are soft, sprinkle with salt and pepper, turn the flame up a bit, throw in the parsley, and, a couple of seconds later, add the vinegar and pour the contents of the pan all over the potatoes and eggs.
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.