Growing up, my favorite breakfast was poached eggs on buttery toast. My mom had this nifty pan designed to hold little cups suspended above boiling water; it transformed eggs into perfectly shaped domes in mere minutes. So imagine my surprise when I began eating poached eggs elsewhere. At my first New York diner, I was presented with two eggs bobbing, raw and gelatinous, in a puddle of lukewarm water. Another time, at a fashionable brunch spot, I was served eggs as firm as those decorated for Easter. These experiences convinced me of two things: My mom’s pan was a very effective modern convenience intended to replace a more traditional technique I wasn’t aware of, and most people who were aware of this more traditional technique didn’t get it. But a trip to Paris can teach a person many things; for me, it was how to properly poach an egg. Ordering my favorite salad (a salade Lyonnaise) at my favorite brasserie (
Put the frisée in a large salad bowl and set aside.
In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook slowly until it’s crisp all over, 10 minutes or more. Add the shallot and cook until softened, another minute or two. Add the
Meanwhile, set a medium saucepan of water over medium-high heat and add the
If necessary, gently reheat the dressing, then pour it over the greens, add the blue cheese, toss, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top each portion with an egg and serve immediately.
A trip to Paris can teach a person many things; for me, it was how to properly poach an egg.
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