Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Kale Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots and Poached Egg

Food trends can sweep nations, but they can also catch hold on a very local scale, in your own household, like the red lentil soup I couldn't stop making the winter I was pregnant with my son. When my parents visited recently, I exposed them to various uses for the vegetable du jour, kale, which has even been making inroads into Parisian cuisine and has certainly been trending in our household. Reminiscing with my parents reminded my of another household food trend from my youth, following a summer trip to Paris, when my father could not get enough frisee salad with lardons and poached eggs.

Now my parents are mostly vegetarian, and bacon is passé, so I decided to recreate a kale version of Salad Lyonnaise with crispy fried shallots in lieu of lardon. It was quite delicious, and I'm convinced that these shallots, a common condiment in Vietnamese cuisine, will be the next big food trend. At least they will be in our household.

Kale Salad with Crispy Fried Shallots and Poached Egg
serves four for a side or two for a main dish

1 bunch lacinato kale
2 shallots
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 eggs

1. Rinse the kale leaves, cut out the center stems, and chop into 1 inch ribbons. Dry thoroughly.

2. Prepare the crispy fried shallots. Peel and chop the shallots. Heat a wok or skillet and warm the oil. Add a piece of shallot and if it sizzles, add the rest of the shallots and a generous pinch of salt. Cook the shallot pieces over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until they develop a deep brown color, but without burning. Remove the shallots with a slotted spoon and reserve. To the shallot-scented oil add the vinegar and heat, stirring, for a minute. Now drizzle the hot vinaigrette over the kale and toss to coat. Sample a leaf and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. Heat water in a wide pan for poaching the eggs. When the water is ready, poach four eggs following these instructions (or you can cheat and use these), such that the yokes are still runny (they will serve to further dress the kale leaves in the salad). You can also poach the eggs ahead of time and reheat them gently in a bath of hot water.

4. Assemble the salads by plating the dressed kale, top with a poached egg or two, and sprinkle over the crispy fried shallots. Eat right away.  

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