Friday, May 20, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie...and Michael, and Thomas: Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad

French Fridays with Dorie members must have been craving bacon, as evidenced by last week’s Spinach and Bacon Quiche, and this week’s Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad, top recipe picks for the May schedule. We started off the month with a fabulous Tourteau de Chevre, which I know I will be making again for one of our summer Concerts in the Park. I skipped the quiche, because I failed to plan ahead by making a double batch of dough the week prior, and didn’t feel like making homemade crust two weeks in a row.

This week's Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad was easy for our Wednesday night dinner, and I was able to take advantage of the lardon, red walnuts, and rustic loaf of bread we already had on hand. It’s no secret bacon and eggs are naturals, as are asparagus and bacon. Put them all together with mustard-sherry vinaigrette, baby greens, and toasted walnuts, and you’ve got a sure winner. A fresh grating of Parmesan, or a few slices of Gruyere, seals the deal.

I poached our eggs, rather than soft-boiling them, mainly because I wanted to test out Michael Ruhman’s method for poached eggs with his Badass Perforated (aka Egg) Spoon. I did not jump for the chance to purchase said Badass Spoon for $25.00 via OpenSky, because I had a similar $10.00 generic version sticking out of my utensil caddy already. The idea is to achieve neater poached eggs by getting rid of the liquidy, flyaway whites before poaching. And it does work: Simply crack an egg into a ramekin, slide the egg out of the ramekin onto the spoon, and allow the liquidy stuff to drain into the sink through the perforations. Slide the egg back into the ramekin, and then slip it into simmering water when ready to poach (no need for vinegar in the water). Use the badass spoon again to retrieve and drain the poached egg.

I used Thomas Keller's method for making lardons, and also made his Garlic Croutons, both from Ad Hoc at Home. Talk about badass!

Sorry, Dorie, I wasn’t completely faithful to your recipe this week. My little side flings with Ruhlman and Keller were just too tempting.

Thomas Keller Lardons: Cut the lardon or slab bacon into lardons about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch thick. Pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat (the water will keep the bacon from crisping as the fat begins to render). Add the bacon, reduce the heat to medium-low, and let the bacon render its fat for 30 minutes. The bacon will color but not become completely crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Thomas Keller Garlic Croutons: Cut the crusts off the loaf of white bread. Tear the bread into irregular pieces no larger than 2 inches. Measure about 3 cups of torn bread. Pour 1/8 inch of garlic-flavored oil (store-bought or homemade) into a large saute pan and heat over medium heat until hot. Spread the torn bread in a single layer. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. The oil and butter should be bubbling but not sizzling. Adjust the heat as necessary, and stir the croutons often. Cook the croutons until they are crisp and golden brown on all sides, 15 to 20 minutes. Move the croutons to one side of the pan and keep them warm until they are ready to serve.

French Fridays with Dorie is an online cooking group, that just hit 2,000 members, dedicated to Dorie Greenspan‘s newest book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours. As members of the group, we have purchased the cookbook and cook along as much as we can. There is a new recipe each week, and we post about that recipe on Friday. We are asked to refrain from posting the actual recipes on our blog. The book is filled with stunning photography, and personal stories about each recipe, which makes it that much more intriguing. I highly recommend adding it to your cookbook collection if you haven't already!

I found the actual recipe for this week's Bacon and Eggs and Asparagus Salad, published by the cookbook's publisher, here, so I'm sharing the link.

I recently received the comment below on one of my FFwD post, and I tend to agree, as long as the the recipe is "adapted" with your own words and attributed to the original author/cookbook. I'm interested to hear some other opinions, since these recipes have been blogged and posted by several other food bloggers by the time FFwD members prepare the recipe. Why should we lose readers, or be rejected by foodgawker and TasteSpotting if we don't post a recipe, when the recipe is readily available on other blogs? The FFwD rules state we cannot post the actual recipe, but does that mean we can't post our own re-written/adapted version?

Here's the comment: "The recipes look wonderful and the pics are fantastic...but, I have to say it absolutely drives me nuts that the "dorie participants" do not post the recipes. It totally goes against everything foodgawker is about, learning and sharing new recipes. It is a blatant promotion for Dorie's cookbooks and in my humble opinion, unacceptable. She's not reinventing the wheel here, it's just a recipe that people put their own spin on. I think foodgawker should not allow this to happen. Other than the "dorie days" I like your website."

Let me know what do you think?



Cher said...

Hmmm. That is a tough one - I think a lot of us struggle with that. I am sure you will get a lot of opinions on that.
Lovely salad - and those homemade croutons look great.

Anonymous said...

Your salad, especially the croutons, look delicious!

luciacara said...

Your salad looks wonderful - and making the croutons is genius! I liked the crunch of the nuts but croutons would be a great addition. Thanks for posting...I am going to add add them next time!

Pacheco Patty said...

Your poached eggs are beautiful, I may have to acquire that wonder spoon;-) I like the croutons but then I might want more egg yolk to dip them in;-)
About the recipes...why not just buy the book??? Or find a similar recipe on the web, lord knows there are plenty of them!

Denise said...

Patty - I have and love the book and always encourage people to buy it. But I think the point of my reader's comment was that some people who see a photo of a dish on foodgawker or TasteSpotting, and then go to that blog for the recipe, are disappointed when the recipe isn't there. They can easily go to another blog to find it, but then I've forced them to do that and lose readers.

Lizzy said...

Oh, yum, Denise! You made some nice tweaks. I should have done a hard boiled egg...that way I would have eaten it :)

I've offered to fax the recipe to posters who wanted a copy~

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

So pretty - love your add-ins! :)

KarenP said...

Your salad looks beautiful, and I think your changes would be Dorie-approved.

Anonymous said...

yum! i love the idea of using a poached egg. it's almost like an extra dressing!

Foodiva said...

Your perfectly poached eggs have me searching for that Badass Spoon! Never heard of it, but can't wait to try it. I of course, love the addition of your croutons as well, it adds to the overall texture and taste of the already beautiful salad!

Adriana said...

Your flings with Ruhlman and Kellers are minor peccadillos with this gorgeous salad! I need to test the egg poaching technique myself - I've never made a pretty poached egg. As for 'what foodgawker is all about', I thought it was to compile drool worthy pictures!

salsa222 said...

I am very much enjoying your blog. Your photography is beautiful.
As for the problem posting the recipes I is uncommon to not have the recipe with the pictures and descriptions. It is my understanding that adapting a recipe makes it yours. Ethically, I agree that it is right to state that it was adapted from........, unless it has been radically reworked.
I look forward to all of your postings. I also have a copy of Around My French Table. Sally

Anonymous said...

Nice variations to this salad - I also liked hearing about the egg poaching method.

As for posting the recipes, if you've adapted it enough, I think you can feel free to post it, but I don't think we should be posting the recipes straight from the book. We're cooking through the whole book, so we'd each eventually be posting all the recipes.

I know that people can find these recipes elsewhere on the web, but that's because some folks think it's okay to share copyrighted material. It depends on the ethical stance we each choose to take. Dianne Jacob has written about this on her blog and there have been some interesting discussions in the comments.

All that said, we each need to decide what we feel comfortable with and what we think is right.

Frankly, your blog is good enough that I don't think you should worry too much about losing readers.

kitchenarian said...

Great job on the salad; it looks wonderful. I thought about poaching the egg, so I am glad to see your version.