While I was in LA (actually, in Long Beach), I met up with of my long-lost friends. It was amazing. And we ate at this little cafe, La Creperie, where I got this 'paysanne' salad. It isn't clear to me if that is really a good name for this salad, but I just went with it.
The salad is romaine lettuce, crispy potatoes, and bacon tossed in a Dijon vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg and toasted goat cheese.
I first had fried potatoes in a salad while I was working on a school project in Mali, Africa. My team and I worked in a village during the day and some of the younger women in the village would bring us lunch each day. It was always some sort of meat in a sauce with rice. But there was sometimes vegetables or something different. My favorite variation to the norm was the lettuce with fried potatoes tossed in some sort of vinaigrette. Unfortunately, we were strongly advised not to eat uncooked foods like lettuce so that we didn't get sick from the water it was washed with. I live on the edge, so I would nibble on it. I figured they might not even wash it in the village. Anyways, I just love the idea of fried potatoes in salad.
2 medium sized russet potatoes
3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper
1.5 tsp of Dijon mustard
1 tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
3-6 tbsp of olive oil
For poached eggs:
1 tsp of white wine vinegar
4 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 heads of romaine lettuce, chopped
5 ounces of goat cheese
Start potatoes: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the potato cubes and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Saute stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Turn the heat up to high, add the water, stir, and cover the pan with a lid. Steam the potatoes until the water evaporates, about 3 or 4 more minutes. (Every 1 to 2 minutes, open the lid long enough to stir the potatoes so they don't stick.) Lower the heat to medium, and saute another 1 to 2 minutes until all traces of water are gone. Toss in the butter and stir to coat the potatoes. Spread the potatoes out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until the potatoes are crisp and browned to your liking, about 15 to 25 minutes depending on how dark you want them.
Meanwhile, prepare the dressing: Whisk together the mustard, vinegars, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. While whisking, slowly add in the olive oil, to taste.
Poach the eggs: In a large, deep skillet or sauce pan, fill with water and bring to boil. Reduce to simmer. Add vinegar. Poach one egg at a time for 4-5 minutes. Place in cool water bath while cooking the others.
To assemble salad: Toss half the lettuce, half the potatoes, and half the bacon with some vinaigrette. Put on plate. Top with two poached eggs and half the goat cheese (formed into a round ball). Optional: toast the goat cheese with a torch. Repeat for second salad.
(Servings: 2, Prep time: 10 min., Cook tie: 1 hour, Difficulty: Intermediate)
Shanon (taste): 7/10
Scot (taste): 7/10
Dishwashing Effort: 3/5