After gorging myself for four days on a diet of fatty pork, deep fried shellfish, eggs and carbs, I felt like I needed to cleanse my insides in the same way a frat house needs to be cleaned after a raucous party. Still, the taste of New Orleans lingered in my mouth and I longed for another porky bite of smoked Andouille or a creamy poached egg.
This was my compromise, inspired by a dish I had at Donald Link's Cochon. The original was a layer of grits topped with thick slabs of Andouille, fava beans, feta and a tangy mint dressing. It was one of the best dishes we had that evening and I fell hard for the combo of the smokey sausage with the mint and feta.
After convincing myself that my readers would like to see some Acadian cooking on this blog, I headed out to try and find some descent Andouille here in Manhattan. While I was out, I came upon a head of locally grown frisée that was so big, you could have attached it to a pole and mopped a gymnasium floor. While bigger doesn't always mean better, it was delightfully fresh and at $2.59 a head, I couldn't resist.
Like an unruly head of hair, frisée looks more like a mass of jagged tendrils than an edible member of the daisy family. While I'd take grits over a salad any day, I was trying to go at least a little healthier and was hoping the tangled mass of fiber would act like a sponge and magically undo all the fat and cholesterol I'd ingested over the past few days.
This salad made for a filling meal that captured some of the flavours of Link's dish with a little less guilt on your dietary conscience. If you're a vegetarian, or are being more serious about the health thing, you could leave out the sausage and still have a delightful salad with plenty of protein from the egg and cheese.
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together adjusting with honey and salt until it has a well balanced salty-tangy taste with just a hint of sweetness.
- Add 2" of water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water. Turn down the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Crack the eggs into individual ramekins. By lowering the eggs into the water from a ramekin we can avoid creating any unnecessary turbulence in the water that turns the white into inedible fluff.
- Gently lower the whole ramekin into the water, tipping it to "pour" the egg into the bottom of the pan. Repeat with the other egg. Fold 2 paper towels into quarters and put on a plate. When the eggs are set on the outside, but still soft in the middle, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and place on the paper towels to drain.
- Put the sausages in a microwave safe bowl and submerge with water. Microwave until the water boils then drain the water. This plumps the sausages and makes the casing taut so it gets nice and crisp when you fry it. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Put the sausages in the pan and brown on two sides. Remove from the pan and cut into 1/2" thick slices.
- To serve, toss the frisée with the feta and just enough dressing to coat each tendril. Put down a nest of frisée and feta then top with the slices of sausage and a poached egg. Spoon any remaining dressing on the egg and top with a little salt and pepper.