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Published: Tuesday, 5/16/2006

Chicken and the Egg

4 chicken breasts, skin on but boneless

4 eggs

2 cups bacon, diced

4 small handfuls frisee lettuce (or mesclun salad mix)

3 shallots, chopped finely

2 tablespoons cooking oil

2 tablespoons fleur de sel, optional

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

Cook's note: Fleur de sel is an expensive almost-sweet, floral-tasting salt that has been harvested from natural salt pans on the French islands. If it is not available, a sea salt may be used. Both are optional.

Slice bacon into thin strips and slowly cook in a nonstick saute pan until crispy. Add chopped shallots to pan on low heat and slowly sweat until translucent. Deglaze pan with red wine vinegar and finish with extra virgin olive oil. This will be the vinaigrette for the salad.

Clean the saute pan and place on the stove at medium-high heat. Add cooking oil to the pan. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Gently place chicken in pan skin side down and brown lightly.

While the chicken is cooking, place a two-quart pot on the stove with water and bring to a simmer.

By the time the chicken is ready to be flipped, adding a little butter, lightly baste the skin to a golden crispy brown until done. Remove chicken from pan (at least 8 minutes) and let rest.

With the two-quart pot of water simmering, vigorously whisk the water in a vortex motion and crack the egg into the center. Let the egg cook until the white is fully cooked but the yolk is still liquid. Remove egg from the pot with a slotted spoon.

Take the bacon vinaigrette and toss with frisee. Arrange on the plate like a nest. Place the egg in the center of the nest and garnish with fleur del sel. Slice chicken and fan around the salad.

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, Lacroix at The Rittenhouse

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