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Take elegant French spin on kitschy

This recipe combines the fun of the endearingly kitschy and the elegance of an easy French classic: eggs in a hole and a lardon-frisee salad.

In the first, an egg fills the cutout center of sliced bread and is cooked in a skillet; in the latter, curly chicory greens are coated with a tangy vinaigrette, studded with chunks of bacon and topped with a poached egg.

Bacon appears in this rendition, too, but instead of fatty lardons, small cubes of lean Canadian bacon are browned in the skillet to start the dish. Then, the cutout

Goran Kosanovic/The Washington Post
An elegant French salad is topped with eggs in a hole, combining both the homey and the sophisticated.

slices of bread, which have been brushed with oil so that they toast up beautifully, go in the pan two at a time and an egg is cracked into the center of each. They are cooked until the whites are set but the yolk is still runny and the bread is golden brown.

The frisee (or whatever type of chicory you like) is tossed with a mustardy vinaigrette, and the warm egg in its crisped bread platform is place on top with a sprinkle of the smoky bacon bits. It’s a healthful brunch or breakfast-for-dinner dish that is both homey and sophisticated, and it brings way more deliciousness to the table than its simple ingredients let on.

EGGS IN A HOLE WITH FRISEE SALAD

4 servings

3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

3½ ounces thick-cut Canadian bacon (3 slices) or ham steak, diced

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced shallot or scallion

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Four ½-inch-thick slices crusty whole grain bread (taken from the middle of the loaf if the loaf is round)

4 large eggs

3 cups lightly packed, coarsely chopped or torn frisee or chicory

Brush a nonstick skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil and heat it over medium-high heat. Add the Canadian bacon or ham and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is nicely browned. Transfer it to a plate.

Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the oil with the sherry vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Use the remaining tablespoon of oil to brush both sides of each slice of bread. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or small glass to cut a hole in the center of each slice of bread; reserve the cutouts, if desired.

Heat the same skillet over medium heat. Place 2 of the bread slices and 2 cutouts in the same skillet and crack one egg into the hole of each slice. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the egg whites are mostly set and the bread is toasted on the underside. Use a spatula to turn over the bread/egg slices and cutouts, if using, cook for 1 minute more, so the white is cooked but the yolk is still runny. Repeat with the remaining bread slices, eggs and cutouts, if using, to create the remaining two eggs in a hole.

Toss the frisee or chicory with the dressing in a mixing bowl until evenly coated, then divide the salad among individual plates.

To serve, place one egg in a hole and one reserved cutout, if using, on top of the salad on each plate. Sprinkle with the browned bacon or ham.

PER SERVING: 280 calories, 14 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 200 mg cholesterol, 580 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar

– Adapted from food nutritionist and cookbook author Ellie Krieger.

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