4 slices rustic French bread, crusts removed
2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups oil
Salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Few handfuls of garden lettuces
Your favorite vinaigrette
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, chervil, tarragon, or a combination, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and brush with the melted butter. Bake for 10 minutes, or until golden. Keep the croutons warm.
In a frying pan or cast-iron pan, heat the oil until it is quite hot, about 325 F. More heat will cause the eggs to be tough and rubbery. Test the oil with a thermometer or by adding a bread cube. The oil should sizzle but not brown the bread. Crack 1 egg into the oil, then tilt the pan quickly to form a well of oil deep enough to immerse the egg. With a spoon, ease the exposed white away from the base of the pan. Gently fold the white over the yolk to enclose it. The layers of white will protect the yolk from the heat.
When the egg white appears firm and starts to brown, lift the egg out with a slotted spoon. Let the excess oil drip back in the pan. With the paper towel, blot the egg of excess oil on the top and bottom. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining eggs.
Serve the fried eggs on croutons and garden lettuces, sprinkled with your favorite vinaigrette. Garnish with chopped herbs.
Gayle Pirie and John Clark, authors of "Country Egg, City Egg"