I love frisée salads with lardons, poached egg and perfectly crispy croutons. This recipe encapsulates all those French elements, plus some.
This salad is all about indulgence.
I bought a crazy good cheese from Whole Foods – Brebirousse D’Argental – and felt the need to share this discovery. It was the bright orange rind drew me in.
If you want a punchy, funky cheese with a wow factor, this is your cheese. It’s flavorful in all the right ways. And, it liquefies in a matter of minutes after sitting at room temperature. I want that quality in my cheese, to be clear. Any fresh goat cheese would be wonderful in this recipe though, so stick with your favorite.
If you can get a fat slab of pork fat, which I couldn’t find, this is going to be that much better. I went with the highest-quality, thickest bacon I could find.
Can we talk about bacon fat croutons? Yes, French baguette croutons broiled in garlic, olive oil and sea salt are addictive. But these are next-level good. And take a lot less time, if you’re already going through the hassle of browning bacon.
If you’re anything like me, it takes time for me to establish new cooking habits – especially extra steps that seem like added work, but I know are worth the payoff. I always thank my past self for the effort.
Think – re-using frying oil, saving Reggiano rinds, grinding your own spices, regularly preparing chicken and beef stock, and flavoring batches of olive oil. In the case of bacon fat, I’ve started to save a jar of it in the fridge, leftover from previous frying sessions. I use it instead of butter in dishes that are begging for a bacon boost. A spoonful packs a whopping punch.
The key to this salad though, is the combination of the runny egg yolk and the basic vinaigrette. The simplicity of the dressing emphasizes the in-your-face richness of the other ingredients in this salad – the heavy goat cheese, crispy bacon fat, and croutons browned in said bacon fat.
If you aren’t enthused about eating raw scallion stalk, chives would work just as well here. But I have a feeling there are others out there who like raw scallion flavor as much as I do. Slightly less harsh than biting into fresh onion, and much more herbaceous. Plus, it adds to the greenery of the salad.
What are some of your favorite French bistro salads?
I N G R E D I E N T S
Serves 2 as a main course.
- 4 cups mustard greens or frisee lettuce, roughly chopped
- 2 scallion stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 cup curly parsley, roughly chopped
- 6 oz. goat cheese, of your choosing, crumbled or cubed
- 1 medium heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
- 2 cups French baguette, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 endive, leaves removed
- 1 / 2 lb. bacon or lardons, cut into small cubes
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lemon, juiced
- Pinch of pepper
- Pinch of sugar
- Salt, as needed
D I R E C T I O N S
- Whisk the Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the bacon in a skillet. Brown until crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- While still on low heat, add the cubed bread to the pan with the bacon drippings. Toast the bread, tossing often, until crispy and golden brown. Remove the croutons from the heat, sprinkle liberally with salt, and set aside.
- Prepare the salad – in a large bowl, combine the mustard greens, parsley, scallions, goat cheese, heirloom tomato, endive, croutons and lardons. Toss with the dressing.
- Plate the salads, topping each with an egg yolk. Sprinkle the salads with salt, and serve immediately.