#jacques pepin #whisk salads, soups, & sandwiches

Lyonnaise frisee salad with bacon croutons

Lyonnaise frisee salad with bacon croutons
6 slices bacon
thick-cut, at least 1/8-inch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic
or 1.5 teaspoons, pressed
1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 teaspoons
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 head frisee
large in size, or 2 small heads, washed and dried
1 loaf baguette
about 4 cups cubed, could also use country bread
1 tsp red wine vinegar
4 whole eggs
large in size
There used to be a French restaurant in San Francisco named Jeanty at Jack’s. In 2006, I tasted their delicious escarole salad with bacon vinaigrette and a soft boiled egg for the first time. When Jacques Pepin published his second book in the Fast Food My Way series, we were delighted to find this recipe in it and was thrilled with the outcome. It’s the closest we've come to the flavor profile of the salad at Jeanty’s. I later learned that cafes commonly serve this type of salad, frisee aux lardon, in Lyon, France. We sometimes pair this hearty salad with a light protein like tilapia with herb cream sauce.
Arrange as many bacon slices as will fit in a single layer inside the large stainless skillet. I often cut a slice in half to fit in the far edges. Fill the skillet with a thin layer of water and cook over medium-high heat. Once the water starts to boil, drop the heat to medium. Once the water evaporates, drop the heat to medium low. Flip the bacon slices occasionally and cook until the bacon is brown and crisp. Drain the bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Flip the bacon after a few minutes to drain the opposite side.
Prepare the dressing while the bacon cooks. In a bowl large enough to toss the salad, combine the dressing ingredients - salt, pepper, garlic, mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil - with a whisk.
Process the other components like the croutons and frisee while the bacon cooks. Transfer the frisee into the large bowl with dressing.
Once the bacon is crisped, remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the skillet. Add the bread cubes and cook for 6-8 minutes over medium-low heat, tossing/turning them every minute or so until brown on all sides. Transfer the croutons to the large bowl with the salad dressing and frisee. While the croutons cook, cut the bacon into small pieces with scissors and transfer into the large bowl as well.
Poach the eggs. Fill a small non-stick pot with 1.5 inches of water. Add the red wine vinegar and bring to a boil. Break the eggs one at a time into the water. Reduce the heat to medium-low or low so the water doesn't boil. After about 30 seconds, move the eggs a little with a slotted spoon so they don’t stick to the bottom and continue to cook them for about 4 minutes. They should still be runny inside. Rest the eggs in a slotted spoon or equivalent and drain over a paper towel-lined plate.
At serving time, toss the greens in the bowl with the dressing, croutons, and bacon. Divide the salad among 4 bowls. Arrange an egg in the center of each salad. Serve immediately.
source: adapted from Jacques Pepin's More Fast Food My Way with a bacon technique from Cook's Illustrated
We modified the crouton cooking instructions in this dish so that the croutons would turn out crisp, but soft on the inside. If we're tight on time and have hard-boiled eggs handy, we'll sometimes substituted the poached eggs with sliced hard-boiled eggs, or exclude the eggs entirely.