In the late '90s I was fortunate enough to go to Paris for a week with my mom and my aunt. It was there, in the city of lights, that I discovered this beloved Parisienne salad for the first time. Slightly bitter frisée lettuce is tossed in a simple vinaigrette with warm bacon, some fresh herbs and topped with a decadent poached egg. This salad is filling enough to be a meal on its own which makes it a great choice for a light lunch, leaving room for an Éban's Bakehouse Sweet Indulgence or one of our delicious cookies for dessert!
We enjoy this classic salad paired with a couple slices of our Oat Bread toasted to a golden brown, generously smeared with pure salted butter and sprinkled with the ubiquitous French herb blend, Herbes de Provence. I made my own version last fall with my dried homegrown herbs, but you can find this lovely blend at most grocery stores. There are many versions of it containing different combinations of herbs. I prefer lavender in the mix as it reminds me of the beautiful lavender fields that flourish in the southern Provence region of France.
Frisée Salad with Bacon Lardons & Poached Egg
- 1 T red wine vinegar
- 4 lg eggs
- 8 oz thick-sliced bacon
- 2 T red wine (or sherry) vinegar
- 1 T whole-grain mustard
- 2 t Dijon mustard
- ¼ c olive oil
- 4 hds frisée lettuce (if you can't find frisée, the more tender inner leaves of curly endive may be substituted)
- 1T shallots, minced
- 2 T chives, minced
- 1 T flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 T tarragon, chopped
- 1 T chervil (if available), chopped
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
For the eggs:
- Fill a large, 3” or deeper saucepan ¾ full with water and bring to a boil.
- While water is coming to a boil, prepare an ice bath for the poached eggs
- Add 1 T vinegar to the boiling water and reduce heat to a simmer. Crack 2 of the eggs into small cups or ramekins.
- Using a wooden spoon, stir the water in a circular motion a couple of times and immediately add an egg, carefully to the center of the pan, then add the other egg right after.
- Simmer gently for 90 seconds or until the whites are set and the yolks are still runny.
- Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath.
- Repeat the process with the remaining 2 eggs. The poached eggs can be made several hours ahead, placed on a ceramic plate, covered with plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the bacon:
- Cut the bacon into ⅜” pieces and spread in a single layer in a large skillet placed over medium heat.
- Sauté the lardons, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
- Drain the lardons and keep in a warm spot.
For the vinaigrette:
- Whisk together the 2 T of red wine or sherry vinegar with the mustards in a small bowl or shake vigorously in lidded jar.
- Add the oil and whisk or shake to incorporate the oil with the vinegar mixture into a temporary emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
For the Salad:
- Set a pan of simmering water on the stove to reheat the poached eggs.
- Wash the frisée, discarding any tough outer leaves and the root end. Spin dry or towel dry the frisée leaves.
- Place the frisée in a mixing bowl and add the minced shallots, 1 T of the chives, the remaining herbs, the warm lardons and enough vinaigrette to just moisten all of the greens. Season with salt and pepper and toss to mix well.
- Mound equal portions of the salad into four shallow salad or soup bowls and make a slight indentation in the center of each as a well to hold the egg.
- Gently slide the eggs into the simmering water and reheat for about a minute just to warm them, keeping the yolks runny. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and blot on a paper towel before placing into the well of each salad.
- Sprinkle the eggs with the remaining chives and salt & pepper to taste.
- Enjoy the salad by piercing the yolk to run through the salad. Add more vinaigrette if you like.