Bacon and Frisée Salad with Poached Eggs
I learned how to make this simple salad, also known as salad Lyonnaise, when I was a trainee under Anne Willan, the founder of well-known culinary school La Varenne and authority on French cooking. It is a classic French salad, which may seem strange because it is actually served hot, but the oil actually just helps to make the tough leaves of frisée tender. Plus there’s bacon, that’s right, bacon! The dressing for the salad is mainly composed of the bacon drippings combined with red wine vinegar, which makes for a flavorful salad perfect for cooler weather.
1 large head frisée, washed and torn into pieces
½ pound thick-cut bacon, cut cross-wise into ½-inch strips
2 tablespoon diced shallots
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly ground black pepper
4 poached eggs
1 tablespoon diced chives
Add the bacon to a medium sauté pan over medium heat, and cook, until the fat has rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 5 minutes. If there is an excessive amount of oil left in the pan, pour some out, reserving about 3 tablespoons of it in the pan. Add the shallots to the hot oil and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the frisée to a medium salad bowl and pour the hot fat and the crispy bacon over the salad. Toss to combine and continue to toss until the leaves are slight wilted, about a minute.
Return the pan used to cook the bacon to medium heat, and add the vinegar to the hot pan. Be careful as the mixture may sputter. Add the mustard, whisking to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and let the mixture reduce to about half. Pour the vinegar mixture over the salad and toss to combine. Season with freshly ground pepper and serve hot with poached eggs over the top. Garnish with chives. Serve immediately.
Serves 4 as a side salad.