This hearty salad is standard French bistro fare. It combines the saltiness and smokiness of bacon, the bite of bitter greens, the crunch of croutons, and the sharpness of mustard vinaigrette. A poached egg is perched on top of the greens, and when broken into, the runny yolk coats all the salad elements like a sauce.
- 4 slices white sandwich bread, high quality
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- table salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 6 ounces frisée, (about 2 small heads)
3 ounces dandelion greens, (3 cups) - see note
3 ounces mâche, (3 cups) - see note
4 slices bacon, thick-cut
1 medium shallot
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or whole-grain mustard
⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 6 large eggs
1. Prepare the Croutons: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut 4 slices white sandwich bread into 1/2-inch cubes.
Toss bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in bowl.
Spread bread cubes out on rimmed baking sheet.
Bake until croutons are golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes.
2. Prepare Salad Ingredients: Wash and dry 6 ounces frisée, 3 ounces dandelion greens, and 3 ounces mâche.
Tear frisée and dandelion greens into bite-size pieces as needed.
Toss frisée with dandelion greens and mâche in large bowl.
Cut 4 slices thick-cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.
Peel and mince 1 shallot. You should have about 3 tablespoons.
3. Start Salad: Cook bacon in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp, but still chewy, 4 to 6 minutes.
Transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate, leaving rendered fat in skillet.
Add shallot to fat in skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, 2 to 4 minutes.
Stir in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon Dijon or whole-grain mustard, scraping up any browned bits.
Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Off heat, stir in 1/3 cup olive oil and set aside.
4. Poach Eggs: Fill 12-inch nonstick skillet nearly to rim with water.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons white vinegar.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Crack 2 eggs into each of 3 small teacups with handles. When water boils, turn off heat.
Immediately and all at once, lower lips of cups into water and tip eggs into water.
Cover and poach eggs off heat until whites are cooked but yolks are still runny in center, about 5 minutes.
(See note if you have sous vide capabilities.)
5. Assemble Salad: While eggs poach, drizzle vinaigrette over greens and toss thoroughly to coat.
Divide greens among 6 individual serving plates.
Sprinkle evenly with bacon and croutons.
6. Top with Eggs and Serve: Using slotted spoon, quickly and carefully transfer eggs, one at a time, to large plate lined with paper towels, letting water drain back into skillet.
Once all eggs have been drained, gently slide 1 egg onto each salad and serve immediately.
Dandelion greens and mâche are sold in well-stocked supermarkets and specialty grocers. If you cannot find them, mesclun mix can be substituted, but the flavor of the salad will be a little milder.
If you have sous vide equipment you can skip the poaching steps and cook the eggs directly in a water bath at 147º F for 1 hour instead.
I like the Thomas Keller method for dressing greens: Pour the dressing around the rim of a wooden salad bowl to coat it. Add the greens and use tongs to toss. You get a nice, even coating with no risk of puddles on the leaves.
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