I've taken my favorite bistro salad—frisée, poached egg, and bacon—and turned it into my favorite sort-of sandwich. Large chunks of bacon, rustic hunks of toasted bread, peppery greens, and scoops of soft-cooked egg tossed together with a warm mustard-sherry dressing will satisfy the Francophile in you.
6 ounces bacon, preferably applewood-smoked, sliced off the slab into 3 1/2-inch-thick strips
For the Croutons:
1 1-pound white sourdough loaf
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
5 extra-large eggs
1 medium head (about 8 ounces) radicchio leaves, removed and torn into large pieces
1 medium head (about 4 ounces) frisée, center core removed, pulled apart into small bunches
1 large bunch (about 4 ounces) dandelion greens, mizuna, or arugula, tough stems removed
For the Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup bacon fat (if you don't get enough rendered fat from frying the bacon, add enough olive oil to make up the quantity)
1-2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup sherry-wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
For the Bacon: Cut each strip of bacon into 4 pieces. In a skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until cooked all the way through but not crisp. Drain it on a paper towel, and reserve the fat.
For the Croutons: Cut the loaf of bread in half and reach in beneath the crust to pull out 1 1/2-2-inch pieces of bread. Place the bread chunks on a baking sheet, drizzle them with the olive oil, and toss well. Toast them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until they're lightly browned, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they're evenly baked. When the croutons are cool enough to handle, rub them with the garlic clove and set aside.
To Cook the Eggs: Place the eggs in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Bring them to a boil, then turn down the heat to a low simmer. Simmer the eggs for 5 minutes, then plunge them into a large bowl of ice water for a minute or so. Take them out as soon as they're cool enough to handle.
In a huge bowl, toss to combine the radicchio, frisée, dandelion greens, toasted bread, and bacon.
To Make the Vinaigrette: In a medium-sized skillet, over medium heat, warm the bacon fat (and olive oil, if necessary). Add the shallots and cook them for 2-3 minutes, until they just begin to sizzle. Whisk in the vinegar, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the mustard, and cook another 30 seconds. Remove the vinaigrette from the heat, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour most of the vinaigrette over the salad, and toss well to combine. Cut the top 1/2 inch off the eggs and, using a spoon, scoop them out of the shells in large spoonfuls into the bowl. Pile the salad onto 4 plates, and drizzle the remaining vinaigrette over each.
Adapted from Nancy Silverton's Sandwich Book: The Best Sandwiches Ever - From Thursday Nights at Campanile by Nancy Silverton and Teri Gelber (Knopf, 2002). Copyright 2002 by Nancy Silverton and Teri Gelber.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new, and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. You have the power to keep us cooking, sharing these stories, and helping you in the kitchen.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table.