This hearty salad is not bashful. Assertive seasonal greens are tossed with a sharp Dijon vinaigrette, then scattered with crispy lardons (bacon cubes) and croutons. While this salad might easily be the star of an easy weeknight dinner, served with a wedge of runny cheese and a glass of red wine, it’s an appropriately bold accompaniment to a rich and meaty stew such as Beef Bourguignon. And, of course, it’s an excuse to eat more bacon – which, in our home, is always in season.
Frisée and Escarole Salad with Lardons
Inspired by the French Salade Lyonnaise, which traditionally calls for sautéing the leaves in warm bacon drippings and topping the salad with a poached egg, this version omits the egg and browns the croutons in the bacon fat.
One medium head frisée, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
One half head of escarole, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
6 ounces slab bacon, rind trimmed, cut in 1/4″ cubes
8 or 12 baguette slices, 1/2″ thick
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place frisée and escarole in a large bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy golden. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pour off all of the bacon fat except for one tablespoon. Return skillet to stovetop. Add baguette slices in one layer in batches. Cook over medium heat until golden on both sides, turning once. Transfer bread to another plate lined with a paper towel.
Combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Pour dressing over salad leaves and toss to combine. Arrange salad on serving plates. Top with bacon and baguette croutons.