Frisée Salad with Bacon, Egg & Garlic Toasts (Salade Lyonnaise)

One of my favorite new cookbooks is My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz.  If you love Paris and you love food, then you will love this book…it’s a keeper and a really great read! I spent two hours poring through the book the other night.  I wanted to cook everything in it and it made me want to get myself back to Paris!

Here’s David’s version of the great classic French Salade Lyonnaise which, as David says, “is hearty enough for a meal, although it’s mostly considered a first course where it originated.”

(Serves 4 to 6)

salad-Ingredients for Garlic Croutons:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if needed
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups cubes or torn pieces of bread, about 3/4 inch in size
  • Sea salt and kosher salt

Salad Ingredients:

  • 8 to 12 new potatoes
  • sea salt and kosher salt
  • 2 cups diced, thick-cut bacon, smoked or unsmoked
  • 4 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoon peeled and minced garlic
  • 8 cups loosely packed frisée or escarole leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or fresh chives
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 poached eggs or 4 hard-cooked eggs , peeled and quartered

1.  To make the croutons, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, and cook until it’s deeply golden brown; be careful not to burn it. Remove and reserve the garlic, then add the bread, stirring the cubes in the oil, turning them frequently.  Add a sprinkle of salt and a dribble more oil if necessary, until the bread is brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Set aside until ready to serve.

2.  To make the salad, put the potatoes in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover.  Add some salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to a low boil and cook for 15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. (If done in advance, cook them slightly less, and let them rest in the warm water for up to 45 minutes.)

3.  While the potatoes are cooking, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until just starting to crisp. Drain the pieces on a plate lined with paper towels.

4.  In a large salad bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, 1/4 tsp of salt, the oil, water and garlic. (If you like garlic a lot, you can chop up the fried garlic clove from making the croutons and add that as well.)

5.  To assemble the salad, slice the potatoes and add them to the bowl along with the bacon and toss gently.  Add the frisée, parsley, and some black pepper. Add the croutons and hard-cooked eggs (if using) and toss very well. Divide among four salad bowls. If using poached eggs, slide one on top of each salad and serve.

VARIATION

Although it’s not traditional, I sometimes add 2 cups of crumbled blue cheese to the salad at the last minute, omitting the eggs.