Frisee Salad with Lardons and Blue Cheese

Blue cheese and bacon are two of my favorite ingredients.  And great additions to any salad.  Most are familiar with a lettuce wedge topped with bacon and blue cheese dressing.  While that is usually delicious, you can get a little more creative.

A variation of this frisee recipe may turn up as a main course at a French brasserie, but most home cooks tend to overlook it.  So I deemed it post-worthy, especially since I can’t seem to get enough of it lately.

Unfortunately, finding frisee isn’t always so easy.  But it is essential.  You’ll likely have to go to a high end grocer.  But nothing else soaks up the dressing and handles the lardons in the same way.  The trick to my recipe is adding the shallots cooked in pork fat to the dressing.  It cuts the vinegary taste perfectly.  And I always add the blue cheese after tossing so it doesn’t soak up too much of the dressing.  Adding the poached egg as the last step makes it creamy and irresistible.  It’s a couple more minutes of cooking time that is truly worth the extra effort.

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Frisee Salad with Lardons and Blue Cheese
Serves 2.

Ingredients

1/2 lb of frisee (one large bunch)
2 oz of pancetta or 3 slices of bacon, chunked
1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese or gorgonzola
2 tbps of dijon mustard
2-3 tbsps of raspberry vinegar
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil (lemon oil if available)
*A few squeezes of lemon (optional if not using lemon oil)
1/2  a large shallot, diced thin
1-2 large eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Rinse the frisee and chop coarsely.  Place in a large mixing bowl.

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Then make the lardons.  Saute the pancetta or bacon in a skillet over medium low.  When sufficiently browned and crispy (about 5 mins), push the lardons to the side.  Add the shallot to the same pan and saute in the fat for a couple minutes.

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In the meantime, in a separate small bowl, add vinegar, mustard, oil and lemon juice.  Whisk to combine.

Add the lardons to the frisee when finished cooking and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Next add the shallots from pan to the vinegar mixture with a little grease.  Whisk.  Pour dressing into frisee and toss well.  The salad should be wet but not soggy.  Mix together more of the vinegar mixture if needed.

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Then add the blue cheese and mix thoroughly.  Taste.  Add more salt and pepper as needed.

In the meantime, bring a small saucepan full of water with 1 tsp of white vinegar to a boil.  Crack an egg or 2, if using, into separate ramekins.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add the egg(s).  Cook for about 2 minutes.  While cooking, spoon a little water over the egg(s) so the shape is maintained.  Carefully remove using a slotted spoon or something similar and set aside until ready to add to the salad.

If using one egg, add it to the large bowl and toss to combine.  Then plate each salad.

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If using two eggs and being fancy, plate the salad on each plate and top with the egg.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper as desired.  Diners can cut into the egg for the desired oozy effect and then toss themselves.

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Now try to find a salad recipe you love as much as this!

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