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Curly Endive Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Updated February 23, 2016
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Sometimes classic dishes can be the most special of all because they evoke associations and memories, not unlike a favorite movie or song. One such dish for me is frisee and lardon salad, which combines feathery, bitter chicory with sauteed bacon. The classic frisee and lardon salad is a true bistro staple that you can find on the menu in innumerable restaurants around the world. This is a supermarket-friendly version that uses curly endive rather than frisee and sliced bacon rather than lardons.

Nightly Specials



Instead of Bacon, use 1½ pound Smithfield ham, cut into small dice, or 1½ pound diced smoked turkey, heating them through in 1¼ cup warmed olive oil.

For the croutons, slice the baguette into 4-inch-thick rounds, toast as directed in step 2, and spread with soft, room temperature goat cheese.

Add ½ cup roughly chopped toasted walnuts to the salad, tossing them in while still warm.

Add a tablespoon or two of crumbled roquefort or other blue cheese. Be sure the cheese is at room temperature.

Make a meal of this, either by doubling the recipe or by topping each salad with a poached egg.

Serves4 to 6 as an appetizer

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Courseappetizer, main course

Dietary Considerationappetizer, main course

Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecrisp, crunchy, meaty, salty, savory, smoky, tangy, umami, winey

Type of Dishfirst course salad, main course salad, warm salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup day-old baguette, cut into 1½-inch dice
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 head (about 1½ pounds) curly endive or 2 heads frisee, cut into bite-size pieces, well washed, and dried

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Spread out the bread cubes on a cookie sheet and bake until golden, about 7 minutes. Turn the oven off, open the door slightly, and keep the croutons warm in the oven while you make the rest of the salad.

Warm a saute pan over low heat. Put in the bacon and saute until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crispy, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

Pour off and discard all but 2 tablespoons rendered fat from the pan. (Leave more drippings in the pan for a richer dressing.) Add the shallots to the pan over low heat, stir in the mustard and vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil to make an emulsified dressing.

Put the endive into a salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the greens, add the bacon and croutons, and toss.

Divide the salad among 4 to 6 salad plates and serve while the dressing is still warm and fragrant.

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