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Warm Spinach Salad with Lardons, Sherry Vinaigrette, and Fried Eggs

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

A goat cheese omelet, or steak frites, or a frisée and lardon salad captures the essence of a Parisian bistro. To my mind, a forkful of this warm salad, with a bit of salty bacon and the yolk of a fried egg melting into and enriching the vinaigrette, is the epitome of Paris. You can also serve this salad as a light lunch. Or, for a less substantial starter salad, omit the fried eggs.

NotesBe sure the spinach and frisée leaves and your bowl are at room temperature and not cold, or the bacon fat in the dressing may congeal on the cold leaves. Small, organic spinach leaves are nice here; buy the smallest and most tender heads of frisée you can find.

If you can handle it, have two nonstick sauté pans and fry all six eggs at once. Otherwise, cook the eggs in batches, transferring them to a warm plate as they are cooked. Instead of frying them, you can poach the eggs if you prefer.

A STEP AHEAD: The bacon can be cooked early in the day. The reserved bacon fat and drained bacon can be refrigerated until needed. Heat the bacon lardons in a hot oven for a minute or two before adding them to the salad.

Makes6 servings

Cooking Methodsauteeing

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursehot appetizer, main course

Mealbrunch, dinner, lunch

Taste and Texturesalty, savory, smoky

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

Ingredients

  • 8 cups loosely packed spinach leaves, torn into pieces if the leaves are large (1 large bunch, about 12 ounces, or 4 ounces bagged ready-to-eat spinach leaves)
  • 8 cups loosely packed frisée, stems trimmed, torn into bite-size pieces (1 medium head, about 6 ounces)
  • ¼ cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ pound thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into ¼-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, as needed, for frying the eggs
  • 6 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine the spinach and frisée in a large bowl near the stove.

  2. In another small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, and honey.

  3. Put the bacon matchsticks (lardons) in a sauté pan over medium-low heat and cook until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the lardons, reserving 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Keep the bacon warm.

  4. In a nonstick sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat and cook the eggs either over easy or sunny side up. Set the eggs aside.

  5. In a sauté pan over medium heat, gently heat the reserved bacon fat and the olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until aromatic.

  6. Carefully whisk in the vinegar mixture and turn the heat to high. As the dressing begins to boil, keep whisking until it emulsifies.

  7. When the dressing is hot, remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour it over the spinach and frisée. Add the reserved warm lardons, season to taste with salt and pepper, and toss well.

  8. Divide the salad among 6 warm plates, top each portion with a fried egg, and serve immediately.

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