Frisee salad

This hearty salad would make a delicious dinner with a glass of red wine and a hunk of crusty French bread. Aaron and Nate pickle whole yellow mustard seeds, which gives this already assertive bacon vinaigrette a welcome sharp, spicy bite, and make a heavenly contrast to the creamy, soft-poached yolk and bitter greens.

Serves 4

Bacon Vinaigrette

¾ cup water
¾ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
½ cup whole yellow mustard seeds
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
½ pound good slab bacon, cut into ¼-inch pieces
1 tablespoon minced shallot
3 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar
Black pepper

Poached Eggs

2 cups water
½ cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
4 farm eggs


2 medium heads frisee lettuce, rinsed well, dried and tough exterior leaves removed
½ cup mixed fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and chervil leaves, or snipped chives
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 recipe Bacon Vinaigrette (see recipe above)
4 Poached Eggs (see recipe above)
Sea salt, for garnish

  1. To make pickled mustard seeds: Combine the water, rice wine vinegar, mustard seeds, sugar and 1½ teaspoons kosher salt in a small pot; bring to a very gentle simmer over low heat. Cook until the seeds are plump and tender, about 1 hour. Remove from heat to cool completely. Store the seeds in their brine in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. They will keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
  2. To make vinaigrette: Cook bacon pieces in large stainless skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the lardons render most of their fat and are crispy. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, until translucent. Turn off the heat, add 1 tablespoon of the pickled mustard seeds, drained, and the sherry vinegar. Carefully stir together and taste. You want vinegar that is bracingly tart. This will help cut through the bitterness of the salad greens. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper to taste and keep warm.
  3. To poach the eggs: Bring the water, vinegar and salt to a boil in wide, shallow pot over high heat. Carefully whisk the liquid somewhat vigorously to create a vortex; turn heat down to a simmer over medium heat. Crack eggs into water one at a time and poach for 2 minutes. The vinegar will help the eggs hold their shape. Carefully remove the poached eggs from the water with a slotted spoon; drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
  4. To assemble the dish: In a large bowl combine the frisee, herbs and shallot; season to taste with salt and pepper. Give the bacon vinaigrette a quick stir and, starting with half of the dressing, add it to the salad. You may not need the entire recipe. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette. The warm vinaigrette will ever-so-slightly wilt the frisee, which softens its sharp flavor. Taste the dressed greens and adjust the seasoning to your liking by adding more vinaigrette, salt or pepper. Divide the salad among 4 plates and top each with a poached egg. Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt and a few grinds of coarsely cracked black pepper on the egg.

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