This is a riff on the traditional salade lyonnaise, which is a green salad with lardons, croutons, and a poached egg. In our version, pancetta slices replace the lardons, one big crouton steps in for smaller croutons, and the salad is topped off with a little sherry vinegar. This dish is typically served as a starter, but it also works well as a light meal.
What to buy: Purchase high-quality pancetta from a gourmet store or your local butcher and have it cut to order. Otherwise, make your own pancetta and use some of it in this salad.
Game plan: This is one of those salads that you make and eat right away because the warm dressing wilts the greens slightly. If you want to eat it later, you can make the croutons and poached eggs up to 2 days ahead and finish the rest of the recipe when you’re ready. To reheat the poached eggs, place in gently simmering water for a few minutes until heated through.
Also, the fresher the eggs are when you poach them, the better the whites will hold their shape.
This recipe was featured as part of our How to Make Pancetta story.
1Heat the oven to 350°F. Rub both sides of the bread slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the garlic clove, and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes.
2Meanwhile, bring about 2 quarts (at least 2 inches) of water to a simmer in a medium pot and add the vinegar. Break each egg into a separate small cup or ramekin. Gently slide the eggs into the simmering water, one at a time. Cook until the whites are just set, about 3 minutes. Lift the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon. Place in a bowl of warm water to keep warm while finishing the salad.
3Heat a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Cook the pancetta slices until they’re golden brown and crisp on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip and repeat. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm over low heat. Place frisée in a large bowl and pour the warmed bacon fat and olive oil over it; toss well. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4Add sherry vinegar to the frying pan and reduce by half, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
5Remove the poached eggs from the warm water and blot dry. Divide the frisée among four dishes; top with a slice of crouton toast, a pancetta slice, and a poached egg. Drizzle reduced vinegar over the salads and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.
Beverage pairing: Patient Cottat Sauvignon Blanc, France. This wine from around the region of Sancerre in France is simple and zippy, which makes it a great match for this simple but highly flavorful salad. The high acid and green apple and melon notes will handle the vinegar, while the wine’s pleasantly tangy edge will mollify the bitterness of the frisée and the saltiness of the pancetta.
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