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No, this isn’t just another salad. This is THE SALAD. Tender frisee lettuce, crispy pancetta lardons, French radishes, crunchy herbed croutons, a tangy shallot-dijon vinaigrette and a luxurious poached egg. Pardon while I wipe my chin. Seriously, this is what every salad dreams of being.
In this post, I’m sharing more than just the recipe… I’m going to take you behind the scenes and show you how I set up and photograph this dish — and the tornadic aftermath that I’m left with when it’s over. For the sake of my dishpan hands, it’s a good thing I have Cetaphil® Moisturizing Cream.
Let’s get started… Assemble the ingredients… The basis of this salad is frisee lettuce from the Farmer’s Market, along with french radishes, so I like to start with an ingredients shot. I set up my photo shoot in my studio (a.k.a. my itsy-bitsy laundry room). I cover the window with a thin curtain to filter the light on a too sunny day. This is how I photograph 95% of my process shots.
In my opinion, the best salads have a crispy, crunchy component and this one is no exception…For the croutons, toss the herb-infused olive oil with the bread and bake in a low oven for 15-20 minutes, until crisp.
Another must-have is some form of bacon. In my spinach salad, I use regular bacon — in this case, I like Italian bacon. You don’t need a lot, just enough to hit you with a salty bite every so often… Crisp the pancetta in a small frying pan, then drain the lardons on paper towels.
This vinaigrette is special. With shallots, lemon, two kinds of dijon mustard, a smidge of honey and olive oil – the dressing alone is reason enough to eat more greens. Combine all the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to emulsify.
Place the lettuce and radishes into a large salad bowl and dress with a few tablespoons of vinaigrette – you won’t need all of it. Toss the salad, then add in the pancetta and croutons.
Last – (and most fun) poach the eggs. If you’ve never poached an egg before, it’s easier than you might think. Really. Fill a small pan 2/3 with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water is just barely simmering (a few bubbles coming to the surface) Add the vinegar. Crack the egg into a dry measuring cup with a handle (this is so you can dip the egg into the water without burning your hands – or splashing). Stir the water until a whirlpool forms and gently tilt the egg into the vortex of the whirlpool.
Let the egg simmer for 3 1/2 – 4 minutes, then scoop it out with a spider or slotted spoon. Use a paper towel to blot off any excess liquid. Repeat with the second egg and top the salad with the poached beauties.
When I’ve finished my last shot, it’s my turn to chow… and despite the fact that my egg was quite cold by the time I got to eat it — I still enjoyed every bite.
That’s not where it ends for me, though… Aside from cleaning up/putting away my photography equipment and props — I’ve also got half an hour of washing dishes and putting my kitchen back together…
I have to be honest, this is a pretty light example of dirty-dishes. Most days, it’s worse, and when I’m finally done my hands have taken a beating. I’ve actually had eczema (dry, itchy skin) my whole life, but hot water and detergents really exacerbate the issue – Cetaphil® Moisturizing Cream is my go-to moisturizer because it’s…
- Clinically proven to provide immediate, long-lasting hydration that soothes dry, itchy skin.
- Quick-absorbing, rich and non-greasy.
- Fragrance free, mild, and non-irritating for sensitive skin, like mine.
Tangy Frisee Lardons Salad
For The Salad
- 2 cups cubed sourdough bread chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon Herbes De Provence
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta cut into 1/2" cubes
- 1 large bunch frisee lettuce can use green leaf, red leaf or spring greens as well
- 3-4 french radishes thinly sliced
- 1-2 eggs per person
For The Dressing
- 2 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon whole grain Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon French-style Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- Preheat the oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and set aside. If you have a very small saucepan, combine the olive oil and Herbes De Provence in it and heat over medium heat until the herbs are fragrant. Otherwise, combine the oil and herbs into a small microwaveable bowl and heat on high in 15 second increments until fragrant. Drizzle the oil and herbs over the breadcrumbs and toss to coat completely. Spread the bread out in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the bread around on the pan and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes or until crisp. Set aside.
- Place a small skillet over medium high heat and add the pancetta, cooking until browned and crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
- Combine the frisee, crispy pancetta, sliced radishes and toasted croutons together in a large salad bowl and set aside.
Make the dressing
- In a small bowl combine the shallot, lemon zest, lemon juice, whole grain mustard, dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and honey and whisk to combine. Set aside.
Poach the eggs
- Fill a small saucepan 2/3 full with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so that the water just comes to a simmer with a few bubbles rising to the top, but not a rolling boil. Break one egg into a measuring cup with a handle. Use the back of a wooden spoon to create a fast whirlpool effect in the simmering water. Tip the egg into the vortex of the whirlpool and cook for 4 minutes.
- While the egg is poaching, add 3-4 tablespoons of dressing to the salad and toss to coat. Add more dressing if you like, but it shouldn't be too wet.
- Use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the egg and blot it dry with a paper towel. Transfer the poached egg to the salad. Cook the second egg in the same manner, blot it dry and transfer it to the salad. Serve.