a simple, hearty frisee & arugula salad with mustard bacon vinaigrette, homemade croutons, and poached eggs
Lay the strips of bacon in a medium sauté pan. Heat the pan over medium heat. Slowly render the bacon until crispy, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the bacon and pour off most of the bacon fat into a small bowl, reserving a bit of fat in the pan to make the croutons.
Combine the sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk until incorporated. Slowly whisk in 2 tbsp of the bacon fat, and then gradually pour in the safflower oil, whisking continuously. Add the salt. Set the vinaigrette aside until ready to serve.
Add a splash of safflower oil to the pan with the bacon fat so that an even layer of oil coats the bottom of the pan. Heat the fats over medium heat. Add the bread cubes and toast until golden and crisp, stirring often. Remove the croutons from the pan and immediately season them with salt.
Trim the dark green leaves off of the heads of frisee. You only want to use the light, yellow-green leaves. Once you’ve trimmed the frisee (you will have to trim off a lot), cut the root off and break apart the light, yellow-green leaves. Those will be the leaves you use in the salad. Combine them in a bowl with the arugula.
To poach the eggs, bring a small saucepan of water to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt and the white distilled vinegar to the simmering water. Crack one of the eggs into a bowl. Use a fork to make a vortex in the simmering water. Pour the egg into the center of the vortex. Poach the egg for about 4-5 minutes (for a runny yolk), making sure the water stays at a simmer and does not boil. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the egg to a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat this process with the other egg.
To assemble the salads, toss the frisee and arugula with the mustard bacon vinaigrette. Crumble the bacon into pieces and add that to the bowl. Add the croutons. Toss well. Taste the salad and season with more salt if needed. Plate the salads in bowls or on plates. Top with the poached eggs. Crack black pepper over the top of each salad.
This recipe makes 2 large salads, or 4 smaller side salads (just poach 2 more eggs).