Don't let the simplicity of this rustic salad fool you. This is one hearty salad that demands respect. Assertive frisée and escarole leaves are tossed with a sharp Dijon-vinaigrette and scattered with crispy lardons (bacon cubes) and croutons. While this salad could easily be the star of an easy weeknight dinner with a wedge of runny cheese and a glass of red wine, it's an appropriately bold accompaniment to a rich winter stew such as Beef Bourguignon.
This salad is inspired by the french Salade Lyonnaise, which traditionally calls for sautéing the leaves in warm bacon drippings and topping the salad with a poached egg. Here is a lighter version which simply browns the croutons in the bacon fat and omits the egg.
One medium head frisée, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
One half head of escarole, ends and outer leaves removed, washed
6 oz. (180 g.) slab bacon, rind trimmed, cut in 1/4" cubes
8-12 baguette slices, 1/2" thick
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Place frisée and escarole in a large bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until fat is rendered and bacon is crispy golden. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Pour off all of the bacon fat except for one tablespoon. Return skillet to stovetop. Add baguette slices in one layer in batches. Cook over medium heat until golden on both sides, turning once. Transfer bread to another plate lined with a paper towel.
Combine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly pour in olive oil, whisking constantly to emulsify. Pour dressing over salad leaves. Toss to combine. Arrange salad on serving plates. Top with bacon and baguette croutons.