Since beginning my education at Le Cordon Bleu this past September, I’ve made about 50 recipes — mainly, various sauces, soups, salads and vegetables. But of all the ones I’ve learned, this Spinach-Endive Salad is by far my favorite and so, I’ve decided to share my spin on this classic dish. Called Salade d’ Epinards by the French, it has enough protein to stand as a main dish, enough greens to make you feel like you’re treating your body, and enough acidity from the garlic-parsley vinaigrette to give it that fresh, bold flavor that keeps your tastebuds tantalized. Still unsure? It has egg. And bacon. Read on…
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
For the salad:
About 1 cup spinach, trimmed
3-4 stalks endive
1 strip bacon, sliced in 1/4″ pieces
About 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 egg, poached
2 teaspoons white vinegar
For the vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or less, if desired)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
About 1/4 cup olive oil (or less, if desired)
1. Prepare the vinaigrette: Finely chop the garlic cloves. Whisk in with red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard. Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking throughout.
2. Wash and trim the spinach. Wash endive and pluck the leaves from stalks. Season the greens with salt and set aside.
3. Start boiling water to poach egg.
4. Cut up the slices bacon and saute in 2 teaspoons olive oil, until colored. Set aside on a paper towel.
5. Remove pan from heat and let cool about 1 minute. Do not throw out fat. Add vinaigrette, mixing with the fat. Add spinach and endive to the pan, tossing well into the dressing.
6. Poach the egg: When water comes to a boil (some bubbling at the surface) add 2 teaspoons white vinegar and turn down heat to a low simmer. Crack egg and gently open just over the water (so as to avoid splashing). Or, crack the egg into a separate small dish and pour into simmering water. Let cook just until egg white is set, about 3-4 minutes.
7. Mound spinach and endive on a plate. Sprinkle bacon bits on top, then set the poached egg on top.
Why should I keep the fat in the pan? Because bacon is delicious! The fat rendered from this salty pork product is a flavor that mixes with the vinaigrette well. Plus, that meaty kick is then incorporated throughout your entire salad.
Why so little Dijon? Why even bother adding the mustard if it’s so little? Well, the Dijon acts as a binder to help the ingredients of the vinaigrette mix together better. And I’m a mustard fiend. It also helps mellow out the bright acidity of the red wine vinegar.
Too much dressing? This recipe may yield a touch too much vinaigrette for your liking. I don’t always use all of it. One good indicator of whether your salad is overdressed is making sure there isn’t dressing pooling beneath your greens.