Certain salads become classics for a reason. It’s not just how good they are in their traditional form, but how well they allow for creativity. Take Caesar Salad for example, it’s made most often with romaine lettuce, but is equally delicious made with roasted Brussels sprouts or thinly sliced raw Brussels sprouts and chard.
Then there is Salade Niçoise, a classic salad that almost always includes tuna, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and, of course, Niçoise olives. But look at ten recipes for it and you’ll find all kinds of other ingredients from green beans and potatoes to anchovies and artichoke hearts.
This recipe is a twist on Salad Lyonnaise, the French bistro salad of curly, bitter frisée and bacon lardons tossed in a warm vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg.
Honestly, my version came by necessity.
The grocery store where I shop almost never has frisée on hand. As was true the last time I had it on my list, so I decided to search the produce department for a substitution. I’d used curly endive before, which is very good, but is firmer and more bitter than frisée. I decided on Savoy Cabbage and, you know what, it stands in beautifully for frisée! It has a light pleasant crunch and tastes at the same time sweet and slightly bitter. Then for fun, instead of a poached egg, I topped each serving with a goat cheese ‘crouton’: crunchy on the outside, warm and soft in the middle.
How’s that for allowing creativity? Salad Lyonnaise, it’s truly a classic!
Savoy Cabbage Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese
- 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
- 4 ounces fresh goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 small head Savoy cabbage very thinly sliced crosswise
- 4 slices thick bacon cut into ½-inch pieces
- 1 shallot minced
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place bread crumbs on a small plate.
Cut fresh goat cheese into 2 equal rounds. Brush each round on all sides with olive oil and then press into bread crumbs to coat; transfer to another small plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
When ready to prepare salad, preheat oven to 425°F.
Place a small piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Transfer chilled goat cheese rounds to prepared baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until lightly brown on the outside and soft in the middle. (You can broil the tops for a few seconds if you'd like the breadcrumbs to be more crunchy)
Meanwhile, place Savoy cabbage in a large salad bowl.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon pieces. Cook and stir until crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove bacon with a slotted spoon. Add shallots to skillet; cook and stir until softened, about 1 minute. Add red wine vinegar; reduce heat and simmer one minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour warm dressing over cabbage, add bacon and toss to coat evenly. Divide between two salad bowls and top each with a warm goat cheese round. Serve.