I’ve hosted two meals since arriving in Paris a few weeks ago. The first was a festive New Year’s Eve dinner that included several courses, while the second was a casual soup and salad supper for three millenials in Paris for studies or work. On both occasions, our meal began with a delicious winter salad prepared with frisée, scallops, haricots verts, and bacon lardons–so versatile it fit easily into each of these distinctly different menus.
The recipe is based on Salade Lyonnaise, a celebrated French dish in which bitter greens are combined with bacon lardons, tossed in warm vinaigrette, and then topped with a poached egg. For my version I added blanched haricots verts and sautéed sea scallops to frisée (curly endive), and replaced the egg with a little cream in the vinaigrette.
Sea scallops in France are typically sold in their beautiful shells, and fish merchants will happily clean and include them with your purchase. I asked for six of the domed shells and mounded the salad in them.
The haricots verts and the bacon can be cooked several hours ahead, then tossed with the greens before serving. Count on less than 5 minutes for sautéing the scallops and a few minutes more to reduce the vinaigrette in the same pan. The recipe serves six, but one of my assistants reported that she and her spouse loved sharing this “salade française” as a main course for two.
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Frisée Salad with Scallops, Haricots Verts, and Bacon Lardons
1/2 pound haricots verts or tender young green beans
3 tbsp olive oil plus more if needed
6 thick slices smoked bacon (about 6 oz) cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
5 to 6 generous cups frisée (curly endive) torn into bite-size pieces
3 tbsp minced shallots
12 large sea scallops (about 1 pound), with side mussels removed and halved crosswise
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 1/2 to 3 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 tbsp minced chives or flat leaf parsley
1. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and 2 teaspoons salt. Boil until tender, 5 to 6 minutes, or about 2 minutes longer for tender young green beans. Drain beans in a colander, and place under cold running water until cool. Pat dry. (Beans can be prepared 6 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before using.)
2. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a medium, heavy skillet over medium-low heat and when hot, add the bacon. Cook, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings in the pan; discard the rest. When cool enough to handle, wipe the skillet with paper towels to remove any burnt bits in the pan. Set the pan and the drippings aside until ready to sauté scallops. (Bacon can be sautéed 2 hours ahead; leave at room temperature.)
3. Toss together the frisée, haricots verts, bacon, and shallots in large nonreactive bowl.
4. Pat the sea scallops dry, and season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the reserved bacon drippings and remaining olive oil to the cleaned skillet set over medium high heat. When oil is hot, add scallops and cook until lightly browned, 1 to 2 minutes per side, adding more oil if necessary. Do not overcook or scallops will be tough. Remove scallops to the bowl with the frisée.
5. Whisk together vinegar, water, and mustard and add to skillet in which scallops were cooked. Cook over high heat, whisking up any bits sticking to the pan, until reduced by half, about 4 minutes or longer. Whisk in cream. Season sauce with salt and pepper and, if desired, with 1/2 teaspoon or more mustard.
6. Gently toss the salad with all but 2 tablespoons of the dressing and season it with salt and pepper. Mound mixture on 6 salad plates (or in scallops shells). Drizzle each salad with a teaspoon of the reserved dressing and sprinkle with chives. Serves 6.
Copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017