Bastille Day Menu: Frisée aux Lardons & Honey Fleur de Lys!
July 14, 2015 / Stephanie Miskew / 16 Comments
In France, the fourteenth of July is referred to as Le Quatorze Juillet, otherwise known as Bastille Day. This important date commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789. In solidarity with the French, I like to prepare a special Bastille Day Menu that brings the Champs-Élysées to Chez Miskew!
The Bastille was actually a fortress-like prison used by the King and Queen to imprison those who challenged their authority. It was viewed by many as a symbol of all that was wrong with the royalty. Finally, on July 14, 1789, a throng of French citizens stormed the Bastille in protest.
Just as citizens of the United States celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence as the beginning of the American Revolution, so the French celebrate the storming of the Bastille as the beginning of the French Revolution. Two days after the storming of the Bastille, the King officially recognized the tricolor flag; the blue, white and red said to symbolize liberty, equality and brotherhood.
Festivities and official ceremonies are held all over France on Bastille Day and the oldest and largest military parade in Europe is held on the morning of July 14th on the Champs-Élysées.
Our Bastille Day Menu features one of our all time French favorites, Frisée Aux Lardons. This salad is a mixture of frisée lettuce, bacon (aka lardons) and a poached egg with a perfectly oozy, runny center.
Once the salty nuggets of bacon are browned, shallots, Sherry vinegar, olive oil and fines herbes (a combination of herbs typically used in Mediterranean cuisine such as parsley, chives, tarragon and/or chervil) are added to the fat in the pan to create a deliciously tangy, sinful concoction perfect dressing for the hearty, bitter frisée.
Once the salad is assembled, it is topped with a perfectly poached egg and the result…sheer deliciousness! I love the recipe for Frisée Aux Lardons from The Balthazar Cookbook which is from one of my all-time favorite restaurants in New York City. This cookbook is a definite MUST for all Francophile foodies!
This deliciously decadent salad will pair nicely with a variety of French wines. White wine lovers should opt for a refreshingly crisp Sancerre from the Loire Valley. Crafted entirely from Sauvignon Blanc (remember, French and most Old World wines are named according to where they’re from, NOT the grape variety!), this wine has a mouth watering acidity that stands up nicely to the richness of the bacon fat and complements the vinegary “tang” of the salad dressing perfectly. Michele Redde’s Sancerre Les Tuilières is an excellent choice.
A dry, Provençal Rosé would also be a fabulous choice especially since there’s something magical about the way these pink wines pair with any type of pork product. The Chateau D’Esclans Rock Angel Rosé (85% Grenache and 15% Rolle) is an excellent choice with its soft, red berry infused flavors that synergize nicely with the luscious lardons, while its crisp acidity complements the remaining flavors and textures of this salad beautifully.
Red wine lovers should opt for a lighter-bodied, chillable red wine like a cru Beajolais. I can’t seem to get enough of the Maison Joseph Drouhin Hospices de Belleville Fleurie from the southernmost part of the Burgundy wine region. Made from 100% Gamay, this delightful wine’s delicate notes of cherry, strawberry, rose and violet and supple tannins harmonize with the various flavors and textures of the salad as well.
As for something sweet, I love these Honey Fleur de Lys cookies I discovered on Laura Calder’s show “French Food at Home.” They are extremely easy to make and the key is to bake the cookies until they are a rich brown color which makes them taste like the burnt sugar topping of a creme brulée – ooh la la!
I ordered a fleur de lys shaped cookie cutter from eBay and a few days later voilà – delicious Bastille Day cookies.
I hope you enjoy this Bastille Day Menu as much as we do and I’d love to hear what you think! Please let me know in the comment section below and I’d also love to know if you have any favorite French-inspired dining experience or recipes you enjoy so please – do tell!
Joyeux Le Quatorze Juillet,
"Balthazar's Frisée Aux Lardons"Author: The Balthazar Cookbook, Keith McNally, Riad Nasr & Lee HansonRecipe type: SaladServes: 6Ingredients
- 6 slices of brioche, preferably stale
- 4 heads of frisée, cored, rinsed, spun dry, and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus ½ cup Sherry vinegar
- ½ pound slab bacon (rind removed), cut into ½-inch lardons (thick cut bacon can be substituted if slab bacon is not available)
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons fines herbes
- 6 large eggs
- Sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Trim the crusts from the bread cut into ½-inch cubes. Place on a sheet tray and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Shake the pan halfway through to toast evenly. Combine the croutons in a large bowl with the clean frisée.
- Prepare the pan for poaching the eggs: Fill a wide-straight-sided saute pan with water (about two-third fulls) and add the tablespoon of vinegar. Over a medium-high flame, bring to a gentle simmer, and adjust the heat to maintain it.
- In a dry skillet or saute pan over medium heat, brown the lardons well on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the minced shallots and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, to soften and lightly brown them. Without pouring off the fat, add the ½ cup of vinegar to the pan. Bring to a boil, using a wooden spoon to scrape any delicious bits that have caramelized on the surface of the pan. When the vinegar has reduced by half, about 3 minutes, turn off the flame. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper, and stir well to combine. Pour this warm vinaigrette with bacon into the bowl of frisée, along with the croutons and fine herbes. Toss well to combine. Divide the salad among 6 serving plates, piled into small heaps.
- Crack the eggs, one at a time, into a small saucer and then slide them into the simmering water. Poach for 4 minutes, resulting in a set white and a cooked but runny yolk. With a slotted spoon, scoop out the poached eggs, one at a time, drain, and position on top of each pile of frisée. Sprinkle with crunchy sea salt (like Maldon) and a few turns of a peppermill. Serve immediately.
July 14, 2015 / Stephanie Miskew / 16 Comments
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