Make this now: Bistro Salad, modernized


Yes, it’s been more than two weeks since I checked in. There’s no real reason for it, just a lack of motivation and a general feeling of “blah.” I have about 10 different things I should get posted, which is of course a little overwhelming (I’m trying to get to the photos for this post and I’m already on page 8 of my Flickr without getting close. Agh).

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Ben and I were on our own this year, so we took a drive up to York Beach, ME and ate at Lydia Shire’s Blue Sky, which was fantastic. Between the dinner I ate and my mom’s continued proselytizing, I am convinced of the wisdom of cooking the turkey legs and breast separately: I had lovely slices of the white meat, accompanied by a ridiculously delicious “ragout” of shredded dark meat warmed up in gravy. Yup, that is the way to go.

I never actually posted any of the cooking experiments from my visit home in late October, and I think one of them might come in handy if you’re looking for a satisfying but light dinner for these post-Turkey days. We ate at The Butcher Shop in the South End with new friends before my trip, and I shamelessly hogged a shared salad appetizer, a frisee salad with bacon dressing, shaved egg and fingerling potatoes. A few days later in Oregon, I decided to recreate it for the family, and we got it mostly right, though not quite perfect. It’s a nice riff on the traditional french bistro salad (frisee and lardons with a poached egg). This is easier to share, since there aren’t whole eggs, and would also be great without the potatoes, or as a simple lunch.

First things first, we baked a few strips of good, thick bacon, then cut it up into small little bits and saved a bit of the fat to make the dressing (like a warm spinach salad).




(I cut the bacon fat with a bit of grapeseed oil, which is nice and neutral. I never did get the dressing quite right; I forgot to add mustard and it never came together the way I wanted.)

Next up: Potatoes. Mom got gorgeous fingerlings, which I halved, boiled until nearly cooked, then tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted until they colored but didn’t crisp up.




Finally, the egg. In retrospect, I’m an ass. I could have passed it through a food mill or pushed it through a sieve. But I was jetlagged, sick and stupid, and didn’t get there. Mom thought her egg slicer could produce a very fine dice, so we gave it a try:



Um, fail. Even if I rotated it 90 degrees for a second slice….no. My solution? The box grater!


(Tom was entertained by taking action shots while I struggled)

It was hard to get through more than half of the egg before it fell apart in my hand, but the results were perfect:


Nice and fluffy.

Assembly time. I dressed the frisee, tossed it with the bacon, and then topped it with the egg.



Tossed the potatoes with the rest of the dressing, and layered those on top:



We also had steak, beets, beans, and peppers:



And wine and candles.


Still to come: A four-hour pasta recipe from the lovely Suzanne Goin, lots of non-food pictures, thrifting adventures with Tom, fun with purple vegetables, etc.

7 thoughts on “Make this now: Bistro Salad, modernized”

  1. What a stunning, colorful meal! Those are my favorite kinds to eat — better than Thanksgiving where everything is brown and white!

  2. don’t forget – If you want to re-create this salad, just smush the boiled egg through a fine sieve. Perfect!

  3. Didn’t you use cider vinegar in the dressing? I hadn’t had the original salad but yours was yummy!

  4. lovely! can i ask how you cooked the beetroot? i was given one yesterday, an odd yet welcome present, and aside from pickling, am clueless.

  5. Fiona- I am on my phone so can’t type too much, but just put “beets foil” in the search box at the top of the page and my mom’s foolproof method should pull up. Yum!

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