Pretty magnificent

Well. I am happy to report that the market was a success: Fisher did not get any brisket, Alex and I managed to resist buying an entire bag of cider donuts and split only one instead, and we came home not with radicchio, but with a frisee-like baby mizuna, which was an excellent second best.

We also got eggs, and some bacon, and some Shy Brothers cheese. And although according to my friend Kristen fridges cannot actually talk, I could swear that while I was putting everything away the door was squeaking frisee ! salad ! with lardons, and a fried egg ! At least, that's what I heard.


If you have never had a frisee salad with lardons and a fried egg, well, maybe that's why your fridge does not speak. Because once you have tried this dish, you and your fridge will be asking for it every day. In the summer, I eat it all the time. There's a frisee salad with lardons and a superbly tangy mustard vinaigrette and a nice panko-crusted fried duck egg on the menu at Blackfish, and I have found that if I ask very nicely at the end of my shift the kitchen will make me one. My friend Kerry has figured this out, too, and a few of the other girls, and we've discovered that sometimes, if we ask extra nicely, the kitchen will even make us a big bowl of it to share. Not always with duck eggs, but still. We have an addiction to feed.

And over the winter, that addiction has been hungry. It has been angry and ugly and kicking and screaming and crossing its fingers and toes that we can just wake up already it will be May. Now that it's February and the days are a little longer and the birds are back and the sun is just a bit stronger, it's been seeming like it's high time to at least throw it a little tide-me-over here and there.

Which is why I was very, very happy to find mizuna at the market the other day. Mizuna is not a frisee, not really at all, but it shares several important characteristics with the endive. For starters, it is very stemmy and leggy with spindly little arms, arms that wave out in the same skinny, feathery, frisee way. It is also bitter, and very crisp, all in the manner of a good curly endive. It is smaller than frisee, and ever so slightly sweeter, but in the important ways—in the way it has plenty of places to catch mustard vinaigrette and goopy egg yolk and can hold it's own flavor-wise against the lardon bits—it is 100% there. (Lardon, in case you're not familiar with it, is just a fancy word for bacon cut another way.)

And so today, at lunchtime, I got out the mizuna and a chicken egg and some bread crumbs and a few slices of bacon, and I got to work.

It didn't take much. I fried the bacon in a skillet, poured off the grease, and fried the battered up egg in the leftover fat. Then I tossed the greens with a tangy mustard and shallot vinaigrette and crumbled up the bacon so it could fall through the leaves and then, when the egg was ready, balanced it on top. It was golden, and crispy, and from its perch, it had almost a proud, stately look. Then, when I cut in, the egg yolk burst all over the greens and coated everything in a rich, runny yellow. It was pretty magnificent.

So go ahead, get your groceries or your mustard or go in with a neighbor on half a pig, just do what you need to do. Only don't wait as long as I did, or you might start to imagine that your fridge can speak.


This recipes makes enough salad for two people. It is adapted, mentally speaking, from the way the frisee salad at Blackfish tastes, although it is fairly different. I like to eat it for lunch with a slice of toasted whole wheat bread and a little bit of Shy Brothers cheese, and then I like to make myself a second plate when dinner rolls around.

4 slices bacon
1/3 pound baby mizuna
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
a dash of sherry
salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
extra fat (olive oil, canola oil, bacon fat, or melted butter) for frying
1/2 cup very dry bread crumbs
2 eggs

Haul out a medium-size frying pan and get the bacon going. While it cooks, whisk together the shallot, mustard, olive oil, vinegar, and sherry to make the mustard vinaigrette, and season it with salt and pepper. If it is too tangy for your taste, add a bit more olive oil. Toss the greens with the dressing and set aside.

Flip the bacon and continue cooking until it is crisp on both sides. Take it out of the pan with a good pair of tongs, and set it on a cookie rack or clean dishcloth to drain. Get out a small, heavy-bottomed pot, and pour the leftover bacon fat from the frying pan into this pot. Add the extra fat until the combined fats reach an inch up the side of the pot, and turn on the heat to medium-high. (How much you need will depend on how much fat your bacon renders, and how big of a pot you use. Just big enough to fit an egg is good.)

While the fat heats up, crumble the bacon over the mizuna and toss the greens again. Divide the greens and bacon into two portions, and arrange each half in the center of a dinner plate. Then put the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and crack one egg in. Carefully roll the bowl around so that the outside of the egg is coated in breadcrumbs. When the fat is hot, use a slotted spoon to drop this egg in. Cook it for 10 seconds on each side and place the fried egg on top of one of the salads. (This timing yields a runny yolk. If for some reason you want a fully cooked yolk, add about 10 seconds to each side.) Bread and fry the other egg, and serve the salads immediately. And don't be afraid to sop up any extra yolk with some bread.


Alison said...

Success! I am so in love with anything with a fried egg on top...and bacon. Really? How could you go wrong.

On another note....we used to have a huge, lovely black Maine Coon called Fisher. Sadly, he was taken by a coyote. Great name. =)

Beth said...

Oh, this sounds so good! Thank your for a new use for eggs, bacon and greens, all of which we usually have in abundance! By the way, we grew a new mizuna from Johnny's last summer called "Waido". It didn't have a sharp enough flavor for me, but it grew so thick and so strong and green and hardly bolted when everything else started to go - I have to recommend it.

Elspeth said...


It is AMAZING how many uses there are for fried eggs. We have been on a serious kick recently—we had some rice kicking around (actually, the bag of rice we used to bring our truffles home in from Italy!) and made veggie fried rice, then it was spaghetti carbonara, and finally, this salad. If you like all things fried eggs you should check out the first episode of Molly Wizenberg and Matthew Amster-Burton's new podcast, Spilled Milk. (http://www.spilledmilkpodcast.com/2010/01/07/episode-1-fried-eggs/). Fried eggs everywhere.

Oh! and I'm both glad and sorry to hear about Fisher. Coyotes can be terribly harsh, but it is a wonderful name.

and Beth,

Thank you so much for the recommendation. I am just putting my seed order together today (the next two weeks of the Local Food Report are on what to order this year, so stay tuned!), so this advice is just in the nick of time.

All the best,

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