All summer long, I crave two things: Big meal-sized salads and perfectly ripe peaches. This gorgeous dish combines the two into my ideal summer meal.
This is a seasonal take on a classic French frisée aux lardons, a bistro-style salad usually made with frisée lettuce, thick-cut pork lardons, hearty croutons, and a poached egg.
Here, I skip the croutons in favor of big pieces of fresh fruit and use regular bacon instead of lardons, because that’s what I’m likely to have in my refrigerator. I also swap the poached eggs for steamed eggs with still-runny, velvety yolks.
This salad is simple enough for a quick lunch or light dinner, but it is also pretty enough to serve to guests at brunch.
If you want to be really trendy, you could embrace the idea of having a salad for breakfast and make this while you drink your morning coffee—the combination of egg, bacon, and sweet fruit mixed with some greens and a piquant French vinaigrette is a great way to start the day.
What is Frisée?
This salad starts with frisée, a lacy, light green vegetable related to endive. These frilly greens don’t have much heft to them and produce a light dish with a lot of texture.
Like endive, frisée is faintly bitter (though not shockingly so), and that bitterness offers a nice contrast to the sweetness of the stone fruit and the creaminess of the egg. If you can’t find frisée, some escarole would work well here (though it won’t have quite as bitter).
Endive leaves, cut in half widthwise and heaped in a pile, would also work well—though their shape will make them harder to eat alongside the other ingredients on the plate.
Ripe Fruit is the Sweetest Treat
My recipe includes a combination of peach and plum, but pretty much any stone fruit will work well here. Nectarines are fantastic in this salad, while a very ripe apricot or pluot (or a couple, if they’re small) adds a slightly different but equally wonderful sweet and sour note.
The key is that the fruit needs to be sweet—fully ripened and slightly tender to the touch. Many peaches and nectarines are picked while they’re still firm (so they don’t bruise on the way to market), so sometimes you’ll have trouble finding perfectly ripe fruit.
How to Ripen Stone Fruit
If your fruit isn’t quite ready the good news is you can easily ripen them in your kitchen. You just need time and space.
- Set the fruit on a flat surface, like your counter, and keep it at least a couple inches away from other pieces of fruit so that it doesn’t develop brown spots.
- Let it sit at room temperature for a day or two (or up to a week, if necessary), and hold off on eating it until the fruit smells sweet and the flesh gives a bit when you press on it.
For the Best Soft-Boiled Eggs—Steam Them!
Steaming offers a quick, easy way to get perfectly cooked, soft- or hard-boiled eggs. The process is faster than regular boiling, since you only have to boil an inch or two of water, and steaming cooks the eggs evenly, keeping the whites tender while the yolks set.
Steaming also gives you a lot of control over the texture of the finished egg:
- Very runny yolks: steam for 6 minutes
- Slightly runny yolks: steam for 6 1/2 to 7 minutes
- Hard-boiled eggs with set yolks: steam for 12 minutes
Once the eggs are to your liking, you’ll want to immediately put them into a prepared ice bath so they stop cooking. Chilling the eggs in ice water for a few minutes will also help their shells come off easily. The cooked eggs (peeled or unpeeled) can be kept for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Plum and Peach Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
- For the salad
- 2 large eggs
- 2 slices bacon
- 3 lightly packed cups frisée, hand-torn into large pieces
- 1 ripe peach
- 2 ripe plums
- For the vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Prepare the ice bath:
In a medium bowl, add 2 handfuls of ice, cover with water, and set aside. You will add the steamed eggs to the ice bath to stop the cooking process.
Steam the eggs:
To prepare a steamer basket: Fill a medium saucepan with about 1 inch of water. Set the steamer basket into the pot and bring the water to a boil over high heat.
To prepare using a saucepan: If you are not using a steamer basket, just fill the bottom of a saucepan with 1/2 inch of water. Bring water to a boil over high heat.
Turn off the heat and gently place the eggs at the bottom of the steamer basket or the bottom of the saucepan.
Turn the heat back on again to medium high and cover the pot. Steam the eggs for 6 1/2 to 7 minutes, for runny yolks. After they’ve steamed, transfer the eggs to the ice bath to cool and peel them right before you are ready to assemble the salad.
Cook the bacon:
Line a plate with a paper towel and set aside.
While the eggs are steaming, cook the bacon. In a medium pan over medium-high heat, cook the bacon slices until crisp, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway through. Transfer the bacon to the paper towel-lined plate.
Cut the stone fruit:
Cut the peach and plums into wedges: Cut the fruit in half and remove the pit, then cut into quarters or eights, depending on the size of the fruit.
If the pit clings to the fruit’s flesh, you can cut one wedges while the flesh is still attached to the pit, cutting from the stem-end of the fruit down to the bottom, then pull the pieces away from the pit one by one.
Place the cut stone fruit into a medium mixing bowl.
Make the vinaigrette:
In a small jar with a lid combine the vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Shake well to emulsify.
Prepare the frisée and dress the salad:
Tear the frisée into bite-sized pieces with your hands and add it to the bowl with the fruit. Start by drizzling half the dressing onto the frisée and fruit mixture, and gently toss to coat. Add more dressing, as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well dressed.
Plate and serve salad:
Divide the frisée and fruit between two plates and crumble the bacon over top. Top each salad with one egg. Slice each egg in half so the yolk begins to run out onto the salad. Serve.