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Frisée aux Lardons with Warm Vinaigrette
A new generation of adventurous diners has discovered this old bistro classic.

Ten 1 inch- thick slices of French or Italian bread (3 inches in diameter)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pound skinned lean and meaty salt pork, cut into I-inch dice
4 shallots, sliced thin crosswise
3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 cups frisée (curly endive), torn into pieces, washed thoroughly, and spun dry (about 2 large heads)

1. Make the croutons: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush both sides of bread slices with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cut into 1-inch cubes and bake croutons in oven on a baking sheet, shaking pan occasionally, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
2. Boil the salt pork in cold water to cover in a saucepan for 2 minutes and drain in a colander. Rinse salt pork under cold water and pat very dry with paper towels.
3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over moderate heat, and cook salt pork, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove salt pork with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
4. Pour all but 1/2 cup of fat from the skillet, and add the shallots, red-wine vinegar, herbs, and garlic. Cook the dressing, stirring, for 4 minutes, or until shallots are wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
5. In a large bowl toss the frisée, salt pork, croutons, and warm dressing. If salad seems dry, add a little more fat and vinegar. Divide salad among 6 plates and serve immediately.

A new generation of adventurous diners has discovered this old bistro classic: frizzy, slightly bitter lettuce tossed with croutons and crusty bits of cured pork (lardons), and dressed with a warm vinaigrette made from the oil in which the pork was cooked. We've tweaked it a bit, adding fresh herbs and thinly sliced shallots to ratchet up the flavor level even higher. If you're looking for additional thrills, toss in some diced, sautéed potatoes, and top with a poached egg. Serves 6.