For this salad, haricots verts, or green beans, are tossed with frisée, caramelized cippolini onions, and bacon. Drizzled on top is a light mustard-sherry vinaigrette.
In his prelude to this frisée salad recipe, author Andrew Swallow writes that “foodies will enjoy the inventiveness of this combination: a snappy sherry vinaigrette on a green bean and cipollini salad with bacon lardons and a balsamic-red wine reduction.” All true. However, we, uh, sort of left something out of our rendition of his recipe, something that we consider to be less an error of omission and more a chef fascination: sweetbread croutons. We just don’t consider them to be essential. (Plus, we worry they may put unwanted hair on our chests.) This, despite the fact that Swallow swears, “If you haven’t discovered sweetbreads before now, you’re in for something special.” Perhaps so. If that’s how you feel, look beneath the recipe, where we’ve included the instructions for the sweetbread croutons. But if, like us, you deign to decline, let’s just say we understand.–David Leite
☞ Table of Contents
Haricots Verts with Frisée and Bacon
For the salad
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 pound haricots verts
- 1/2 pound cipollini onions (may substitute smallish red onions)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 4 to 6 strips thick-cut bacon or 1/2 to 3/4 pound (225 to 340 g) pancetta, cut into lardons (1/2-inch chunks)
- 4 ounces frisée
For the dressing
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons aged sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Make the salad
- In a large, wide saucepan over high heat, simmer the vinegar and wine until the liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Let the mixture cool.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Trim the stem ends of the green beans. Blanch the beans in the boiling water until bright green, about 2 minutes. Dump them into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Transfer the beans to a clean kitchen towel.
- Remove the skins from the onion and cut each onion into 6 wedges. (If using red onions, cut each into 8 wedges.) Heat the canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions until lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove them from the skillet. Keep the skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon or pancetta, and fry until crisp. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels.
- Place the frisée in a large bowl and set aside.
Make the dressing
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season with the salt and pepper to taste.
Toss and serve the salad
- Drizzle the dressing over the frisée and toss. Divide the greens among 4 individual plates and top with the green beans, onions, and bacon or pancetta. Season each with salt and pepper and drizzle with the balsamic reduction. Eat!
Sweetbread CroutonsYou can also include lovely little crisped sweetbreads in this salad, if you wish. To do so, you’ll need to start the day or night before serving. Rinse 1 pound of sweetbreads and soak them in water in the refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight. The next day, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drain the sweetbreads, add them to the pot, and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain the sweetbreads and let them cool for about 1 hour. Carefully remove the membrane. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Break up the sweetbreads into thumb-size pieces. Add them to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Sauté, turning frequently, until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes. After about 4 minutes, spoon off almost all of the fat from the pan and add 1 tablespoon of butter and the leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme. Baste the sweetbreads with the butter mixture for about 1 minute. Add to the salad along with the bacon and serve immediately.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This haricot verts with frisée and bacon recipe is a perfect size for a starter or side salad. There are a lot of flavours at play on the plate. The sweet cipollini onions compliment the earthy sweetness of the drizzle, while the bacon bits and tangy dressing keeps things from getting too cloying. The green beans add good texture, but I would have liked just a bit more crunch. Maybe some more bacon or a few small croutons.
Note: The red wine-balsamic reduction can become too thick once finished. I used it when the reduction was still a little warm, but once room temperature, it was close to molasses in texture. I’d recommend reducing to 1/2 or at the most 1/3 cup for the right consistency.
Originally published May 10, 2018