For Maple-Dijon Dressing
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 beets, tops removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- 1 very large head frisée - washed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces
- 4 to 5 tablespoons fat for frying duck eggs (olive oil, butter, lard or bacon drippings may be used, as desired)
- 4 duck eggs
Whisk together mustard, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Continue whisking while drizzling in olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This recipe will give you a strong but balanced dressing. Taste it and if you prefer a less acidic dressing, add another tablespoon olive oil. Dressing can be made up to a week in advance and kept in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Wash beets and place on a sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle beets with olive oil and fold foil up and around beets to make a sealed package. Roast for 45 minutes, or until beets are completely tender all the way through when pierced with a skewer.
Let beets sit until cool enough to handle, then peel by rubbing the skins with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. The skins should slip right off. Cut beets into 1/2-inch dice. Chill. Prepared beets may be kept chilled for up to two days in advance.
Prepare bacon lardons
Stack bacon and cut cross-wise into strips about 1/2-inch wide. Gently separate bacon lardons and place in a heavy pan set over medium heat. Cook bacon lardons until brown and crispy, stirring frequently toward the end of the cooking time to keep all the lardons browning evenly. Remove bacon to a paper-towel-lined sheet pan and allow to drain.
Bacon may be crisped and kept chilled up to two days in advance. If prepared ahead of time, re-warm slightly to re-crisp before assembling salad.
Just before serving, toss together diced beets, bacon lardons, washed frisée and walnut pieces. Add enough dressing to lightly coat all the salad components and divide salads equally between four plates. Divide beets, bacon and walnuts evenly as well.
Fry the duck eggs
Depending on your stove, pans, and experience frying eggs, you may opt to fry the duck eggs all together in one large pan, or individually in small pans. Heat a non-stick or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add enough fat to the pan to generously line the bottom. Fry duck eggs until the whites are very crispy and the bottom of the yolk is just starting to firm up. Flip the eggs and cook briefly on the other side to crisp all the white without overcooking the yolk. Ideally, the whites should be quite crispy and brown and the yolk should still be very runny.
Top each salad with a fried duck egg, sprinkle each duck egg lightly with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve immediately.