One of the stereotypes about the French is that they love their stinky cheese and I have to say that since I have been living here I can absolutely confirm that to be the truth. Since smell is connected to taste I have still had a hard time getting on board with a lot of these smelly cheeses but my husband seems to love them. One of the most popular cheeses that you can find here in the south of France is Roquefort, which is a sheep’s milk blue cheese. It’s one of the best known varieties of blue cheese and honestly, it’s a little stinky. Here in France it is known as the king of cheeses, so it’s pretty much a big deal.
I’ve seen Roquefort cheese on a lot of menus and on a lot of salads. I decided to try my hand at a fancy French salad and prepared this one with warm, toasty croutons and bacon. Yes, bacon, or ‘lardons’ as they are known here in France. And the croutons are toasted in the bacon fat, so really there is nothing healthy about this salad but it is honestly pretty delicious.
This salad is great as a starter for a dinner or also perfect on its own for lunch or dinner. You’ll want to chop up the bacon strips before you cook them and cut your bread to be roughly the same size as the bacon. This salad is best served immediately after everything is cooked and the best way to prepare it is on a large platter so that you can dress it, toss it and then allow everyone around the table to take a portion while it’s still warm. Bon Appetit!
- Olive Oil
- 8 ounces bacon
- 2 thick slices sourdough bread , cut into ½" pieces
- 4 large handfuls spring mix
- 2 large handfuls radicchio
- 1 large handful shelled walnut halves, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch fresh chives, finely chopped
- 4 ounces Roquefort cheese
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Put a large frying pan on a high heat, and once hot, add around 2 tablespoons olive oil. Cut your bacon into ½" pieces, and add to the pan. Fry, stirring occasionally, for around 3 minutes, or until you’ve got a good bit of colour on the bacon and a lot of the fat has rendered out. Turn the heat down a little and add your bread to the pan, making sure you spread the croutons out so they take on some colour. Fry for another 3 minutes, or until they are crisp and golden.
- Put the extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper into a clean jar. Return the lid to the jar and give it a shake. Check the flavor of the dressing to make sure it is salted well.
- Put the spring mix and radicchio on a large platter and pour over the dressing. Scatter over most of your walnuts and chives and all the croutons and bacon. Quickly mix it all up with your clean hands or tongs so that every single leaf is coated.
- Use the tip of a knife to crumble off little bits of Roquefort and let them fall straight on to your salad. Finish by scattering over the rest of the walnuts and chives from a height and serve immediately.