Salade Lyonnaise // Lyonnaise Salad with Poached Eggs and Lardons
Salade Lyonnaise is a classic French salad of frisée with lardons, poached egg and warm vinaigrette that incorporates some of the bacon fat from cooking the lardons. In the salad photographed here, escarole subs in for the frisée, because sometimes in winter you've got to use what you've got. We think frisée, escarole, and chicory, or all three together, work beautifully in Lyonnaise salad. This salad makes terrific bistro-style luncheon fare, and I dream about it regularly.
Chicory, frisee, or escarole — or a combination — all make great choices for the greens in this salad.
What the heck are lardons?
Lardons are bacon, my friend. Thick, beautiful batons — little sticks — of bacon. Technically they should be cut from slab bacon, so if you like, buy eight ounces of slab bacon and slice the lardons yourself. We usually just fake it 'til we make it as the recipe indicates below, subbing in our favorite beautiful, thick, center-cut bacon. Either option works well.
The vinaigrette for salade Lyonnaise
For this recipe, you'll make the vinaigrette right in the bottom of the salad mixing bowl. That's a great little trick to take with you for future salads. You'll also whisk in two tablespoons of the bacon fat from cooking the lardons. That's a trick you don't necessarily want to use every day — but it's great here, and delightfully French.
- 8 slices (about 8 ounces) thick center-cut bacon
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces frisée, escarole, chicory or a combination (see note)
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 4 very fresh eggs
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cut each slice of bacon crosswise into about eight pieces. (They'll shrink to bite-sized as they cook.) Protip: we like to cut them with kitchen shears rather than dirtying a cutting board.
- In a 10-inch frying pan, cook bacon, stirring frequently, until just crisp.
- While the bacon cooks, make the dressing in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the minced shallot, mustard, a big pinch of fine sea salt, and the olive oil.
- When bacon is cooked, drain on paper towels. Whisk two tablespoons of the hot bacon fat into the dressing and discard the rest.
- To poach the eggs, fill a wide sauté pan halfway with water. (A pan like this is ideal.) Add vinegar and bring water to a brisk simmer, then reduce heat so the water is virtually still. Crack each egg into a small bowl and tip carefully into the water, submerging the bowl a bit as you pour. I like to add the eggs in a clockwise circle starting near the handle so I remember in which order to remove them for even cooking. Cook undisturbed for four minutes, until whites are set and yolks are runny. Remove eggs from pan with a strainer spoon (something like this). Gently place eggs on a paper towel-lined plate and dab the tops to remove excess water. Cut away any scraggly whites if you like.
- Tear the greens into bite-sized pieces, add to mixing bowl, and toss to coat with dressing.
- Divide greens among four plates, top each with a poached egg, and sprinkle with some of the bacon. Serve immediately.
Frisée is the traditional green for salade Lyonnaise, but we enjoy it equally with whichever of these gently bitter winter greens we can get our hands on.