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Lyonnaise salad (salade Lyonnaise) makes terrific French bistro-style luncheon fare in no time. Here’s how to make it great.

Lyonnaise salad on a plate with a fork
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Why we love this recipe

It doesn’t get more classically French than salade Lyonnaise. Serve this recipe alongside a crisp glass of white wine and a nice baguette, and you’re suddenly lunching in Paris (or, hey, Lyon). I dream about it regularly. 

This beautifully calibrated version:

  • Pairs the traditional frisée with softer greens to provide just the right amount of charming textural chaos
  • Leans into the bacon to a generous but not overwhelming extent
  • Gets tossed in a punchy, beautifully emulsified vinaigrette

I first published a version of this recipe here and on Serious Eats way back in 2010. I’ve since updated the post for clarity and made a few gentle tweaks to the recipe itself.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • Frisée (sometimes called curly endive) is the traditional choice for salade Lyonnaise. When I can find it, I like to combine it with a soft leaf lettuce for a nice variety of textures and flavors. Other gently bitter winter greens, such as escarole, also make great choices for the greens in this salad.
  • Traditional Lyonnaise is made with lardons — thick batons cut from slab bacon. I usually just fake it ’til I make it as the recipe indicates below, subbing in a nice thick, center-cut bacon. Either option works well.
  • Shallot is one of my favorite alliums — it’s so full of nuanced, delicate flavor. Mince it so its texture enhances the dressing rather than getting in the way.
  • Champagne vinegar has a bright, nuanced flavor profile that works beautifully in the dressing. If you don’t have it, regular white wine vinegar (not distilled vinegar) will work, too.
  • You can use any eggs you like, but sourcing good ones makes all the difference in such a simple recipe. Nothing beats the gorgeous golden yolk of a fresh egg from a well-treated hen. I’ve devoted a whole section to helping you parse the details.
  • You’ll add a little bit of distilled white vinegar to the poaching liquid to help the egg whites firm up just enough.

Sourcing eggs

The least-complicated (though often not the most convenient) way to source great eggs is to buy from local farmers whom you know and trust, either directly from the farm or at a farmers’ market or small grocery store.

If you’re shopping at a U.S. supermarket, things can get a little more complicated. Here’s a quick guide to the terminology that will and won’t help you choose the best eggs you can afford.

Words that mean something

  • Organic
  • Pastured (best) or free-range
  • USDA A or AA
  • Certified Humane or Animal Welfare Approved seals

Words that don’t mean anything

  • Natural (anything can be called natural)
  • Vegetarian-fed (chickens are natural omnivores)
  • No added hormones (this is required by the government)
  • Antibiotic-free (chickens are rarely medicated with antibiotics)

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

Lyonnaise salad on a plate with a fork
Lyonnaise salad made with chicory

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make a beautiful Lyonnaise salad. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Cook the bacon until crisp, reserving two tablespoons of the rendered fat.
  2. Poach the eggs.
  3. Make the dressing in the bottom of a salad bowl, then add the greens and toss.
  4. Plate each salad. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

This recipe is quick and easy to put together, and it really shines when made right before serving. I don’t recommend going out of your way to make it in advance. That said, if necessary, you can prep the elements in advance.

You can cook the bacon, make the dressing, and even prep the greens up to a couple of days in advance and store in separate containers in the fridge. Reheat the bacon and the the dressing (since the fats will solidify in the fridge) when you’re ready to use them.

You may be surprised to learn that you can make poached eggs a day in advance, store them submerged in cold water in the fridge and simply reheat in a pan of barely simmering water for about a minute right before serving. Restaurants sometimes use this technique, and if you’re cooking for a large crowd, it’s a good one to keep in your back pocket. I don’t typically use it for a recipe like this one.

Toss and plate the salads right before serving.

If you’ve used hearty greens, leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or so.

More favorite salads with winter greens

Lyonnaise salad on a plate with a fork

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Lyonnaise salad on a plate with a fork
5 from 5 votes

Lyonnaise Salad

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
It’s fun to have a few really special salads in your repertoire that can serve as bistro-style luncheon fare or a dinner party starter. The French classic salade Lyonnaise is simple, elegant, and perfect. It’s traditionally made with frisée, but we also love it with other gently bitter winter greens.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 10 ounces (285 grams) thick center-cut bacon
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 10 ounces (285 grams) frisée, escarole, chicory, soft leaf lettuce, or a combination
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) distilled white vinegar
  • 4 very fresh eggs

Instructions 

  • Chop the bacon into bite-sized pieces and place into a cold 10-inch frying pan.
  • Place pan onto burner and set heat to medium.
  • Cook, stirring from time to time, until lightly crisp.
  • Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels, reserving two tablespoons of the rendered fat.
  • While the bacon cooks, make the dressing in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the minced shallot, champagne vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  • Whisk in the olive oil and the two tablespoons of bacon fat.
  • 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.

Notes

  1. Traditional Lyonnaise is made with lardons — thick batons cut from slab bacon. I usually just fake it 'til I make it, subbing in a nice thick, center-cut bacon. Either option works well.
  2. Frisée (sometimes called curly endive) is the traditional choice for salade Lyonnaise. When I can find it, I like to combine it with a soft leaf lettuce for a nice variety of textures and flavors. Other gently bitter winter greens, such as chicory and escarole, also make great choices for the greens in this salad.
  3. Shallot is one of my favorite alliums — it's so full of nuanced, delicate flavor. Mince it so its texture enhances the dressing rather than getting in the way.
  4. Champagne vinegar has a bright, nuanced flavor profile that works beautifully in the dressing. If you don't have it, regular white wine vinegar (not distilled vinegar) will work, too.
  5. You'll add a little bit of distilled white vinegar to the poaching liquid to help the egg whites firm up just enough.
  6. This recipe is quick and easy to put together, and it really shines when made right before serving. I don't recommend going out of your way to make it in advance. That said, if necessary, you can prep the elements in advance.
  7. You can cook the bacon, make the dressing, and even prep the greens up to a couple of days in advance and store in separate containers in the fridge. Reheat the bacon and the the dressing (since the fats will solidify in the fridge) when you're ready to use them.
  8. You may be surprised to learn that you can make poached eggs a day in advance, store them submerged in cold water in the fridge and simply reheat in a pan of barely simmering water for about a minute right before serving. Restaurants sometimes use this technique, and if you're cooking for a large crowd, it's a good one to keep in your back pocket. I don't typically use it for a recipe like this one.
  9. Toss and plate the salads right before serving.
  10. If you've used hearty greens, leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a day or so.

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal, Carbohydrates: 3.2g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 27.2g, Fiber: 1.3g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Salads + Bowls
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

Hungry for more?

Subscribe to Umami Girl’s email updates, and follow along on Instagram.

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

5 from 5 votes (5 ratings without comment)

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3 Comments

  1. I would have happily read a straightforward post about frisee, eggs, and crispy pork-product, but learning about your 1934 newspaper-floor and reading about tautologies, lube, and buttery dressings really gave me my money’s worth.

    Good luck with the move. And please, be careful on that new (?) floor.

  2. Both of those salads look gorgeous…can’t wait to try!! We will need to chat soon… once the move is over. Goodluck with everything!