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Salad Lyonnaise sounds fancy doesn’t it? And it sounds decadent with poached eggs and a warm bacon dressing. But really it’s a contradiction: fancy looking, but prepared in less than 30 minutes; rich tasting, but a fairly light meal.

Salad Lyonnaise served on a white plate

I bought first crop Honeycrisp apples the other day and maybe I should be craving hearty stews and roasted chicken, but the weather isn’t cooperating. It’s September, but temperatures still climb to the 80s and even low 90s some days. So, for now, I’m still craving salad.

Many famous dishes began in the French city of Lyon: Coq au vin, Lyonnaise potatoes, Sauce Lyonnaise, and, of course Salad (Salade) Lyonnaise. It’s a salad that we sought out on our last visit to France and one that we often make at home.

The main components of Salad Lyonnaise are Frisée lettuce, with it’s frilly leaves and delicately bitter flavor; a warm bacon dressing, with the bacon cut into thin, crosswise strips called lardons; and perfectly poached eggs. The bacon dressing is simple to make and when I can’t find Frisée in the grocery store, I swap in curly endive. It has a firmer bite, but stands in nicely. It’s poaching the eggs that can be a challenge, but there are a couple of tricks to make it easier.

transferring a poached egg to a paper towel

How to Poach an Egg

There are a lot of strong opinions about the best method for poaching eggs; here are a couple of steps that work well for me: drain the thin liquid from the white before poaching and create a vortex in the simmering water before adding the egg(s).

  • Creating a vortex in the simmering water is simply stirring the simmering water just before you slip in the egg(s).
  • To drain off the thin white, you’ll need a couple of small bowls and a large, finely slotted spoon or a fine mesh strainer. Set the slotted spoon or mesh strainer over one bowl and carefully crack the egg into it, the liquid will drain out leaving the thicker white intact. Then slip the drained egg into the second bowl.

To poach, slide eggs into 2 inches of simmering water that you’ve stirred into a vortex. After 15 or 20 seconds, gently rotate eggs to help them take shape (I like to gently flip them over a couple of times after about 2 minutes, ending with the yolk facing up). Simmer for a total of 4 minutes, until the white is set and yolk is soft (longer if you prefer a jammy yolk). Lift the eggs out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up any water.

One other note is about vinegar. Many poached egg recipes suggest adding it to help keep the eggs together, but I can always taste it. So my 2-cents is to skip it.

How to Reheat Poached Eggs

You can serve poached eggs immediately or make them up to 5 days ahead! (Make ahead brunch anyone?) To poach eggs ahead of time: transfer poached eggs immediately to a lidded container filled with very cold water and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve, transfer the eggs with a slotted spoon to a bowl of very hot tap water and let stand 2 minutes. Drain, blot dry with a paper towel and serve!

Other Must Try French Recipes

How to Make Salad Lyonnaise

Step 1: Make dressing: Cut bacon slices into 1/4-inch wide strips crosswise. Cook until crisp in olive oil. Add shallot and cook until softened, then mustard and vinegar. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

making warm dressing in a cast iron pan step by step

Step 2: Poach eggs and transfer to paper towel.

poaching eggs

Step 3: Reheat dressing if necessary and pour over frisee lettuce in a large salad bowl. Toss to coat completely. Divide salad among 4 serving plates and top each with a poached egg; serve.

adding warm bacon dressing to lyonnaise
tossing frisee with warm bacon dressing
topping Salad Lyonnaise with poached egg

Recipe Video

Salad Lyonnaise

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: French
Calories: 267
Servings: 4 people
The classic French Bistro salad that began in the city of Lyon – so delicious and easy to make at home.

Ingredients  

  • 16 ounces frisee lettuce torn into bite size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices lean, thick cut bacon cut crosswise into 1/4″ strips
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 eggs

Instructions 

  • Add frisee to a large bowl.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add bacon; cook and stir until crisp. Add shallot and cook until softened, about one minute. Add mustard and vinegar; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Remove from heat.
  • Optional Step: to drain the watery white from each egg, crack egg over a large finely slotted spoon or fine mesh strainer set over a bowl; slide drained egg into a second small bowl or ramekin. Repeat with remaining eggs.
  • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring two inches of water to boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Stir water to create a vortex – this will help the whites stay together. Gently slide eggs into water, gently rotating them after 15 seconds and gently flipping after 2 minutes or so with a rubber spatula (be sure the yolk is facing up before lifting eggs out). Cook eggs until white is set, about 4 minutes. Lift each egg out with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel to drain.
  • If your dressing has cooled, reheat it briefly. Pour dressing over frisee and toss toss to coat.
  • Divide salad between 4 serving plates and top each with a poached egg. Serve.

Notes

  1. See notes in blog post about poaching eggs up to 5 days in advance.

Nutrition

Calories: 267kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 6721IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 138mg | Iron: 2mg

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

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38 Comments

  1. Ellen says:

    5 stars
    This was very good. First time poaching an egg and first time with frisee. Will definitely make again.

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Ellen! Thank you for coming back to let me know.

  2. Katherine | Love In My Oven says:

    5 stars
    If you can call a salad cozy, then this would fit that description!! The egg is PERFECT, Marissa. And I adore bacon on my salad. I think I”m in salad love!

    1. Marissa says:

      Love it! Thanks so much, Katherine!

  3. Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says:

    5 stars
    How have I never tried this salad Marissa? It looks like something I’d totally love. Pinned and excited to try!

    1. Marissa says:

      Yay! Thank you, Mary Ann!

  4. Valentina says:

    5 stars
    I’m all over this! My entire family will absolutely love it. I’ve never thought to make poached eggs ahead of time and your guide/tips for doing it are great. I will try that, too. I think I might even add a bit of chicken and make this a “one bowl” dinner this week. And yes, it’s still SO hot! I’m sipping on my ICED coffee as I type. 🙂 Thanks for another yummy recipe. ~Valentina

    1. Marissa says:

      I hope that you and your family love this one, Valentina! Great idea to add chicken for a heartier version.