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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.
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.
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
- Lyonnaise Potatoes
- French Onion Soup or Vegetarian French Onion Soup
- Coq au Vin Blanc
- Nicoise Salad
- Savory Crepes
- Baked Eggs
- Chouquettes (French Pastry Sugar Puffs)
- Brioche Dinner Rolls
- Duck Leg Confit
- Jambon-Beurre Sandwich
- French 75 Cocktail
How to Make Salad Lyonnaise
Step 1: Make dressing: Cut bacon slices into ¼-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.
Step 2: Poach eggs and transfer to paper towel.
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.
- 16 ounces frisee lettuce torn into bite size pieces
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 slices lean, thick cut bacon cut crosswise into ¼" strips
- 1 large shallot minced
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 eggs
- 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.
- See notes in blog post about poaching eggs up to 5 days in advance.
This was very good. First time poaching an egg and first time with frisee. Will definitely make again.
Marissa Stevens says
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Ellen! Thank you for coming back to let me know.
Katherine | Love In My Oven says
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!
Love it! Thanks so much, Katherine!
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen says
How have I never tried this salad Marissa? It looks like something I'd totally love. Pinned and excited to try!
Yay! Thank you, Mary Ann!
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
I hope that you and your family love this one, Valentina! Great idea to add chicken for a heartier version.
Kelly | Foodtasia says
Warm bacon dressing! How heavenly! I love everything about this salad, Marissa. The frisee, that dressing, and that poached egg perfection! So delicious and definitely deserves to show up frequently on our table!
Love to hear that, Kelly! Thank you!
Kankana Saxena says
with all the bacon and mustard that dressing sounds incredible!
Thank you, Kankana!
Boy you paint a delicious picture with your words! This salad lives up to your description! Just delicious! Nothing better than a fancy salad, my friend!
You are so kind, Annie! Thank you!!
Dawn - Girl Heart Food says
Such a delicious salad and I just love the egg on top! Perfect for lunch today with a nice hunk o crusty bread 😉
Love how you think, Dawn!
Actually I am not very familiar with French cuisine (Need to fix that), and I haven't heard the name Lyonnaise Salad either. But I do love a good egg and bacon in my salads. So this is a delicious and perfect recipe for this time of the year (Hearty yet still light). Beautiful!
Thank you very much, Ben!
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Marissa! I'm with Kevin, you had me at warm bacon dressing and then the poached egg! It is still hot here and we are still getting local tomatoes and eastern peaches, but I'll happily eat this salad anytime! I am looking forward to fall apples and squash, both of which I love, and turning off the a/c!
Hi Dorothy! Glad you're still enjoying those delicious summer tomatoes and peaches. We are too, but I'm with you on loving fall produce!
David @ Spiced says
This salad does indeed sound fancy, but it's so easy to make! What a fun recipe idea...plus, it's hard to beat a good poached egg. I hear ya on the honeycrisp apples. I'm still waiting on our orchard to open the honeycrisps up for u-pick (it should be any day now). To be fair, we're a bit cooler than you over here...and the crisp mornings are putting me in the mood for Fall! But I'd happily enjoy this salad still...looks delicious!
Love it that you have a u-pick option for Honeycrisp apples - I wish we did! Hope you'll give this salad a try, David. It really is easy and so good!
The French do make some amazing salads don't they? And this Salad Lyonnaise you've recreated looks delicious and with a perfect poached egg too! I just want to reach through the screen with my knife and fork!
Can you imagine if we could do that!? I'd be reaching through my screen daily! 🙂 Thanks so much, Neil!
You had me at warm bacon dressing! This salad is going to be on the must make list soon!
Love to hear that, Kevin! Thank you!
paula montenegro says
One of my favorite salads also! Great recipe Marissa!
Thanks so much, Paula!
mimi rippee says
This is wonderful. The first time I had this salad was in Lyon! 2002. Food memories. It was outstanding. I didn't grow up with it, but then, I didn't always like lettuce. Thanks for the reminder!
My pleasure, Mimi! Thanks for your sweet comment.
Matt - Total Feasts says
I love poached eggs on salad, and a Lyonnaise is just so lovely with so few ingredients!
Thanks so much, Matt!
Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes says
This salad will forever be one of my favorites. So simple, yet the combination is just what I need when I'm hungry!. Lovely Marissa!
Well said, Paula. It's so simple and totally satisfying. Thank you, my friend!
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
This is one of my favourite salads for its simple beauty! 😀
Thanks so much, Lorraine!
I love this salad, I'm busy now studying and I really need easy recipes for my family and this one seems so good!
Love to hear that, Giovanna!