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Salade Lyonnaise – French Frisée Salad

10 minutes. Cook
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Introduction

France, known for its culinary artistry, has bestowed upon the world a multitude of gastronomic delights. Among them, the Salade Lyonnaise stands out as a classic French bistro dish that has been savored for generations. This exquisite salad combines the bitterness of frisée lettuce, the richness of lardons (bacon), the subtle tang of Dijon vinaigrette, and the crowning jewel, a perfectly poached egg. In this culinary journey, we’ll delve into the history of Salade Lyonnaise, explore the ingredients and utensils you’ll need, and provide you with a step-by-step guide to prepare this iconic French salad at home.

Historical Context

Salade Lyonnaise, hailing from the culinary capital of France, Lyon, has a history as rich as its flavors. It first emerged in the late 19th century, a creation of the legendary chef Mère Fillioux. Lyon, known for its hearty cuisine, embraced this salad as a delightful mix of textures and flavors.

Traditionally, this salad was enjoyed by the working-class men of Lyon who sought a hearty yet quick meal. The choice of ingredients, with frisée providing a robust bitterness, bacon for saltiness, and the poached egg for creaminess, made it a satisfying dish for the laborers of the region.

Preparation

1. Prepare the Frisée:

  • Begin by washing and tearing the frisée lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Place them in a large salad bowl.

2. Cook the Lardons:

  • Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Add the lardons (bacon strips) and cook them until they turn crisp and golden brown, typically taking about 5-7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the lardons from the pan and set them aside.

3. Poach the Eggs:

  • Fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a gentle simmer. Add a dash of vinegar to the simmering water, which helps the egg whites coagulate more easily.
  • Crack one egg into a small bowl. Create a gentle whirlpool in the simmering water by stirring it with a spoon, and carefully slide the egg into the center of the whirlpool. This method helps the egg white wrap around the yolk.
  • Poach each egg for about 2-3 minutes for a runny yolk or longer if you prefer it more cooked. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove each poached egg from the water and place them on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

4. Make the Dijon Vinaigrette:

  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and freshly ground black pepper until well combined.

5. Assemble the Salad:

  • Add the sliced red onion to the frisée in the salad bowl.
  • Drizzle the Dijon vinaigrette over the frisée and onions. Toss gently to coat the salad evenly with the vinaigrette.

6. Final Touch:

  • Sprinkle the crispy lardons over each salad, adding a savory crunch.
  • Carefully place one poached egg on top of each salad, allowing the golden yolk to ooze and mingle with the other ingredients.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley to add a burst of color and freshness.

7. Serve and Enjoy:

  • Salade Lyonnaise is best enjoyed immediately. The contrast of warm, crispy bacon, and the creamy, runny egg yolk against the bitterness of frisée lettuce creates a symphony of flavors that is nothing short of delightful.

Conclusion

Salade Lyonnaise, a timeless French classic, brings together a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that have stood the test of time. Its roots in Lyon’s culinary history as a satisfying working-class meal have transformed it into a celebrated dish that graces the tables of bistros and homes around the world.

With this recipe, you can now recreate the magic of Salade Lyonnaise in your own kitchen. The bitterness of frisée, the saltiness of lardons, the creaminess of poached eggs, and the zing of Dijon vinaigrette come together in a perfect union. So, whether you’re savoring it as a light lunch or a hearty dinner, Salade Lyonnaise is a taste of France that will leave you craving for more. Bon appétit!

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staffcontributor
prep time
25 minutes.
cooking time
10 minutes.
servings
4 servings
total time
25 minutes.

Equipment

  • Large salad bowl

  • Skillet or frying pan

  • Slotted spoon

  • Saucepan

  • Whisk

  • Small mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 head of frisée lettuce, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces

  • 150g (5.3 oz) lardons (thick strips of bacon)

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

1
Wash and tear frisée.
2
Cook lardons until crisp.
3
Poach eggs in simmering water.
4
Make Dijon vinaigrette.
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