We have a lot to thank France for when it comes to mealtime, but perhaps one of my favorites is Lyonnaise Salad, or Salade Lyonniase: it's a perfect combination of frisée, a curly bitter salad green, tossed in a warm vinaigrette and topped with a poached egg and crispy thick-slab bacon pieces. It's one of those timeless dishes that hits the spot every time and can transport you to the banks of the Seine even if you're stuck in your sweltering American apartment.
Poaching an egg isn't the easiest thing in the world, but with a little practice you can master the technique. The technique I learned in culinary school is in the recipe below, but you can also check out our poached egg tutorial.
The greens are traditionally frisée, but any other bitter green will work; arugula, escarole, or radicchio (red, not green!).
4 cups frisée lettuce (about 4 ounces), torn into large bite-size pieces
2 ounces thick bacon (about 1 piece) sliced against the grain into 1/4" pieces, or 2 pieces regular sliced bacon, sliced similarly
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 large eggs, as fresh as possible
1 medium shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper, to taste
Place the frisée into a large mixing bowl.
Place a small skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon pieces, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Carefully remove from the pan from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon pieces to a paper towel to drain and cool. Keep the pan and its rendered fat.
To poach the eggs, fill a saucepan with 4 inches of water and add the white vinegar. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. Break each egg into small bowl. With a slotted spoon, stir simmering water to create a whirlpool, then slide the first egg into a eye of the swirl. Using the back of the spoon, immediately push the solidifying whites around yolk, coaxing them to stay close to the yolk. Repeat with the second egg. Simmer the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes. Gently remove each egg with the slotted spoon and reserve in a bowl of warm water. Trim off any straggling pieces of cooked egg white.
Reheat the skillet with the rendered bacon fat over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the red wine vinegar and mustard and swirl to combine. Add the bacon pieces and swirl. Immediately pour the hot dressing over the greens and toss. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Divide the salad between two bowls and top each with a poached egg. Season the eggs with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Serve immediately.
This recipe and post have been updated. Originally published in 2006.