Salade Lyonnaise, this regional mixed salad is a classic of French Bistros and home cooking, perfect starter or served as a meal-size dish. You’ll love it.
Frisée aux lardons, the story behind the dish
The French call this une frisée aux lardons (lit. Curly with bacon due to the aspect of the lettuce variety) or une salade lyonnaise (lit. Salad from Lyon as it originally comes from this city, the second largest city of France, often called the gastronomic capital of France as it has so many delicious recipes in its repertoire and local products).
So tasty yet so simple. It’s a rustic staple of French bistro and brasserie and nowadays eaten all over France at restaurants and at home.
Mixed or composed salad (salade composée) is my idea of a simple lunch, served in a meal-size dish, in hot season but not only… Each region of France have its own signature according to local produces. This frisée aux lardons salad is absolutely perfect. Bitter crisp salad, smooth warm egg with runny yolk, salty and crispy bacon, crunchy croutons, eventually flavoured with garlic, healthy fresh herbs and mustard, olive oil and red wine sharp vinaigrette dressing. The French like to say that dishes should have at least 3 textures, which is absolutely the case here! Crunchy / Soft / crispy texture. Plus fresk and warm temperature. Plus smooth and sharp taste.
What do you need know to make a perfect salade lyonnaise like a French
- Salad first, has to be fresh and crispy. No classic lettuce here, you need to choose a bitter variety. Originally this salad was made with young leaves of dandelion (pissenlit in French), it’s now more common to use frisée lettuce (also called curly endive or chicory). Eventually use chopped escarole.
- As for eggs, some will make poached eggs, which might sound a bit tricky for some of you, others will just have boiled eggs, which is my choice. Soft boiled eggs as I like to have a runny soft egg-yolk that will mix with the dressing, I wouldn’t recommend hard boiled eggs, unless they are cooked for too long then no worries it happens to the French too. Eggs have to be still hot or at least warm which makes a fantastic contrast with fresh salad.
- Bacon, called lardons in French. Lardons are widely used in French cuisine, regular or smoked. The French use bacon in the shape of lardons, thick cuts of pork belly, sliced across the grain to get thick strips. Mainly bought pre-sliced at the supermarket, it’s something that most French always have on hand in the refrigerator. I always do, you never know when you’ll need lardons. Bacon is fried in a pan with no fat, stirring regularly, at quite high temperature to get browned and crispy. Then let them sit on a plate covered with a paper towel to remove any excess of fat.
- Croutons can be done with different breads: baguette or country-style bread, up to you. Cut bread into cubes, eventually scrape bread with garlic/ Heat butter in a pan, when it foams add bread cubes and fry for a few minutes stirring occasionally to get a crunchy texture on all sides. As for lardons, let them sit on a paper towel.
- Serve this frisée aux lardons in individual plates. First toss curly endive with vinaigrette. We say fatiguer la salade in French which literally means to tire the salad, a funny expression don’t you think so, why would salad well coated with French dressing be tired? Anyway, dress salad in the plates, add fried bacon and croutons, place an egg (eventually 2) in the center, sprinkle minced fresh parsley (flat leaves parsley tastes better that curly leaves parsley).
- Vinaigrette is done here with Dijon mustard for a sharp taste. You may switch olive oil for a mix of neutral oil (sunflower or rapeseed) and walnut oil.
Voilà, I’d love to have your feedback on this simple French classic recipe.
French food words in this recipe
Ingrédients / ingrédients ; lardon = bacon ; œuf = egg ; œuf mollet soft boiled egg ; œuf poché poached egg croûtons frisé (curly means chicory / curly endive) ; dandelion= pissenlit ; vinaigrette = salad dressing with oil and vinegar ; fatiguer la salade = toss salad
Frisée with Bacon, egg and crouton
- 1 salad crisp and fresh curly endive or chicory; or opt for dandelion or escarole
- 4 eggs soft boiled
- 150 gr bacon Lardons are thick cuts of bacon cut into large strips; Preferably smoked
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- 2 slices country-style bread large slices or 1/3rd baguette
- 1 knob butter
- 1 clove garlic optional
Vinaigrette French dressing
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt
- freshly ground pepper
First prepare the vinaigrette
- In a bowl, pour red wine vinegar add salt and pepper and stir to dissolve spices. Add mustard, combine. Then slowly pour in oil stir constantly to elmisify. Taste and adjust seasoning or oil and vinegar according to your preferences.
- In a pan melt butter over medium heat. Meanwhile, cut bread into cubes. When butter foams, add bread croutons and cool for about 5 minutes stirring regularly until they get a nice golden brown color and crispy texture. They will get crunchier when cooled down.
- Heat n a pan with no fat. When hot fry bacon for a few minutes until browned and crispy.
Make soft boiled eggs
- I give you the technique you prefer but feel free to do as you are used to.
- Place eggs in a casserole, cover with cold water. Heat over medium-high heat until it boils. According to the size of your eggs : if they are medium size, remove eggs immediately. If they are large, stop the heat and let them for 1 more minute).
- When cooked, pour cold water over for 1 minute, this will help to remove the shell. Then peel eggs.
Prepare and dress salad
- Toss salad with vinaigrette. Chop parsley.
- Dress salad in individual plates. On each plate, place an egg in the center. Sprinkle bacon, croutons and parsley all around.