Classic Salad Lyonnaise with a twist

Salad Lyonnaise is a traditional French salad that is basically perfect in its simplicity. The ingredients are all pretty compelling on their own: bacon (is there anything better than bacon, really?), a poached egg, frisee, and a Lyonnaise dressing. The culmination of all of these and their textures and flavors is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

I had never actually made a Salad Lyonnaise, and it crossed my mind as I was planning my mother’s day menu. It seemed a perfect pairing with the pizza Napoletana I was planning to serve. As I began to search for recipes, I came across a recently-posted entry on Former Chef (check it out, it’s a marvelous blog: www.formerchef.com) The most intriguing component of Former Chef’s version was the fact that instead of simply poaching the egg, she dredged hers in Panko bread crumbs and fried it. The added color and crispiness of the golden-brown crust enveloping a luscious poached yolk makes it a true piece de resistance. This salad was a big hit on mother’s day, my parents loved it!

A poached egg fried in Panko adds a wonderful textural twist to this Salad Lyonnaise

Former Chef’s Salad Lyonnaise
(posted with her permission; thanks Former Chef!)

For Salad:
5 oz baby lettuces or frisee (more traditional)
4 pieces (3.5-4 oz) thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips
2 eggs
2 Tbsp vinaigrette, see below

For Breading:
2 Tbsp. flour
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup panko* breadcrumbs
salt and pepper

For Vinaigrette:
2.5 oz extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp sherry vinegar (or sub red wine vinegar)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup neutral oil (canola) for frying
1 tsp vinegar (for poaching eggs)

optional: baguette, either for croutons or simply sliced with the salad

1. Make the vinaigrette (whisk together all ingredients; olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and shallot). This yields about 5 oz of dressing but I always save the extra for another salad later. You can cut the recipe in half if you like.

2. Slice the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

3. While the bacon is cooking, bring a quart of water to a simmer and add the vinegar. Crack each egg into a small bowl and gently lower it into the simmering water. Poach for 3-4 minutes and using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.

4. While the eggs are poaching, set up the plates/bowls for breading. Flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in each. Season the flour with salt and pepper.

5. Using a slotted spoon, carefully dredge the egg in flour, then beaten egg, then coat with the panko breadcrumbs. Set breaded egg gently on a plate and bread the second egg.

6. Heat the cup of oil in a large frying pan. The oil will be hot enough, when you drop some of the breadcrumbs into it and they start to sizzle and color (note; if they turn brown in less than 5 seconds the oil is too hot). When the oil is ready, using the slotted spoon, gently lower the eggs into the oil. They should take about 15 seconds to turn brown on each side. Gently turn them over and fry on the other side. Remove with the slotted spoon to the paper towels and drain.

7. Quickly toss the salad with a few tablespoons of the dressing and the bacon and place on plates. Top with the crispy poached eggs and serve with baguette and a chilled white wine.

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