During my visit to Lyon, I ate salade lyonnaise at every meal except breakfast. The city’s bouchons usually serve it as a rib-sticking first course -- often followed by a hearty hot dish like stewed tripe -- but it can also be a satisfying lunch or a quick supper, especially because, except for the lettuce, all the ingredients are kitchen staples. For a truly classic version, use dandelion leaves instead of frisée.
From Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Ann Mah, 2013. —Ann Mah
- Serves 4
heads frisée lettuce or, if in season, 2 bunches of dandelion leaves
bacon (unsmoked is traditional, but I like a slight tang of smoke)
Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
slices pain de campagne or rustic sourdough bread
cloves garlic, peeled
eggs, at room temperature
red wine vinegar
tasting oil, such as olive or canola
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash, sort, and dry the lettuce. If using dandelion leaves, remove the hard stems and tear the leaves into bite-size pieces.
- Cut the bacon into lardons, or 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks.
- Prepare the vinaigrette (see below).
- Lightly toast the bread and rub one side with a clove of garlic. Cut the bread into 1/2- inch cubes for croutons.
- Prepare the coddled eggs: bring a large pot of water to a boil, then lower the eggs gently into the boiling water and cook for 5 minutes, adding 30 seconds if your eggs are jumbo. Drain them immediately and run cold water into the pan to stop the cooking and to cool the eggs so you can handle them. Gently crack and peel the eggs, taking care not to tear the white. The yolk should still be runny. Rinse the peeled eggs to wash away any bits of shell.
- In a frying pan over medium-high heat, cook the lardons until they start to crisp and most of their fat has rendered. Remove them from the pan. With the flat side of a chef’s knife, lightly crush the remaining clove of garlic. Add it to the remaining bacon fat in the pan with the bread, turning the cubes so that they are lightly toasted on all sides.
- In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the vinaigrette. Scatter the croutons and bacon over the salad. Arrange the eggs on top and serve family style.
- In a small, lidded jar, combine the vinegar, mustard, and oil; cover and shake to combine. Season to taste (but not too much, given the saltiness of the salad’s other ingredients). Taste with a piece of lettuce and adjust the seasoning if necessary.