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.
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.
A proud Southern California native, Ann currently lives in Paris and Washington DC (and moves all the time thanks to her husband's diplomatic career). Ann's cookbook, Instantly French, is the first French cookbook for the electric pressure cooker. Her new novel, The Lost Vintage, is in stores now.