Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Salade Lyonnaise

Generally, I'm very bad at craving healthy things - like salad - in the winter.  So, lately I've been tinkering with salads that have warm and/or hearty elements, like last week's Mediterranean Arugula Salad.  One of my favorite salads of all time fits in this category: Salade Lyonnaise.

Salade Lyonnaise, like many classic French bistro dishes, is a perfectly efficient dish that ticks all your taste buds' boxes - rich, salty, tangy, crunchy, fatty, etc.  If you know me, or have read my blog regularly, you know my feelings on egg yolks (yes on all counts) and mustard (big time pro).  So any dish that combines these things (especially with just pure fat) ranks high in my book.  If I had the time or the wherewithal, I'd have made some onion soup to accompany the salad.  However, the whole point is that the salad makes a perfectly good, satisfying meal in and of itself.

Now, I suppose you'll raise some health concerns when glancing at this recipe.  French sensibility dictates that it would be perfectly reasonable to use the rendered fat from some scraps of pork belly as a base for salad dressing, and then goes on to say that we ought to top this salad with more rich egg yolk.  This makes perfect sense to me.  While you'll certainly want to use a good deal of the dressing in your salad bowl, you'll instead find that very little is actually needed, as the flavor is so rich.  And, keep in mind that the salad will be tossed in the yolk - so, yes, you can go easy on the dressing. 
Ingredients (makes two servings):
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • 1/4 lb. lardon, thick-cut bacon, or pork belly
  • 2 tbsp. minced shallot
  • 1 tbsp. French or stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. rice or champagne vinegar
  • 4 cups salad greens (frisée, spring mix, or arugula)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and heat a pan for cooking the pork.  Cut the pork into small cubes, salt (if you aren't using cured bacon), and cook in the pan until crispy.  Almost all of the fat should be rendered.   This will take about 10 minutes.
While the pork crisps, poach your eggs.  Turn down the heat so the water is at a simmer, swirl quickly with a spoon, and drop the cracked egg into the swirling water.  Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon.  Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
When the pork is done, remove and drain on a paper tower.  Remove about a spoonful of the rendered fat, and cook the minced shallots in the remainder.  Once cooked, turn off the heat and add the vinegars and mustard.  Stir quickly to make an emulsion. 
Toss the greens in the mustard emulsion and garnish with the crispy pork.  Top with a poached egg and season with a little salt and pepper.  
Pierce the yolk just before serving and toss.


  1. I never thought I'd want to eat a salad so much!

  2. This salad looks delicious! I can't wait to try it!