Lyonnaise salad, the underappreciated bistro classic, provides a perfect example of meat in moderation. Crisp bacon pieces, called lardons in France, provide the perfect foil for the soft texture of a runny poached egg. Lacy frisée helps capture bacon bits, eggy bites, and tart vinaigrette in every forkful. Unlike so many salads that provide little in the way of protein, this balanced dish is the kind of lunch that can power a long afternoon. Paired with a glass of wine, it’s also a delicious but easy dinner.–Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond
LC Now That's What We Call a Proper Salad Note
When did the notion of salad as a pious act of abstemiousness come into the collective consciousness? None of that for us, please. Just pass the frilly little lettuce leaves buried beneath lardons, potatoes, and silken, drippy egg yolk and we’ll be content. Quite.
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Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
While the potatoes are roasting, fry the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain and set aside.
For the dressing, combine the shallot, mustard, vinegar, and remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a jar with a secure lid and shake until emulsified. (Or, of course, you can simply whisk the ingredients together.)
While the potatoes are cooling, toss the frisée with the dressing in a large bowl. Divide the frisée among individual plates.
Fill a 10-inch, straight-sided pan with 1 1/2 inches of water (or use a Dutch oven or other large sauce pot). Add the vinegar and bring the liquid to a bare simmer. There should be bubbles breaking the surface of the water but they should not be at a rolling boil. Gently crack the eggs, one by one, and slip them into the water, taking care not to break the yolks. (You may need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your pan. You may also wish to first crack each egg in a small bowl and then hold the bowl just above the surface of the water.) Run a spoon through the water to prevent the eggs from sticking to the bottom. Reduce the heat to low and let the eggs cook until the whites have set and the yolk is done to the desired consistency, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the eggs from the water, one at a time. Blot the bottom of the spoon on a kitchen towel to catch the draining water.
Place an egg on each portion of frisée. Sprinkle the bacon bits and potato croutons evenly over each salad and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
Lyonnaise Salad Recipe © 2009 Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. Photo © 2009 Leo Gong. All rights reserved. All materials used with permission.