How to make the perfect Lyon salad


Metro is testing several ways to create the classic French Lyonnaise salad, examining the importance of the eggs, dressing and croutons used.

Rustic treat: The simple Lyonnaise salad includes cold cuts and even smoked herrings alongside eggs and leaves (Photo: File)

With its broken egg yolk, crispy bacon bits and caustic green leaves, the Lyonnaise salad must be the simplest French classic to make. You will usually find it in a “stopper” in Lyon, a rustic tavern specializing in traditional Lyon cuisine (sausages, pieces of pork and duck offal, among other pieces of meat).

Max Renzland, executive chef of Provender East London and a leading voice in French ‘bourgeois’ cuisine, explains on this lyonnaise salad has always been a popular dish served in bistros. “The recipes vary, but they usually include cold meats and sometimes smoked herring, a staple in the diet of Lyon’s silk workers a century ago,” he says.

Raymond Blanc, meanwhile, was inspired by his influential chef mother, Maman Blanc, in his native region of Franche-Comté, near Lyon, so he should know a definitive Lyonnaise salad. “It’s a simple everyday salad straight from my homeland,” he explains in the BBC2 series The Very Hungry Frenchman. “This salad is all the easier since you can now buy so many varieties of ready-made salad leaves. “

The chefs don’t agree on the best sheets. White evokes curly, lamb’s lettuce and escarole in equal parts. The crunchiness and peppery bitterness of this mixture effectively slice Blanc’s salted bacon. However, in Cooking With The Master Chef (Phoenix), rival Gallic chef Michel Roux Jr only claims dandelion leaves or curls. I fleetingly consider the garden for my dandelion leaves but it’s not the right time of year.

New York Times cooking mainstay Mark Bittman said: “The combination of bitter greens (traditionally curly, though escarole, dandelion and arugula all work wonderfully), crispy bacon, egg crisp barely cooked and the hot dressing can’t be beat. “

I really like the call of Blanc with “fine herbs” – chives, chervil and tarragon – to boost my body of powerful French flavors.


What about the eggs? Most poach them, but chef Angela Hartnett of the famous Murano in Mayfair suggests frying them in her excellent new cookbook, A Taste Of Home (Ebury). The fry looks mouthwatering but the yolk doesn’t burst so voluptuously on the leaves. The pig component in this recipe is worth considering. It’s bacon and smoked bacon for Monsieurs Blanc and Roux Jr; Hartnett raises the game with the black pudding.


Hartnett tosses the leaves with black pudding, bacon and shallots, then adds an olive oil dressing, wine vinegar – not specifying white or red – Dijon mustard and seasoning. Blanc’s vinaigrette packs more punch than a heart-wrenching Zola novel with Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, a splash of water, extra virgin rapeseed oil, sea salt and pepper black, as well as a shallot and garlic. Bittman, meanwhile, mixes Dijon mustard and sherry vinegar. Made from dry fortified white wine, it is less sweet, sweeter, and more aromatic – a positive addition.

Croutons et al

To end his sybaritic meat feast, Blanc scatters himself around the pork scratchings but I find that their high salinity detracts from everything else. Hartnett mentions in his recipe that “the French add croutons but I prefer to leave them aside”. On the contrary, I like Roux Jr’s idea of ​​making his own croutons by slicing the baguette, baking it and rubbing it with garlic. I may be honking, but it is the courageous trombone of my Gallic orchestra.

Lyonnaise salad recipeIngredients (for 2)

150g of curly, raddichio and escarole

1 large handful of chives, chopped

1 large handful of tarragon, chopped

1 small baguette for croutons

1 garlic clove, crushed to coat the bread

150g smoked bacon

2 organic eggs

1 knob of butter Vinaigrette: 2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar

4 tablespoons of olive oil

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Salt and black pepper


Step 1Preheat the oven to 180 ° C. In a jam jar or shaker container, combine the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, shallot, garlic and seasoning. Screw the top. Shake hard. Taste, add more salt and pepper if necessary.

2nd stepPlace your leaves and herbs in a large bowl. In a skillet over medium heat, add a little butter. Slowly brown the bacon. When cooked, remove the bacon until it cools a bit. But immediately throw any fat from the pan into the salad, as it adds flavor. When the bacon is colder, cut it into smaller pieces, about 2 cm x 2 cm. Toss the greens with the dressing and the hot bacon to coat everything.

Step 3Cut a baguette into about 20 slices and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 180 ° C until crispy and golden (usually about 5 minutes depending on your oven). Then rub each slice with the garlic. On two plates, serve the greens and bacon with the croutons.

Step 4Over medium heat, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil then simmer. Crack the eggs into small tea cups and slowly slide them into the water. Do not stir them, just let them sit in the water for 3-4 minutes, then remove them with a colander. Place each on the leaves and break them up so that the yolk immediately flows into the salad.

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