Lyonnaise salad recipe | Fresh Flavors Blog
I’m not a big fan of salads. I love veggies and I even like them raw sometimes, but call it a salad and it gets some negative associations and when I go through a menu my eyes keep going down the list. Put the words ?? Salade Lyonnaise ?? on a menu though and my eyes will stop abruptly.
Eating a Lyonnaise salad is like fireworks for your taste buds. The salt of the bacon, the spiciness of the champagne vinegar and the bitter bite of the curly leaf rush over your taste receptors, highlighting the strength of each ingredient. Meanwhile, the rich pork fat and egg yolk coat your tongue in a creamy shield that keeps any taste from getting overwhelming.
With this kind of thoughtful balance of contrasting tastes and textures, it’s no wonder that Lyon is widely regarded as the gastronomic capital of France (perhaps even the world).
While a curly head might look like Carrot Top on a bad hairstyle day, it’s actually a variety of endive. Less bitter and more leafy than Belgian endive, it makes an excellent green salad. Its sturdy leaves help it hold its shape after pouring a hot dressing over it, making it perfect for this salad.
Lardon is the French equivalent of bacon, made by salting pork belly. While you might not be able to find bacon in your local grocery store, you should be able to find pancetta, which is a good substitute since neither is smoked. That said, if you can’t find it either, the bacon will do in a pinch.
The Lyonnaise salad often has brioche-based croutons but when I make a meal of this salad, I like to accompany it with a whole croissant. Besides being easier to find than brioche, you can use the croissant to make a sandwich with the salad and it’s perfect for soaking up the tasty sauce and the egg yolk at the end.
Topped with a creamy poached egg, tangy champagne vinegar and salted bacon, the Lyonnaise salad is a unique salad that uses the curly for a bitterness that brings together all the flavors. Food blogger Marc Matsumoto shares a flavor breakdown in a full article on the Fresh Tastes blog.
- 8 ounces of curly (1-2 large heads)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 8 ounces of bacon or pancetta (bacon will do in a pinch)
- 2 tablespoons of chopped shallot
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- black pepper to taste
- 4 poached eggs
- 4 croissants
- Tear the curly into small pieces and soak it in cold water for at least 10 minutes. This gives crispness to the curly hair by giving it more structure. Drain the curly leaf and run it through a salad spinner to dry it completely.
- Prepare 4 poached eggs. Cut the croissants in half and toast until golden brown and very crisp.
- Cut the bacon into thick sticks and add it to a pan with the olive oil. SautÃ© over medium heat until the bacon is golden brown. Transfer the bacon to a plate, then add the shallots to the pan.
- SautÃ© the shallots until they begin to brown and are very fragrant. Add the vinegar, mustard, honey and salt and whisk the mixture to create an emulsion. Add the parsley.
- Put the curly in a bowl with the bacon and pour the hot vinaigrette over the salad. Toss to coat.
- For the plate, place a croissant on the plate, cover with salad, then garnish with a poached egg. Serve immediately with a little fresh ground pepper.
Yield: 4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairer who shares his passion for good cuisine through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes of inspiring others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has made several appearances on NPR and the Food Network.