Lola Cooks: Lyonnaise Salad

Lyonnaise Salad by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

I've been to dozens of conferences and at each one someone invariably says "Never apologize for not posting blog posts." I've tried to stay true to that over the years. There have been many times that work and family and well, life in general have gotten in the way of consistent blog posts. The last few months are a good example of that.

Today I am ignoring the good advice and telling you I'm sorry for not being here. Maybe you don't even care. I don't know, but I'd like to think that some of you enjoy it when I have regular posts. The truth is that it's probably more about me than you. I love Today's Nest and when I don't share new content here I feel as though I am letting my audience down... and myself in the process. It's all a work in progress and I'll probably go absent again (although I'll try not to). Just know that I am always thinking of Lola and the blog and how I can add a little sunshine to your lives.

Now, on to the recipe. 
This is one of my favorites - Salade Lyonnaise. A classic in the culinary capital of France, this salad is perfect for brunch, lunch, or light dinner. The mustard vinaigrette is the perfect compliment to the bacon and poached egg. The yolk of the egg helps to dress the salad and makes for a rich experience. It's is more beautiful and delicious than it is complicated, but if you're not used to poaching eggs that is a skill you will have to develop.

Give this recipe a try for your upcoming spring/summer brunches and be transported to a sidewalk cafe. It is just light enough to not blow all the hard work you've been doing for swimsuit season and just heavy enough to fill you up for an afternoon of window shopping.

savour... équilibre délicieux


Lyonnaise salad by Sam Henderson of Today's Nest

Lyonnaise Salad
serves 6

Before you start:

While the ingredients and ratios vary from recipe to recipe, a few things remain constant. Shallots are a mainstay in this dish. Explore their lighter onion flavor for your salad. Additionally, their small size makes the most perfect little, thinly sliced rings.

I like to add some of the bacon fat to my dressing. That is not in every recipe, but I think it adds just a hint of the flavor throughout.

CROUTONS! Never buy croutons again. They are stupid easy to make and store bought croutons simply do not compare.

You will often find this recipe made with frisée. It's not always easy to find. If you can't find it replace it with a green (I like the curly sort, a little bitter) that suits you. 

You can use just regular smooth Dijon mustard if you like. I like to use half smooth and half stone ground Dijon mustard for the texture. Maille makes a very good stone ground version which can be found in most specialty supermarkets.

Some recipes call for garlic in the dressing. I opt to leave it out and instead flavor my croutons with garlic. I'll leave that decision up to you.

The ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 8 cups of greens
  • one medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
  • 6 slices of thick cut bacon
  • croutons, amount based on preference
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon stone ground Dijon mustard
  • ½ tablespoon bacon fat (reserved from cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

The method:

  1. Make the dressing: Cook the bacon over medium heat until crispy. Place the cooked bacon on paper toweling to drain and reserve ½ tablespoon of the fat. Add the mustards, bacon fat, and lemon juice to a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to make an emulsion. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Fill a medium saucepan ⅔ full with water. Add vinegar and bring water to a low simmer (there should just be small bubbles consistently floating to the surface). Add the eggs by first cracking them individually into a small bowl(s). Swirl the water around with a spoon to create a whirlpool. Carefully slide the eggs into the center of the whirlpool. This will keep the whites around the yolks and prevent spreading. Cook until the whites are set (about 2-2½ minutes). Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Compose the salad: Chop the bacon in to bite sized pieces. Add greens, shallot rings, bacon pieces, and croutons to the bowl with the dressing. Toss lightly to completely coat ingredients. Plate the salads. Add a poached egg to the top of each salad. Top with freshly cracked pepper and serve.