Summer is well suited to serving the classic and comforting Lyonnaise Salad and this deceptively complex proved to be the perfect first taste of France in my kitchen this week.  

Save for picking out the best looking lettuces at the market, this salad comes together with nothing more than a few pantry staples.  Gently poached eggs, rich bacon, and a piquant dressing accent the warm entrée salad in style and my personal additions of a wee-bit cheese, a dash of chilies and a smattering of fresh basil put a personal spin on a French classic.  

Riffing on Lyonnaise  Salad-Serves 2

  • 4 ( ¾ inch thick )slices of fresh baguette
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 garlic clove, halved
  • 3 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
  • ¼ Cup minced red onion
  • 2-3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Fresh Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 small head escarole, torn
  • 1 small head green leaf lettuce, torn
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, snipped
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

Heat the canola oil over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking.  Add the slices of baguette and cook without disturbing on one side until deep golden brown (about 1 minute).  Flip the bread and season with kosher salt.  Allow the second side to cook until golden and crisp.  Transfer the toasts to a plate and rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic clove.  Set toast aside.

Add the bacon to the same skillet and season with coarse pepper.  Allow the bacon to cook stirring frequently until crisp.  Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate and reserve.

Add the minced onions to the bacon drippings in the skillet and allow to cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).  Whisk in the red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and sugar to make a dressing.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.  Keep the dressing warm over low heat while poaching the eggs.

Fill a large high sided skillet ¾ full of water and add the white vinegar.  Bring the pan of water to a bare simmer.  Crack the eggs into two small ramekins.  Swirl the water clockwise in the pan to create a vortex.  Slip one of the eggs into the center of the vortex and allow the current to take the egg.  Use a wooden spoon to gently turn the whites over the yolk.  Repeat with the second egg and allow both to poach in the simmering water for 3 minutes.  Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and allow any excess water to drain onto paper towels.  Trim any ragged whites from the eggs.

Distribute the torn lettuces into two large bowls and tuck two pieces of garlic toast on the side of the lettuce.  Drizzle the warm dressing over the lettuce and top each salad with a warm egg.  Garnish with the bacon, parmesan, red chili flakes and additional dressing if desired.

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