A salad that lets you have your eggs and bacon in summer

I’m whisking you all the way to Lyon for a decadent salad in honour of Bastille Day

Lyonnaise salad is a French bistro classic

Lyonnaise salad is a French bistro classic

 

This week I’m rustling up a French bistro classic in honour of Bastille Day, whisking you all the way to Lyon for a decadent salad. Lyonnaise salad is the perfect way to enjoy your eggs and bacon during the summer heat.

Bitter frilly frisée leaves are the greens used as a base. Red radicchio, rocket or escarole all work well too. You can even add a handful of young dandelion leaves.

I often send my kids out to the garden with special foraging requests and they usually get distracted by different things and return with handfuls of buttercups or jam jars filled with lavender buds and water to make “perfume”. All very useful!

This recipe contains a very important cooking method too so it’s a great one for kids to learn. There’s an art to poaching eggs and patience seems to be one of the main requirements. Another necessity is to start with a very fresh egg. If you have hens of your own you’ll know how perfect they poach. The fresher the egg, the stronger the proteins and it’ll hold together well in the water.

Crack the egg into a teacup or bowl first. Create a swirling vortex in a pan of simmering salted water with a wooden spoon, then gently drop the egg into the centre. Turn the heat off completely and just leave the swirling heat to work its magic for three minutes. Some people add vinegar but I find it taints the egg too much and isn’t needed. The egg must be cooked till the white is just set and the buttery yolk becomes part of the dressing for the bitter leaves; the salty bacon adds pops of flavour and texture. It can be tricky to make poached eggs to serve a crowd. I usually have two pots on the go to ensure everyone gets to eat at the same time. 

The fat from the bacon forms the base of the dressing – such clever cooking. By adding the shallots and vinegar to the hot pan of fried bacon everything is married together beautifully. The shallots’ raw edge is softened in the warmth. A lovely simple salad.   

Recipe: Lyonnaise salad 

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