Bacon and eggs? In a salad? Sign me up. I've always wanted to try this classic, almost archetypal French bistro salad, sometimes called the Salad Lyonnaise, after its origin city Lyon—which some have declared the gastronomic capital of France. I was surprised to discover that the dressing couldn't be easier to make (it makes ample use of the rendered bacon fat) and has few ingredients. The tender, faintly bitter frisée (also called French chicory) holds up well to the rich dressing.
My only fear was the poached egg, something I've never been able to pull off with much grace. But this time, I cracked my egg into a deep ladle, which I submerged vertically into the simmering vinegar-spiked water. This helped the egg form into a round shape before I turned the ladle sideways and pulled it out from under the egg. It worked perfectly.
- 4 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 large head frisée, torn into bite-sized pieces.
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch thick matchsticks
- 3 tablespoons minced shallot
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 4 eggs
Bring a saucepan or pot of water to a gentle simmer with the white vinegar—it should be barely bubbling. Crack the eggs (one at a time) into a ladle or small bowl, then lower or slip them into the water in one quick motion. Gently guide the eggs back into a compact shape if the whites spread out too much. Cook until the whites are completely set, 3-5 minutes.
In the meantime, fry the bacon over medium-high heat in a skillet until browned and rendered, about 3-4 minutes, then add the shallots for an additional minute. Remove from the heat, add the red wine vinegar, and stir well to incorporate,
Toss the frisée in the dressing until well-coated, then season with salt and pepper. Plate, and top each salad with a poached egg. Finish with extra pepper.