I’ll start by saying this recipe is not traditional and is more loosely inspired by the classic Salad Lyonnaise than the “real” thing. Ok! Disclaimer aside this is one of the best salads I’ve had and it makes a perfect first course or appetizer. There is nothing like a salad with bacon, egg and crunchy croutons to make you rethink merely calling it a “salad.”
All salads this good, sadly, do come at a price. Here that means learning to poach an egg to top the salad with. Thanks to David I can share with you the trick to easy poached eggs (built on repeated trial and error over years of practice!). Nothing beats the elegant presentation and the texture that results from a properly poached egg.
Torn lettuce leaves, washed and dried (large handful per plate)
1/8-1/5 Baguette, cut into small cubes
1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tbsp. butter
whole garlic gloves, peeled
1 slice thick cut bacon per place, cut into lardons (bite sized strips)
White wine vinegar
1 egg per plate, poached per below directions
Dijon-Red Wine Vinegar Dressing, per below rough directions (I’ll post a recipe specific to the brands I use later)
Cut up the bacon into lardons and brown in a small sauté pan and set it aside on a plate with a paper towel to soak up any excess rendered fat. Any rendered fat in the pan should be discarded. Next you are going to add the olive oil and the garlic to the pan and brown the garlic a little to infuse the olive oil with the garlic flavor. Discard the garlic gloves and add the butter, tossing the bread cubes into the hot oil/butter and cook until golden brown (stir frequently!). Set aside on a plate with a paper towel to absorb any extra oil.
Tear up and clean the lettuce leaves you are using. Pick whatever kind of lettuce you like to eat in salads, it will be delicious. Prepare your salad dressing by combining roughly a teaspoon of dijon mustard with red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. It really is a matter of taste and balance depending on your ingredients. Combine the mustard and vinegar first to get the balance you want and then add olive oil. Once the olive oil is balanced with the other ingredients it will likely taste a bit bland, so add some salt to bring the flavor back up to the right level. Toss the salad together, except for the croutons, and put salad on each plate, topping each with plenty of croutons.
Last you need to prepare your poached eggs. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add in a splash of white wine vinegar. Crack an egg into a small bowl, taking care to remove any shell. Swirl the water in a circle so the water is rotating in the center of the pot. Carefully add the egg from the bowl while the water is still swirling about, and add a second egg right after. Cook for 3 minutes while the water is barely simmering. Strain the eggs and place on top of the salads and serve immediately.