Salade Lyonnaise is universally beloved across France, but not in America. You would think any breakfast-like dishes that answer the early morning cravings for salty fatty bacon, creamy eggs, starchy potatoes and toasty bread will be an instant hit anywhere. Think again. I guess you have to hide the vegetables. Call it bacon, egg and potatoes on a bed of greens. That would certainly widen the appeal of this wonderful hearty dish. Just don’t call it a salad.
This recipe comes from David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen. We, the home cooks at Cook-the-book-Fridays are making the Salade Lyonnaise this week. I agree with David’s description that
“this salad is a confluence of good, yet humble, ingredients coming together to become something more important than each could be on its own.”
At the same time, if you treat each ingredient right, they’d play well together on the plate and on your palate. A simple meal with everyday ingredients can sing, under the right condition. Well, it’d go beyond singing if you pair it with a fruity red wine, like Brouilly, slightly chilled, as they do in Lyon.
I love a big and hearty salad like this one, especially in the summer season. On those hot lazy summer days, all you feel like is grazing at different times, instead of making a big meal. This salad serves as a template. The Dijon mustard and red wine vinaigrette can easily be prepared ahead of time. Put in plenty of minced garlic or shallots as you like. Layer sturdy greens, such as frisée, arugula, escarole, or romaine with warm new potatoes or any small young potatoes. Add something salty like bacon, ham, pancetta or any leftover meat you can find in the fridge. For crunch, add nuts, seeds or croutons. Last and, more importantly, top the salad with eggs. Whatever diets or culinary direction you are following, eggs seem to play a crucial role (except for vegans) on any dish.
I’m particular with eggs. Here is my routine. I sous vide them (with an immersion circulator) in a constant-temperature water bath, half a dozen at a time, at 149°F for 90 minutes. (Half a dozen of eggs don’t last long in my kitchen.) At that temperature, the egg yolks are fully set but malleable and the whites are barely firm. With sous vide, there is no guess work. It’d never be the fastest method. But you get the exact texture you want consistently–every time with every egg.
You can crack the egg open, like you’d with raw eggs, in one swift dramatic motion. What comes oozing out is something more or less like a poached egg—with the yolk that melts in your mouth. Phenomenal!
The creamy goodness of eggs does it for me. In a simple salad, atop a bowl of noodle or, think yummy and sweet, in ice cream!