When my husband and I go out to eat at Vin Rouge, our favorite local French bistro, he always gets what he has dubbed “the breakfast salad.” Of course, anyone who is familiar with French cooking would recognize it as the classic Salade Lyonnaise, but with fried potatoes, chewy-crisp lardons and a poached egg on top, all bound by a hot, vinegary dressing, this truly is the salad that aspires to be breakfast.
As with all our favorite dishes, I wanted to see if I could re-create this one at home. I don’t advertise it, but I do take requests, and I like to be able to turn out decent versions of my husband’s favorite dishes on the rare occasions that he asks for them. Fortunately, this dish is not only super-easy to make at home, but it is just as delicious. It is substantial enough to serve as a light supper on its own, or perhaps as an accompaniment to a cup of soup.
I started with a recipe in Mark Bittman‘s The Best Recipes in the World, which is the bible for me when locating any recipe that does not originate in the U.S. Of course, I had to fiddle with the recipe some. The main addition was cubed, fried potatoes to make the home-cooked version more closely resemble our restaurant favorite.
I really got the eggs right when I made this salad. Poaching eggs is an exercise in patience, and I think the key to success is letting the water slowly come to just a simmer. I also cooked the eggs slowly, spooning some water over them at the end of the cooking time to make sure the whites were thoroughly cooked. I can’t abide poached eggs with runny whites.
Yields: 2 servings (but this recipe can be easily doubled)
Time to make: ~30 minutes
What you need:
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ lb. potatoes, cubed
- ¼ lb. slab bacon, cubed — I really recommend you seek out the slab bacon for this recipe, as the chewy cubes of fat are part of what makes this salad unique.
- ½ tbsp. shallot or onion, minced
- 3 cups salad greens
- ¼ cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 eggs, poached — click here to learn how to poach eggs
- Divide the greens among 2 salad plates.
- Heat the olive oil over medium.
- Add the bacon and cook until the fat renders, 2 minutes or so.
- Add the potatoes and onion.
- Continue cooking until the potatoes are browned and the bacon is crisp, 10-15 minutes.
- Mix the vinegar and mustard.
- Add the vinegar mixture to the skillet and bring just a boil, stirring to mix with the bacon and potatoes.
- Season to taste.
- Pour the mixture over the greens.
- Top each portion with a poached egg.
To complete the “breakfast” theme, this would be nice served with a couple of large, freshly toasted croutons.