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Bon appetit! French flair makes this salad a hearty meal

By the Editors of Relish Magazine
Bon appetit! French flair makes this salad a hearty meal
(Photo: Photo: Relish Magazine)

The French call this a salad; we call it dinner.

Granted, we took some liberties with the traditional salad, adding potatoes to make it heartier. Use a sturdy lettuce. Slightly bitter greens, like frisée or romaine, play off the crisp bacon, creamy eggs and warm potatoes to create a delicious meal.

The salad is popular throughout France, particularly in the small eateries known as bouchons in Lyons, a city in the Rhone-Alps region.

Key to the salad is the poached egg. You can use an egg poacher, of course, but if you don’t have one, go freestyle. Bring a pot of salted water barely to a boil. Crack the eggs one at a time into a small cup and slide the egg gently into the water. The freshest eggs work best here, as their whites will hold together better.

Cook the eggs for 2 or 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to remove from the water.

Salade Lyonnaise

  • 3 bacon slices
  • 2 russet potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 leeks (white part only), sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups frisée or curly endive
  • 4 poached eggs (cooked about 2 minutes)
  • Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (optional)

Cook bacon in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until done, about 5 minutes. Remove bacon, reserving fat. Add potatoes to the pan; cook 5 minutes. Add leeks and continue cooking until potatoes are done, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Combine oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a bowl; whisk well.

Toss frisée with dressing. Place on serving plates. Top each serving with potatoes, egg, crumbled bacon and cheese, if using. Serves 4.

— Recipe by Laraine Perri

Homemade creme fraiche

  • 1 cup heavy cream not ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1 cup dairy sour cream

Whisk together in a bowl. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let stand in the kitchen or other reasonably warm spot overnight, until thickened. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, after which the creme fraiche will be quite thick. The tart flavor will continue to develop as it sits in the refrigerator. Good for at least two weeks in refrigerator. Makes 2 cups.

Use as a thickener for soups or sauces, as a dessert topping, or in boiled recipes as it will not curdle. Stir a few spoonfuls into butter-warmed vegetables for a simple sauce. Whisk some into salad dressing for extra flavor and texture.

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