Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9th this year. If my own mother were not off on her fantastic Italian journey, I would be making her this salad, served on a warm patio with a chilled rose and a freshly baked crusty baguette. Paints a pretty picture, doesn’t it?
A traditional Salad Lyonnaise is a poached egg served atop frissee with bacon lardons, croutons, and a Dijon vinaigrette. I’ve taken some liberties here and adapted it to my preferences; don’t be afraid to do the same. For example, I like baby lettuces with a small amount of frissee in it because I don’t care for that much frissee by itself. I baked some fresh bread and served it on the side instead of putting croutons in the salad. And finally, I fried the poached egg.
Yes, you read that right; a crispy fried poached egg. The egg here is breaded and lightly fried, resulting in a crispy exterior that contrasts with the soft poached interior. It only adds a few minutes to the preparation but increases the “wow” factor exponentially. If you follow the steps to get everything prepped in advance, it will be significantly easier.
Have everything prepped and ready to go before cooking the eggs:
Put the salad greens in a large salad bowl and place in the refrigerator.
Make the vinaigrette
Have all pots and pans ready; one for poaching eggs with water, one for frying bacon, and one for frying the panko breaded eggs.
Have plates and bowls ready for the breading process.
Sheet pan lined with paper towels
Slotted spoon and tongs on hand
Set the table and have salad plates ready in the kitchen.
4piecesthick cut bacon, cut into 1/4 inch strips3.5-4 oz
For the Breading
salt and pepper
For the Vinaigrette
2.5ozextra virgin olive oil
3Tbspsherry vinegaror sub red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1cupneutral oilcanola for frying
1tspvinegarfor poaching eggs
baguetteeither for croutons or simply sliced with the salad
Make the vinaigrette (whisk together all ingredients; olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and shallot). This yields about 5 oz of dressing but I always save the extra for another salad later. You can cut the recipe in half if you like.
Slice the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
While the bacon is cooking, bring a quart of water to a simmer and add the vinegar. Crack each egg into a small bowl and gently lower it into the simmering water. Poach for 3-4 minutes and using a slotted spoon, remove to a paper towel. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
While the eggs are poaching, set up the plates/bowls for breading. Flour, egg, and breadcrumbs in each. Season the flour with salt and pepper.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully dredge the egg in flour, then beaten egg, then coat with the panko breadcrumbs. Set breaded egg gently on a plate and bread the second egg.
Heat the cup of oil in a large frying pan. The oil will be hot enough, when you drop some of the breadcrumbs into it and they start to sizzle and color (note; if they turn brown in less than 5 seconds the oil is too hot).
When the oil is ready, using the slotted spoon, gently lower the eggs into the oil. They should take about 15 seconds to turn brown on each side. Gently turn them over and fry on the other side. Remove with the slotted spoon to the paper towels and drain.
Quickly toss the salad with a few tablespoons of the dressing and the bacon and place on plates. Top with the crispy poached eggs and serve with baguette and a chilled white wine.
*Panko breadcrumbs are a very light, flaky, Japanese style breadcrumb and they have a very crispy crust when used as a coating for fried items.