The famous Bistro Salad originated from the city of Lyons, France and is also known as a Salade Lyonnaise. The frizzy, fluffy lettuce by the name of frisée is the star ingredient. The salad combines the slight bitterness of the fresh greens with salty pancetta, caramelized onions, creamy poached egg and garnished with crunchy croutons.
This salad is a French classic served with a poached egg and it is tossed with a simple sherry vinaigrette. It is the perfect luncheon or light dinner salad for a meal in itself, just add a crusty loaf of sourdough bread and a crisp glass of white wine and enjoy! The sherry vinaigrette is made with a mashed anchovy fillet, Dijon mustard and a little honey. It is all whisked together and compliments the salad beautifully.
I have been wanting to create this bistro salad for the longest time but the frisée lettuce I wanted to use was not available until recently. I was so excited to see it in the produce and snapped up a head of it.
What is Frisée?
Frisée, is probably the most popular lettuce in France, and after enjoying this wonderful salad I understand completely! It is tender, crisp and has a slightly bitter taste that give it an interesting flavor. Fluffy frisée is perfect for this salad but chicory, escarole or arugula can also be used.
You can find this special lettuce in the organic produce section and can be a bit on the pricey side, probably because it takes a little effort to produce this two-toned, frizzy-leaf lettuce.
Frisée begins it’s life as a regular endive lettuce plant but as it nears maturity each plant is banded around the middle to prevent the sunlight penetrating to the heart of the plant. When it is untied and opened there is a beautiful two-tone heart with fluffy, tender frizzy spikes.
Ingredients for this Bistro Salad:
This salad combines the slight bitterness of the fresh greens with salty pancetta, creamy poached egg, caramelized onions and croutons. The salad is finished with a simple sherry vinaigrette with anchovy and Dijon mustard.
- Frisée lettuce
- Duck or chicken eggs
- Sherry Vinaigrette: sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, anchovy, honey, and olive oil.
There is a small farm near our home where we buy our weekly supply of chicken eggs and on occasion we will pick up a dozen duck eggs.
Chicken eggs are normally used for this salad but the duck eggs are ideal here because the yolks are about twice the size of a regular chicken egg and that creamy yolk is amazing with the crisp slightly bitter greens and the tangy dressing.
That lovely, warm creamy yolk tastes wonderful in this salad with the sherry vinaigrette.
Poaching the Eggs:
Everyone has their own way of poaching an egg but there is a great video by Serious Eats that describes why poached eggs have that cloudy mess in the water and how to correct it. Several years ago I watched a video with an egg being cracked into a ladle and the ladle held on top of the simmering water for 30 seconds which lets the white part begin to set, then it is tipped into the water. It’s a great technique and makes poaching an egg so easy.
Did you know that you can also poach eggs in advance and then reheat them? All you do is poach them, remove them from the poaching water and place them in icy water to stop their cooking process.
When ready to serve just add the eggs to hot water (from the faucet) and allow them to warm for about 5 minutes. It works!
You might also like these salads:
- Heirloom Tomato Salad
- strawberry walnut salad
- arugula apple salad
- kale Caesar salad
- radish cucumber salad
- crispy chicken salad
- kale barley salad
For the Salad:
- 4 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/2-inch dice *See Note #1
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large head frisée lettuce, about 4 cups
- 2 duck eggs, poached *See Note #2
- 1/2 cup crisp croutons
For the Sherry Vinaigrette:
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 small anchovy fillet, mashed
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Cook the pancetta in a skillet set over medium heat until browned and crispy, stirring occasionally—about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the cooked pancetta to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and pour off the fat in the skillet. Reserve the pancetta
- Adjust the heat to medium-low and add the olive oil to the skillet and when it is warm add the onion. Cook the onion, stirring often, until tender and caramelized about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the skillet and add to the paper-towel lined plate with the pancetta.
To Make the Sherry Vinaigrette:
- In a blender, combine the sherry vinaigrette, mustard, anchovy, and honey and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil to form an emulsion. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Reserve (See Note #3 for alternative)
To Poach the Duck Eggs:
- Fill a large saucepan three-quarters full of water. Bring the water to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer. Working with one egg at a time crack it into a fine mesh strainer, swirl it around allowing the watery white to drain off, transfer the egg into a small half-cup plastic cup or a ladle that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I use the individual serving containers that applesauce are sold in. Do the same process with the second egg. Float the containers on top of the hot simmering water for 30 seconds, or if your using a ladle then hold it only slightly submerged, then gently tip the egg out of the container and into the simmering water. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or according to your preference.
To Assemble the Salad:
- While the eggs are poaching, add the frisée to a large bowl and toss with 1/2 of the vinaigrette. Reserve the remainder for another salad. Divide the salad equally between two chilled salad plates and distribute the pancetta and onions over the top. With a slotted spoon, scoop one egg from the water and blot the bottom of the spoon with a kitchen towel to remove any excess water, arrange the poached egg on one of the salads and proceed with plating the second egg.
- Add croutons to each salad and serve immediately.
- Regular chicken eggs can be used instead of duck eggs.
- Lean bacon can be substituted for the pancetta.
- Soft boiled or fried eggs can be substituted for the poached eggs.
- Alternatively, the vinaigrette can be made by mashing the anchovy in a small dish and combining it with the mustard, honey and sherry vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the oil while whisking.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 14gSodium: 552mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 13g