Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France, and has a beautiful culinary history. One of the dishes that Lyon is known for is the Salade Lyonnaise, which is associated with the city’s bouchons (a special style of restaurant serving traditional Lyonnaise cuisine). Today, you can find this warm entrée salad made with frisée lettuce, pork lardons and a poached egg, served throughout bistros in France. The salad gets an extra layer of pork flavour because the fat from the lardons is emulsified into the vinaigrette. It is a lovely salad to make for lunch, especially during the summer.
If you’ve never made anything with lardons before, you can relax knowing that lardons is just a fancy word for slab bacon sliced into chubby matchsticks. Unlike bacon (which is still wonderful!) lardons can add so much texture and richness to a dish without being too heavy, and you don’t run the risk of the lardons being too soft or too crispy. When done right, they should be both textures, equally. Every time I have a salad or pasta with lardons, it immediately transports me back to France, and all the wonderful meals I had there.
If you’re not sure where to purchase slab bacon that would be ideal for making lardons, check our retailer map for a full listing of locations that carry local pork products. To be 100% sure you are buying local, look for the Ontario Pork checkmark logo.
The best part about this salad? You can put the whole thing together in about 15 minutes.
- 5 slices Ontario slab bacon, cut into short, ¼” wide-strips (pancetta also works)
- 1 head of frisée lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (also known as curly endive)
- 2 large eggs (farm fresh if possible)
- 1 tbsp. white vinegar
- 2 tbsp. Sherry or white wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard1 small shallot, minced
- 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: a toasted baguette with a little bit of butter pairs well with this salad, especially to dip into the egg yolk.
- Bring a skillet to medium-high heat. When hot, add in the raw pieces of slab bacon and cook slowly until crisp, about 8 minutes. Be careful not to overcook. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer onto a paper towel-lined plate. Leave the remaining fat in the pan.
- At the same time, bring a small pot of water to a boil, and add the white vinegar. Reduce the heat to medium and swirl the water using a slotted spoon. Crack the eggs, one at a time into a small ramekin or bowl, and slide the eggs, one at a time, carefully into the water. Cook until the egg whites are set, or about 2-3 minutes. Remove carefully from the water with a slotted spoon and place onto a paper towel-lined plate.
- Add the minced shallots to the skillet and sauté in the pork fat until softened, or about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the shallots to a bowl and mix with the mustard, Sherry or white wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle the olive oil (and any remaining pork fat from the pan if you so choose), until the vinaigrette is properly emulsified. Toss with the frisée lettuce and lardons, and divide equally onto two salad plates.
- Top each salad with a poached egg and add some cracked black pepper and salt to taste.