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Weekend Recipe: Salade Lyonnaise with Poached Eggs

 Salade Lyonnaise with Poached Eggs
America's Test Kitchen

This hearty salad from America's Test Kitchen is standard French bistro fare.

It combines the saltiness and smokiness of bacon, the bite of bitter greens, the crunch of croutons and the sharpness of mustard vinaigrette. A poached egg is perched on top of the greens, and when broken into, the runny yolk coats all the salad elements like a sauce.

If this is your first time poaching eggs, bear in mind that for this recipe it's better for the eggs to be underdone — the yolks still very runny — than overdone. If the yolks are too coagulated to flow, the salad will be quite different than it should be.

This recipe demands precise timing. The salad should be dressed just as the eggs are finished poaching. This salad makes a great dish for brunch, lunch or a light dinner alongside a bowl of soup or a sandwich.

Salade Lyonnaise with Poached Eggs
Yields 6 servings

INGREDIENTS

4 slices high-quality white sandwich bread
1 tablespoon olive oil
Table salt
Ground black pepper
6 ounces frisée (about 2 small heads)
3 ounces (3 cups) dandelion greens
3 ounces (3 cups) mâche
4 slices thick-cut bacon
1 shallot
⅓ cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or whole-grain mustard
⅓ cup olive oil
Table salt
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
6 large eggs

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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut 4 slices white sandwich bread into 1/2-inch cubes.

3. Toss bread cubes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in bowl.

4. Spread bread cubes out on rimmed baking sheet.

5. Bake until croutons are golden brown and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. 

6. Set aside.

7. Wash and dry 6 ounces frisée, 3 ounces dandelion and 3 ounces mâche.

8. Tear frisée and dandelion greens into bite-size pieces as needed.

9. Toss frisée with dandelion greens and mâche in large bowl.

10. Cut 4 slices thick-cut bacon into 1/2-inch pieces.

11. Peel and mince 1 shallot. You should have about 3 tablespoons.

12. Cook bacon in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp, but still chewy, 4 to 6 minutes.

13. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate, leaving rendered fat in skillet.

14. Add shallot to fat in skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, 2 to 4 minutes.

15. Stir in 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon of Dijon or whole-grain mustard, scraping up any browned bits.

16. Cook until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

17. Off heat, stir in 1/3 cup olive oil and set aside.

18. Bring 6 cups water to boil in Dutch oven over high heat. Heat a second large pot of water to 150 degrees. (This will be used to hold the first batch of eggs while the second batch cooks.)

19. Meanwhile, crack 6 large eggs, one at a time, into colander. (For the best results, be sure to use the freshest eggs possible. Cracking the eggs into a colander will rid them of any watery, loose whites and result in perfectly shaped poached eggs.) 

20. Let stand until loose, watery whites drain away from eggs, 20 to 30 seconds.

21. Gently transfer 4 large eggs to 2-cup liquid measuring cup.

22. Add 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt to boiling water. Remove pot from heat.

23. With lip of measuring cup just above surface of water, gently tip eggs into water, one at a time, leaving space between them.

24. Cover pot and let stand until whites closest to yolks are just set and opaque, about 3 minutes. If after 3 minutes whites are not set, let stand in water, checking every 30 seconds, until eggs reach desired doneness. (For medium-cooked yolks, leave covered for 4 minutes, then begin checking for doneness.)

25. Using slotted spoon, carefully lift and drain each egg over Dutch oven. Transfer cooked eggs to pot with 150-degree water and cover. (This will keep eggs warm for 15 minutes.) Return poaching water to a boil and cook remaining two eggs.

26. While final two eggs poach, drizzle vinaigrette over greens and toss thoroughly to coat.

27. Divide greens among 6 individual serving plates.

28. Sprinkle evenly with bacon and croutons.

29. Use slotted spoon, quickly and carefully transfer eggs, one at a time, to large plate lined with paper towels, letting water drain back into skillet.

30. Once all eggs have been drained, gently slide 1 egg onto each salad and serve immediately.

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