Salade Frisée aux Lardons

This Salade Frisée might sound a little odd, but actually like so many French dishes that sound a little daunting, it’s actually seriously delicious!

Salade Frisée aux Lardons - a classic French starter or main dish salad with bacon and poached egg

The first time I had Salade Frisée was back in 2007 in a gorgeous little restaurant in the Rue de Mail in Paris. It was named simply Chez Georges (or George’s Place). Established in 1964, it is a traditional French bistro near the banks of the Seine, lined with mirrors and decorated in the style of the 1920‘s and 30‘s. It’s a place my husband used to go regularly with his parents when he was a child. Although he had not been there in years, as soon as he mentioned his name, it appeared they remembered him.

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We were welcomed like old friends and even offered ‘un digestif’ (a glass of liqueur) at the end of the meal free of charge. Our son was about 14 at the time, and in France young people are allowed to drink in restaurants with a meal. He was thrilled to be given his own glass of wine and one of the digestif, just as generously full as the ones given to us. Chez Georges has now been sold by the original owners and was closed for a time. However,  I have just learned it has been re-opened and is still getting rave reviews. I’m looking forward to a return visit!

Salade Frisée aux Lardons - a classic French starter or main dish salad with bacon and poached egg
But back to the Salade Frisée. This is one of the original Chez George’s signature dishes, traditionally served as a starter, and my husband recommended we all order it. Crispy bits of bacon (lardons) are fried and used to garnish a lightly dressed salad topped with poached eggs. As the egg yolk drips into the lettuce it becomes part of the dressing. The contrast of this with the salty tang of the bacon makes this one of my favourite salads in the whole wide world.

Hang on – What’s Salade Frisée?

Traditionally a type of green known as frisée is used for this salad. It’s a woody, frizzy type of chicory and its bitter flavour works really well. However, when I am making this dish at home I use assorted mixed lettuces. Frisée can be quite hard to find in England, and any I have had outside of France tends to taste a bit too bitter for me.

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Despite what you may have been lead to believe, making poached eggs the old fashioned way is actually incredibly easy. I like to serve two eggs with each portion of salad if I am serving it for lunch, or one egg if I am serving it as a starter. Salade Frisée works really well in a menu where the main course is steak frites (steak and French fries).

Salade Frisée Recipe

To serve four people, you need:

1 cup of chopped lardons (small chunks of bacon)
(I also use chopped Pancetta – it’s not authentic, but it works, and I can buy it ready chopped.)
4 eggs (8 eggs if this is to be a main course)
4 – 6 cups mixed lettuces, washed, well drained and torn in bite size chunks (I confess I have used bagged salad more than once.)
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sugar

You will need 4 medium plates for serving this as a starter, 4 large plates if this is to be a main dish.

Place the lettuces in a large bowl.

In a large shaker or clean jam jar with a lid, shake together the oil, vinegar, mustard and sugar. Pour over the lettuces and toss together.

Boil your water ready for the poached eggs. Divide the salad between the plates.

Meanwhile, fry the lardons over medium heat until they are crispy. Drain, set aside and keep warm.

Ask everyone to come and sit down at the table. You definitely want the eggs and bacon to be hot when you serve this. When everyone is seated, poach the eggs.

Top the salads with one or two eggs, depending on how you are serving this. Sprinkle with the bacon lardons and serve immediately. Encourage people to break the poached eggs open so the egg can bathe the salad in gorgeousness. Wait for everyone to take a bite, and for the quizzical expressions on their faces to turn to joyful amazement. It won’t take long.

Salade Frisée Printable Recipe

5.0 from 2 reviews
Salade Frisée aux Lardons
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of chopped lardons (small chunks of bacon) or pancetta
  • 4 eggs (8 eggs if this is to be a main course)
  • 4 - 6 cups mixed lettuces, washed, well drained and torn in bite size chunks (I confess I have used bagged salad more than once.)
  • 3 tablespoons mild olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 generous teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Instructions
  1. You will need 4 medium plates for serving this as a starter, 4 large plates if this is to be a main dish.
  2. Place the lettuces in a large bowl.
  3. In a large shaker or clean jam jar with a lid, shake together the oil, vinegar, mustard and sugar. Pour over the lettuces and toss together.
  4. Boil your water ready for the poached eggs. Divide the salad between the plates.
  5. Meanwhile, fry the lardons over medium heat until they are crispy. Drain, set aside and keep warm.
  6. Ask everyone to come and sit down at the table. This is not a dish to be served cold. When everyone is seated, poach the eggs.
  7. Top the salads with one or two eggs, depending on how you are serving this. Sprinkle with the bacon lardons and serve immediately. Encourage people to break the poached eggs open so the egg can bathe the salad in gorgeousness. Wait for everyone to take a bite, and for the quizzical expressions on their faces to turn to joyful amazement. It won’t take long.

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Article by April Harris

April has written 1259 great articles for us.
April is a food, lifestyle and travel writer who lives in Berkshire, England. She shares inspiration, tips and trends for anyone who loves food, cooking, entertaining, fashion, travel and the finer things in life at her blog, AprilJHarris.com.
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Comments

  1. You nailed it! The perfect French recipe I have eaten many times already. I really love it. Good job 🙂

  2. Hey April. Thank you for sharing your story and recipe. I’ll think of Paris and Chez Georges when I make your beautiful Salade Frisée aux Lardons. I have wanted to make this for some time, and now you have inspired me. This dish is now on my must-make-very-soon list.

  3. Such a classic salad. Bet you really enjoyed the lardons.

    • It really is. The lardons are absolutely amazing. I’ve heard that you can use black olives for a vegetarian version but I know I would miss the lardons too much! In a pinch though, you can use chopped bacon – it’s not quite the same, but it does work 🙂

  4. Beautiful April!

  5. Yummy, I reckon it’s hard to beat that mix of flavours April!
    Janie x

  6. Great salad April. Love the egg and bacon! Stopping in from Say G’day 🙂

  7. Hi April,
    I love your post and the salad would be delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. April,
    I was in a French restaurant in Charleston that was called- Chez Jean- and it was on Jean Street. The French must like to do that. I’ve never had salad frisee despite that my husband is from France( Paris) and we have gone many times. Maybe it’s because I am a vegetarian and this salad is made with bacon. Regardless, I enjoyed reading about your travels and the salad looks lovely.

    • You are right, the French really do like to use the terminology ‘Chez’, Jean, a bit like in Spain I notice a lot of restaurants called ‘Casa de…’ and then a person’s name. Thank you for the compliment. You can definitely leave off the bacon and the salad will still taste good, but I’d add a little extra salt and pepper to it. I might change the name of it as well to Salade Frisée aux Oeufs 😉

  9. Wow! Looks like you charmed the owners…Love heartwarming stories! How wonderful that the original owners remembered your husband. And this “salade” has my name written all over it! Eggs and salad (and bacon) are tres magnifique! Glad you shared the how-to =)

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