This crisp and refreshing salad is inspired by a traditional French dish called salade Lyonnaise, from the province of Lyon. I’m a salad girl, and I’m known to combine multitudes of items in one big bowl. However, the French have this way of keeping their salads extremely minimal and unadulterated, which I find I can really appreciate. It’s usually made with frisée, poached egg, bacon, and homemade buttered croutons, but I had the urge to prepare something a little lighter this week and included some spring vegetables.
In my opinion, the star of the show in salade Lyonnaise is the perfectly poached egg. The beautifully runny yolk melds with the tangy dressing to create an ethereal taste and richness. So, of course, I had to keep that flavor in my modified version. The egg also provides an easily digestible protein source, which takes the salad from side dish to main course. Eggs contain a complete range of amino acids and are a good source of both vitamins and minerals. Most importantly, they’re a rich source of minerals that can be difficult to find in other foods, namely selenium and iodine. Eggs also contain all the B-complex vitamins, and are exceptionally high in choline, which is attributed to liver protection. Choline also provides structure for cell membranes and is crucial for healthy brain development. All eggs contain these vitamins and minerals, but if you’re lucky enough to have access to true pasture-raised eggs, grab them as fast as you can! The amount of these beneficial nutrients is much higher in eggs from foraging hens than in eggs from caged hens.
I find this salad to be perfect as is, but feel free to jazz it up a little. The above-mentioned bacon and/or homemade golden buttered croutons would always be welcome, but shaved hard cheese, goat cheese crumbles, or other raw or steamed vegetables would make delicious additions as well.
8–12 asparagus spears, cut in thirds
8 leaves butter lettuce or leaf lettuce, torn in bite-sized pieces
1 small bunch frisée, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 small shallot, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
4 large eggs, pasture-raised if possible (I usually make 1 or 2 extra, in case one of the yolks breaks before I want it to)
1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
1. Steam asparagus until crisp-tender. Drain while running under cold water to chill, and then dry. Set aside. Combine the lettuce and frisée pieces in a large bowl. Prepare dressing by whisking together the shallot, oil, vinegar, and mustard. Season well with salt and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, fill a medium-sized pot about halfway with water and bring to a bare simmer. Salt the water once it’s hot. Crack an egg into a small bowl, then carefully slip into the pot. Repeat with remaining eggs. Keeping water just below a simmer, cook eggs until whites are just set and yolk is still very runny, about 4–5 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to carefully lift eggs from the water. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Keep the pot of water on the stove if you want to reheat your eggs just before serving.
3. Toss salad greens, asparagus, and sliced radishes with dressing to coat. Divide among four plates. If you want your eggs hot, gently slip them back into the pot of hot water. You may also serve the eggs warm or at room temperature. Carefully transfer one egg to each salad plate, season with salt and pepper, and break just before serving.
To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:
·chemical- and hormone-free meat
·pastured-raised, organic eggs
·whole, unrefined grains
·virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
·whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
·pure, clean, spring water
·raw and/or cultured milk and cream product