This traditional warm salad looks stunning but is really simple - great for a summer starter or main course
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Make it your own
Most decent bistros run a variation on the theme of this salad. Other ingredients that are sometimes added and work well are crumbled blue cheese, toasted walnut pieces, pan-fried chicken livers, rounds of black pudding, shredded crispy duck legs, or just cooked green beans.
To get a perfect teardrop shape for their poached eggs, some chefs trim the frilly edges off the cooked egg with kitchen scissors.
Use slightly stale bread to make croutons. I like to use cubes of crustless baguette, but any white bread is fine.
A simple salad like this relies on quality ingredients. Traditionally, the bacon used would be cut off a larger piece into small cubes called ‘lardons’. You can buy packs of pre-cut lardons from supermarkets.
Frisée (sometimes called curly endive) is the traditional lettuce to use as the robust leaves hold their shape and texture even against warm ingredients. If you can’t find it, use a bag of ‘bistro mix’ salad, which normally contains frisée as well as other leaves.