For the dressing

For the eggs

  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 eggs, as fresh as they can possibly be


  • STEP 1

    Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan, then add the bacon and garlic. Sizzle for about 15 mins until the bacon is crisp and brown, then scoop it out with a slotted spoon into a bowl, leaving the garlic and bacon fat in the pan. Throw the bread into the pan and toss in the bacon fat, adding the remaining oil if the pan is dry. Fry the croutons for 5 mins on a low heat, tossing occasionally until golden and crisp, then remove pan from heat.

  • STEP 2

    While the croutons are frying, make the dressing. Whisk the chopped shallot, vinegar, mustard and 1 tbsp water in a small bowl. add the oil gradually to make a thick dressing, season, then set aside. Cut away and keep the lighter lettuce leaves and wash if needed, discarding any of the tough outer leaves.

  • STEP 3

    When all of your ingredients are ready, bring a pan of water to a gentle boil and add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into small bowls then gently lower into the water and poach for 3 mins exactly. Line a plate with kitchen paper and use a slotted spoon to lift the eggs onto the plate (see tip).

  • STEP 4

    Tip most of the croutons, lardons, all the leaves and two-thirds of the dressing into a salad bowl and toss well. Pile the salad high into the middle of two plates and arrange the remaining croutons and lardons around the side of the plates with the shallot rings. Drizzle the rest of the dressing around the outside and, just before serving, top each plate of salad with an egg, then season it.


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.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, July 2011

Goes well with


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