On the calendar, summer is moving into fall. On the thermometer, not so much. Theoretically, we are all ready for soups and stews and pumpkin everything. But really? It’s still over 90 degrees outside here. So a hearty cold meal is still very much welcome, but one with some substance and depth. I turn here to my new favorite easy entertaining option – the platter salad. With one nice sized platter or board and a little effort, you can create a stunning display that is sure to impress – and satisfy – anyone you serve it to. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of my Buttermilk Cobb Saladand the Margarita Shrimp Salad Platter, so I am forever looking for new versions.
I turn here to a lovely version of a classic Lyonnaise Salad. I’ll be honest, I don’t order salads at restaurants very often, because I generally feel like I can do that at home. But one place here in town has a Lyonnaise salad I am happy to order. The classic Salade Lyonnaise is frilly frisee lettuce topped with bacon lardons and a poached egg with a warm vinaigrette, so I am definitely off book. The green beans and potatoes come from the version I order at the local bistro – they add some heft to a simple salad, making it a full meal. Roasting the shallots makes for a rich vinaigrette with a hint of caramelized sweetness and a gentle tang. Elements of the salad can be made a day ahead, others hours ahead, so it just needs to be attractively assembled before serving.
Lyonnaise Style Salad Platter
For the Roasted Shallot Vinaigrette:
1 cup olive oil, plus a bit more
1 tablespoon Dijon
1 Tablespoon herb leaves – tarragon, basil, oregano
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup champagne vinegar
Salt and pepper
For the Salad:
1 pound small red new potatoes
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 pound of fresh green beans
4 large eggs
8 strips of thick cut bacon
1 generous head of frisee lettuce or curly romaine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Dressing:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Peel the shallots and cut each blub in half. Lightly coat with olive oil and roast for about 25 minutes, until the shallots are soft and browned in places. Place the shallots, herbs, mustard, honey and vinegar in the carafe of a blender and blend until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The dressing can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 days. Shake or whisk well until the dressing is creamy before use.
For the salad:
Add the salt and vinegar to a large pot of water and bring to the boil. Drop in the potatoes and cook until tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. Drain well and leave to cool. The cooked potatoes can be kept covered in the fridge for a day. Before assembling the salad, cut the potatoes into wedges.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, and fill a large bowl or sink with ice water. When the water is boiling, drop in the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and plunge them into the ice water to stop cooking. When the beans are cold in the water remove them to a tea towel to air dry. The beans can be cooked up to a day ahead and refrigerated in a ziptop bag.
Place the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then cook the eggs for 7 minutes. Fill a bowl with ice cubes and water, and when the 7 minutes is up, remove the eggs to the ice water and leave until cool. Peel the eggs, rinse off any shell bits and pat dry with paper towels. This can be done several hours ahead with the peeled eggs kept in the fridge in a ziptop bag. Before assembling, cut the eggs into wedges.
Cook the bacon strips until very crispy. Drain on paper towels, patting off as much grease as possible. Leave to cool, then chop into small pieces. This can be done several hours in advance.
Wash and dry the lettuce, and cover the bottom of a large platter with the leaves. Arrange the potato wedges, green beans, eggs and bacon on top. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the eggs, potatoes, and beans. Put the vinaigrette in a small pitcher or bowl and serve on the side for dinners to drizzle over their portions.
Serves 4- 6