Mixed Salad with a Fried Egg, or Salade composée

This is one of the dishes I have been preparing for ages and would have never thought of posting about if it hadn’t been for the fact that not a single one of my friends or family members makes it. A couple of days ago the Tandoori-Style Salad on Baking Devils’s blog has reminded me I have been planning this post for some time and that warm September days are probably still a good period to write about a nourishing, but light salad.

“Salade composée”  (mixed salad) is not something you will find in standard French cookery books. You also have slim chances of being served it in a French house and in most French restaurants. I first tasted it when a friend took me for lunch in Paris announcing we would go to a very cheap restaurant serving most extraordinary salads. The restaurant was cheap indeed, it served only salads (all based on lettuce), each of them looked very exotic to me for one reason: they all had a fried egg or/and other warm ingredients served on top and were really huge. Since then I have noticed only some cheap, quick, small restaurants serve this kind of salads and you don’t find them in every French city. The only exception is Lyon. “Salade lyonnaise” is very similar (it contains bacon, green leaves, croûtons and poached eggs), but I have already seen it served there with boiled eggs or without eggs.

One day I decided to prepare my own “salade composée” and since then I have prepared hundreds of them, every time different, but every time with two permanent items: lettuce (or other green leaves) and a fried egg. It is healthy, quick, easy and could be called “put-whatever-you-want” salad (but, please, don’t skip the fried egg!). Technically this salad is great fun to eat. First, you serve it in a big bowl, which usually contains the green salad for the whole family. Secondly, everyone has his or her own method and order of eating it. Some start by combining everything with the dressing, others leave the fried egg for the end and have it soaked in the dressing. When served for the first time, people always wonder where to start, which is quite amusing to observe. I always eat a bit of the salad and then break the liquid egg yolk, so that it blends with the salad ingredients and the vinaigrette sauce…

This salad is great for a weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. Apart from the fried egg I also like putting some other warm ingredients, like grilled bacon/sirloin/chorizo or cheese cubes. If you are vegetarian, skip the ham/bacon and put some cheese or tofu for extra proteins (check the Tandoori marinated tofu on Baking Devils, it really sounds amazing). It can be served simply with good bread, but goat cheese toasts are perfect too.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves one):

5 – 7 iceberg or other salad leaves

1 big tomato (I used 5 mini San Marzano tomatoes)

several cucumber slices

1 big slice of ham/grilled sirloin or bacon or any other cold meat (I used smoked and grilled sirloin)

1 egg (or two if you feel very hungry!)

Vinaigrette with mustard:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 heaped teaspoon mustard

3 tablespoons vinegar of your choice (balsamico tastes great here, but I often use rice vinegar)

(chopped chives or other herbs)

salt and pepper

Take a big bowl (for example with 20 cm diameter).

Tear the salad leaves, cut the tomato into pieces, slice the cucumber.

Cut the ham or sirloin into bite-sized pieces.

Arrange the salad, the tomato, the cucumber and the ham in the bowl.

Prepare the salad dressing and pour it over the salad.

Heat a pan and fry an egg.

Put the egg on the top of the salad, sprinkle some salt and pepper over it and, if you have, chopped herbs.

Serve with bread or toast.

34 Replies to “Mixed Salad with a Fried Egg, or Salade composée”

  1. This is an interesting idea. I have never seen such a salad. This reminds me of an egg sandwich I used to eat often before – fried egg, lettuce and tomatoes. Its an excellent combination so I can imagine the taste of the salad. Strange that this salad is not very well known.

    Smoked and grilled sirloin – never come across this either. Now I am wondering where I have been my whole life, so many things I don’t know!

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. I was thrilled when I discovered smoked sirloin in Swiss shops (I know it exists in Germany, but not in France fro example). It’s just like smoked bacon, but leaner. I use it very often instead of smoked bacon to make healthier and low-calorie meals. I grill it in the oven or fry it. Sometimes smoked bacon is unfortunately impossible to replace…

  2. My question is where on earth were you able to find San Marzano tomatoes?! I’ve never seen them – They’re like the tomatoes of the Gods! I have to resort to “acquiring” them from my boss when he orders tins of them from an Italian online retailer!

    Can you remember the name of this restaurant in Paris? I’d be curious to take a look 🙂 Lovely looking, light salad, perfect for days like today when it’s so muggy and humid, and I love the addition of the fried egg (I LOVE fried eggs with the passion of a thousand suns!)

    1. Charles, I buy my mini San Marzano on my Swiss farmers’ market. They sell it half of the year (or more, of course it grows in green houses, but the taste is quite good actually).
      I will look for the restaurant. It was in the XIIIth, but I have no idea what is the name or if it exists… It was many years ago. However, I have had many salades composées in small Parisian restaurants since then… (don’t remember the names though). I also love fried eggs!

  3. Sissi, This indeed looks interesting! We don’t eat salad often, but living in Texas where everything’s bigger, when I do order a salad, they come huge and hearty! Never seen one with a fried egg on top, though it does make sense, I can imagine the liquid yolk blending with the dressing nicely!

    1. Thank you, Jeno. I have already heard that in general in the US every meal is bigger… so can’t even imagine the Texan one. It’s funny, but the fried egg changes the whole salad concept.

  4. I read the ingredient list and thought it’s just a normal egg and ham salad, but then I see you fried the egg, instead of the normal boiled egg! nice twist, and fried eggs just make everything taste more ‘special’ imo. haha gosh i’ve just been typing that into my blog entry actually-‘special’ fried egg- but yes, have always liked a sunny side up over toast, over rice, over noodles, so why not salad? yum!

    1. Thank you, Shuhan. I have just seen you Nasi Goreng. It’s funny we both have fried eggs on our blogs at the same time 🙂

  5. I love when salads are so filling. This is a great one. I love the ham in there, and nothing like yolk running down from a fried egg.

  6. I love simple salad and eat it every single day either lunch or dinner. How come I never think of making friend eggs instead of boiled eggs! You know, egg is my favorite topping for salad. It sucks up dressing and oh I just love it so much. I sometimes have no time to make boiled eggs, but now thanks to you, I don’t have to give up, fried eggs!!!! Genius Sissi! Happy Friday and weekend!

    1. Thank you, Nami for “genius” 😉 I am happy you like this idea. A fried egg does better than soaking up the dressing: it mixes with the dressing. Actually it reminds me a bit of what I have heard the Japanese do: mixing food with raw yolk (this one is not raw, but still liquid). Have a great time with your friend!

  7. Very neat. I have had variations of boiled egg in salads (nicoise, etc.) but not fried egg, so you’re right, this is unique I suspect to many of us. I love the idea of mixing the salad vinaigrette with the egg and other warming foods – possibly maple beans… mmm… you can’t see me, but I am beginning to levitate with excitement. Thanks Sissi.

    1. Thank you so much Kelly! It’s funny how a fried egg changes everything… I still remember how surprised I was the first time I saw this type of salad.
      Maple beans??? I have never heard about it!

    1. Thank you, Clarkie. Unfortunately, a fried egg might not be adapted to be mixed with berries and meats, but it has many other qualities.

  8. This is a beautiful salad, Sissi! If that is in front of me, I will be staring at it for a long time before eating it or maybe not eat it and just stare. Hahaha! Seriously, it’s gorgeous!

    Have a great week ahead, Sissi!

    ~ ray ~

    1. Thank you so much, Ray! It does have lots of colours, but it wouldn’t be as cute without the fried egg’s sunny side 🙂 Have a great Sunday!

  9. i have never heard of this salad before but I’d love to have it for my brunch.bet it tastes yummylicious!
    It reminds me of one of my favorite brunch meals (back when I used to eat eggs) – 2 slices of toast, some greens, sliced tomatoes and a poached egg.

  10. Smoked beef sirloin is definitely interesting and I’m not even sure if I can get it here in Sydney. Will have to check with my gourmet butcher, I’m curious now 🙂 Love a runny egg yolk like that too!

    1. Thank you! I think any smoked col meat will taste great with fried egg. I used smoked sirloin instead of bacon just to make it slightly healthier and low-calorie. I suppose crunchy smoked bacon tastes even better!

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