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Julie's Lyonnaise-inspired Salad with French Mustard Vinaigrette

(courtesy of Julie Conover. Serving size varies depending on your own taste, salad size, and how much dressing you prefer)

This recipe was inspired by Conover's travels in France. She encourages people to make it their own, be brave, and experiment. She also says that her husband was raised on the all-American meat-and-potatoes diet, so salad has never been on his list of dinner favorites — until now.

Dressing

(Conover suggests adding the ingredients to taste)

Whisk together with a fork:

¼ cup olive oil

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Dash hot water

Salt and pepper, to taste

Add, substitute, and experiment with:

Oil (bacon grease, instead of or in addition to)

Vinegar (cider or balsamic for sweeter dressing, or strong German "essig" for "biting" acidity; citrus juice such as lemon, lime, or tangerine could also replace vinegar)

Herbs (Conover suggests tarragon, Italian parsley, or dill — especially if you throw some leftover salmon in the salad)

Greens

The traditional French Lyonnaise salad, on which this is loosely based, is made with frisée, but Conover uses kale, spinach, mixed greens, and/or arugula.

Meat

This salad traditionally is topped with bacon, lardons, or ham, but Conover suggests trying chopped peppered turkey lunchmeat, or leftover grilled chicken, sausage, or salmon.

Vegetables (to use in addition to or instead of meat)

Try grilled asparagus, roasted broccoli, or a favorite of Conover's, TruRoots, a "sprouted bean trio."

Conover loves potatoes in this salad. Try reheating some leftover roasted potatoes, or sauté diced potatoes (or even add mushrooms). For a lighter salad, Conover uses boiled potatoes.

Top the salad with a poached egg, or, if poaching is too much trouble, a fried egg is perfectly acceptable. (Traditionally, the yoke should be soft and runny.)

If using kale, chop it and sprinkle with some of the dressing (or vinegar and oil) and let it sit for a while to relax while you prepare the other ingredients.

Add to the greens dressing, chopped meat, warm potatoes, and whatever else sounds good, toss well, divide onto plates, and top each with an egg.

Presentation

Artistically top with avocado slices, asparagus spears, and/or the egg.

For an autumn seasonal version:

Make the above dressing with pomegranate and tangerine juice, toss kale and/or spinach with pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, Fuyu persimmon slices ("do NOT substitute Hachiya persimmons," says Conover) and feta cheese.

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