Wine-friendly salads: Denise’s Bistrot Salad Recipe

bistrot salad with wine

Bistrot salad recipe – another YUM wine-friendly salad from Denise!

For this recipe, we follow Denise’s wine-friendly salad formula for a fantastic bistrot salad recipe that pairs oh-so-well with a single vineyard Barbaresco!

Get your protein and fat two ways: bacon and a soft-boiled egg! Of course, the bacon is optional. And, the parmesan cheese adds another bit of protein and fat.

And, get started with The Castello’s House Vinaigrette recipe for your base.

The Castello's House Vinaigrette (maybe the best vinaigrette recipe EVER)
This makes a pint and a half or so of vinaigrette - a perfect amount to always be ready when you are in the mood for a salad. Make different variations and flavors by simply taking the amount you need, then adding any variety of flavors. 
Add a couple of tablespoons of finely chopped fresh herbs, or pesto, a little soy, and sesame oil. One of my favorites: pureè a quarter of a fresh mango and a little more dijon with shrimp or lobster. 
Having the base vinaigrette makes things fast, easy, and convenient. The base lasts up to 10 days without separating. It is still perfectly good when it separates -- bring it back to a creamy emulsion by blending again with the emersion blender and adding another teaspoon or so of dijon mustard.
One last note, I always add two kinds of acid because it makes a more complex vinaigrette and also lessens the bite a bit of red wine vinegar, which better helps you pair your salad with wine.
Check out this recipe

Read on for the salad wine pairing notes after the recipe.

Bistrot Salad

Garden greens, vegetables with bacon, 6-minute egg, garlic whole-grain croutons, and parmesan shards. Dressing: Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette.
My personal riff on the famous french bistrot salad of Frissè lettuce, poached egg, and lardons. The salad's pedigree intends it to be drunk with a hearty red wine. Be sure you use heartier but not too delicate, lettuces. The 6-minute egg replaces the poached egg. Fast, easy, and every bit as wonderful. Be sure to use thick meaty bacon, but regular old slices work nicely, too. I love the chew and heft of whole-grain croutons but use whatever you have, just make sure you make them yourself, the boxed kind just don’t cut it here.
Author: Denise Pardini, Hotel Castello di Sinio


Bistrot Salad

  • 2 handfuls various hearty lettuces per person, or more
  • 1 cup approx of green veg such as green beans, broccoli, zucchini cooked and cooled (optional)
  • 2 or 3 rashers thick-sliced bacon per person, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • 1 egg per person
  • ½ cup approx homemade garlic croutons per person

Red Wine Shallot Vinaigrette

  • cup very good quality Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 TBS dijon-style mustard
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Few grinds of ground black pepper
  • 1⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil


Make the vinaigrette

  • Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a blender. Leave the shallot whole, just drop it in with everything else. Blend on med-low until all the ingredients are mixed well and the sugar and salt are dissolved. With the blender continuing to run, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady slow stream. Halfway through adding the oil, increase the speed of the blender, and finish streaming in the oil. It should be nicely emulsified and fairly thick. Taste with a lettuce leaf to makes sure the vinaigrette is balanced. It should have a little spark but not too much. 

Make the croutons

  • Cut or tear a piece per person of hearty country-style bread, ideally a whole grain artisan type. Put the bread pieces in a bowl and drizzle over extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and ½ tsp of garlic powder. In a small frying pan on medium heat, toast the bread pieces, turning and stirring often until the bread crisps. Alternatively, bake the bread pieces in a 350° F / 175° C oven for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check often, stirring to toast evenly.


  • Cut the bacon in 1-inch pieces and cook in a medium frying pan until crispy.

6-minute egg

  • Bring a small pan of water to the boil. Prepare an ice bath of 50/50 ice and cold water, set aside. Prick the eggs on the pointed end with a pin. When the water comes to a boil, carefully lower the eggs into the water. Set a timer for 6 minutes. Keep water at a low delicate boil so the eggs don’t roll around violently and crack. When done, put the eggs in the ice bath for 5 minutes. Then remove and peel carefully.

Parmesan shards

  • With a vegetable peeler, make parmesan swirls, cutting either along the long or short side of the cheese, as you prefer.

Plate the salad

  • Put the greens and vegetables in a large bowl and toss with about 2 spoonfuls of vinaigrette per person. Pile the dressed greens on large dinner plates. Place a 6-minute egg in the middle of the greens. Divide the bacon, croutons, and parmesan shards evenly between the salads, sprinkling each element around on the greens. Finish with the parmesan shards. 
     Pour a lovely and hearty glass of red wine and enjoy!


Copyright Denise Pardini 2008 - 2020,

Bistrot salad recipe wine pairing

Ada Nada Barbaresco DOCG Rombone 2011

Denise selected a top Barbaresco cru with some age to showcase ingredients to use to pair wine with salad. Don’t be scared to try those heftier wines – Brunello, Bordeaux, even Barolo! Follow Denise’s foolproof plan and you’ll have a salad to pair with your wine in a snap.

How to make a wine-friendly Salad

The key to pairing wine with salad is protein and fat; it’s all about balancing the acidity in the dressing. Buon appetito!

pairing wine with salad

Keep in touch!

Denise and I had so much fun with the salads, we decided we are going to make this an ongoing feature, so expect one or two new salad recipes (and, wine pairing ideas!) a month, so if you like these, check back in! If you have some salad requests, drop us a note! We always like to get creative – with salad and wine!

And, subscribe to Girl’s Gotta Drink for monthly updates and special offers (subscribe in the upper right sidebar.)

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