The Lyonnaise Salad is a classic combination featuring aggressively flavored greens (frisee is traditional), crisp-tender bacon, a vinaigrette made from the bacon fat, plenty of black pepper, and a soft poached egg. As salads go, it sounds pretty decadent—and delicious. This version from Michael Ruhlman's fantastic recent cookbook Ruhlman's Twenty uses peppery arugula for the greens.
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Read the title of this post, and you could be forgiven for yawning slightly, even if you recognize the brilliant simplicity of a wine-shallot sauce. Take a look at the picture, however, and you can see that something else is going on. This recipe Ruhlman's Twenty, also works in a beurre manié, a kneaded butter and flour mixture that thickens up the sauce and lends the white and creamy color.
Even with all of the rich ingredients that goes into baked mac and cheese, more often than not, there is something about the final dish that is bland. Somehow the sharpness of the cheese gets buried in the bechamel base, resulting in a side that's rich in texture but lacking the rich flavor we're looking for. To counter this blandness, Ruhlman has turned the bechamel base into an oniony soubise for this Mac and Cheese with Soubise, a baked mac and cheese that is never wanting for deeply warm, cheesiness.
This recipe for Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes incorporates a few easy but game changing elements. First off is the potato cooking method. Instead of aggressively boiling, Ruhlman opts for a gentle simmer on medium-low heat; this way the exterior doesn't disintegrate into the cooking water. The potatoes are then drained and left aside for their steam to release, therefore drying out the potatoes slightly and making for a fluffier mash. The final element added to this amazing mash—and the one that sets it apart—is brown butter, with all its caramelly, nutty flavor. Incorporating brown butter into mashed potatoes gives them an added element of richness in a way that is both nearly effortless but totally elegant. This is of those recipes that will certainly change the way you think about humble mashed potatoes from here on out.
In his latest cookbook, Michael Ruhlman has included a dressing model that every home cook should try: Lemon-Pepper Vinaigrette, Two Ways. It's a tangy dressing made from lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Parmigiano, and pepper that can be whisked up in just a few minutes or transformed into a stand up Caesar with the addition of an egg yolk and a few anchovies. It's the sort of light, lemony dressing that gently coats leaves of crisp romaine perfectly, making for a salad that acts at a simple, bright palate awakener, and of course, a brilliant accompaniment to Ruhlman's Perfect Roast Chicken.
[Photographs: Chichi Wang] Compared to chicken, turkey gizzards are gargantuan. One turkey gizzard fits snugly in the palm of my hand. Around Thanksgiving, most stray gizzards are marshaled into the gravy. Being an offal lover, I'd rather eat the components...