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.
Why I Picked This Recipe: I was 2 minutes away the other night from making a bowl of spaghetti carbonara for dinner, but a salad sounded like a healthier, better idea. Since this is basically carbonara in salad form, I was sold.
What Worked: Ruhlman's technique, as expected in a book about it, is spot on; I learn more about cooking when cooking Ruhlman's recipes than almost anyone. His tip for poaching eggs—draining each egg before cooking on a perforated spoon to let the wispy, watery part of the white float away—means they'll stay together far better in the water; and starting bacon with water in the pan is a wonderful way to render the fat and achieve both a tender and crisp result (it works especially well with thick-cut pieces).
What Didn't: This is a recipe honed and perfected. Everything worked.
Suggested Tweaks: The type of greens could easily be adapted seasonally; I've been eyeing dandelion greens at the market lately, and they'd work very well.
Adapted from Ruhlman's Twenty..