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..
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
- 2 large shallots, sliced
- 8 ounces arugula
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil for the eggs.
In a medium (10-inch) skillet over high heat, heat the bacon with 1/4 cup water. Once the water is evaporated, lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the bacon until it’s beginning to crisp.
Add the shallot to the bacon and cook until it’s wilted and translucent and the bacon is crisp, about 3 minutes more.
Put the arugula in a salad bowl and spoon the bacon-shallot mixture over the greens (you may want to leave some fat behind, depending on how much there is in the pan and the quantity of greens). Toss together to evenly coat.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into individual small bowls or ramekins. Lower the water to a simmer and carefully add the eggs one at a time. Cook gently until the white is completely set but the yolk is still runny, 3-4 minutes.
Sprinkle the arugula with the vinegar (start with less and add to taste). Season with salt and pepper and divide amongst plates or bowls. Top with poached eggs and serve immediately.