Chickpeas are your ticket to a straightforward and satisfying chopped salad.
Our hearty, chickpea-centric chopped salad began with zapping the chickpeas in the microwave to dry out their plump interiors and rupture their exteriors. Then, pan-frying the slightly dehydrated legumes caused their papery skins to blister and crackle while their dense insides puffed and crisped. We tossed the crunchy chickpeas with a zippy spice mix and set them aside to cool before scattering them atop a salad of arugula, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, sweet-hot Peppadew peppers, and salty-rich feta. A gutsy honey-Dijon vinaigrette finished things off with sweetness and tang.
Crispy tofu takes the place of chicken in this vegetarian version of katsu.
We wanted a crispy tofu version of a Japanese favorite often made with crunchy chicken. To complement the crispy fried tofu, we served the tofu with a light cabbage salad with scallions and lemon. In order to help season the tofu breading, we add soy sauce to our egg and flour dredging mixture. For our coating and panko to stick, we pat our tofu cubes dry before breading and shallow frying them in a nonstick skillet. After just 3 minutes per side our tofu was perfectly golden and crunchy. For ease, we used bottled tonkatsu sauce to drizzle over our tofu just before serving.
What Does the Word “Heirloom” Really Mean?
No, it doesn’t just mean “expensive.”
For sweet potato fries that were impressively crispy, we gave them a boost of starch.
Despite their namesake, sweet potatoes have little in common with russet potatoes—arguably the ideal potato variety for making french fries. To compensate for sweet potatoes’ lack of sufficient starch, we coated thick-cut sweet potato wedges with a cornstarch slurry that quickly turned crispy when fried. To ensure well-seasoned creamy, sweet interiors, we first treated the sweet potatoes to a blanch in water spiked with salt. Adding baking soda to the blanching water caused the potatoes’ exteriors to turn mushy and slough into the slurry, creating a more substantial, pleasingly orange crust. To limit sticking and cut down drastically on frying oil, we switched from frying in a Dutch oven to a 12-inch nonstick skillet. Finally (and optionally), we ditched commonplace supersweet ketchup in favor of an easy spicy, creamy fry sauce for serving.
Eggs poached in a spicy sauce is equally as good for a meatless supper as it is for breakfast.
There were moments in our quest to perfect this popular Italian American dish when we weren’t sure we’d find our way out. We let the sauce thicken slightly and then take the pan off the heat. Before adding the eggs to the pan one at a time, we use a rubber spatula to clear 2-inch-long wells in the sauce to hold the eggs (exposing the skillet bottom). To evenly fit all eight eggs in the pan, we place seven eggs around the perimeter of the pan and one in the middle. Covering the skillet and cooking the eggs over medium heat helps start setting the whites; then, a flash of enveloping heat from the oven finishes the whites while leaving the yolks silky.
Soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce add plenty of flavor to tender baby bok choy.
When preparing baby bok choy, two main issues arise: cleaning the notoriously dirty vegetables and getting the stalks to achieve a perfectly tender-crisp texture before the leaves get too limp. Unlike mature bok choy, which is often chopped into small pieces for cooking, part of the allure of baby bok choy is showcasing its diminutive size. In this recipe, we struck a balance by cutting the bok choy in half lengthwise; this provided access to the areas where most of the dirt and grit typically hide so we could thoroughly clean them, and it helped the vegetables cook more evenly than if they were left whole. An initial stint of steaming gave the stems the head start they needed to soften slightly before sautéing. A mixture of soy and chili-garlic sauces formed the base of a salty and mildly spicy sauce.
Meticulously crafted crystal shrimp dumplings are one of the great joys of a dim sum feast.
A semisheer wrapper allows a hazy glimpse of the blush-pink mixture that rests inside. Its tacky surface clings lightly to the bamboo steamer and your chopsticks, momentarily prolonging the anticipation. Then you pop it in your mouth: At first, the dumpling resists your chew, but it soon gives way, baring a pristine, delicately sweet, juicy shrimp filling. This is har gow, a “small, small bite,” per Sarah Leung, writer for the authoritative The Woks of Life blog, who classifies each dumpling as “its own experience” with “its own interplay of texture and taste.” On a video call, Leung went so far as to say that the one-bite treasures are “emblematic of dim sum.”
What’s the Best Way to Clean (and Deodorize) a Reusable Food Storage Bag?
You’ve bought the bags, now here’s how to take care of them.
You don't need hours to reap the benefits of yeast in these waffles.
We wanted yeasty, truly light and crispy waffles that could be made in less than an hour. Though most recipes for yeasted waffles require extended rise times, we found that using a combination of yeast and baking powder and letting the batter rise for just 10 minutes resulted in superairy waffles. Warming the milk before combining it with the yeast and sugar jump-started the yeast's activity, while whisking the batter fully until mostly smooth (rather than leaving it lumpy) developed just enough gluten to help it hold on to pockets of air. Finally, following the visual cues and cooking the waffles until they were crisp and golden, rather than following the waffle maker's indicators for doneness, gave us perfectly cooked waffles every time.
Butternut squash puree transforms polenta into a nutritious and delicious side dish.
Butternut squash puree transforms polenta into a nutritious side dish while enhancing its rustic appeal. How much squash could we add without overpowering polenta's texture and sweet corn flavor? Turns out, for 1 cup of cornmeal, a whole small squash was perfect. Roasting squash halves and scooping out the creamy flesh kept the process unfussy. For fluffy, creamy polenta, we added a pinch of baking soda, which encouraged the grains to release their starches for a silky consistency with minimal stirring. To round out the flavor, we cooked the polenta with fresh sage and a pinch of nutmeg, then finished with a bit of Parmesan.
Shred vegetables, mix into batter, fry—could crispy fritters really be that easy?
For more-flavorful fritters, we tested a number of vegetable options and settled on a mix of shredded zucchini, shredded carrot, sliced red bell pepper, and thinly sliced onion. We found that we needed only 3 cups of vegetables to make 12 fritters. For the thick batter, we combined equal parts flour and cornstarch plus seltzer and baking powder so the fritters would be shatteringly crispy. We added salt to the vegetable batter just before frying so it didn’t draw water out of the prepared vegetables and interfere with crispiness. We carefully monitored the temperature of the shallow oil we used to fry the fritters, turning off the burner between batches to keep the oil from overheating and to ensure that each batch came out deep golden brown, lacy, and crispy. And finally, we whipped up a creamy, bright horseradish mayonnaise to complement the crunchy fritters.
Many modern versions of this comforting classic add too many frills. We bring it back to basics.
This Carolina classic is famous for its tender shrimp, silky gravy, and creamy grits. To control the cooking of the shrimp, we parcook them in rendered bacon fat. This gives them a head start without cooking them through to rubbery right away. We set them aside while creating a light gravy of flavorful (and quick) shrimp stock, bacon, garlic, lemon, and Tabasco; we then finish cooking the shrimp directly in the gravy. We found that toasting the grits before adding liquid helps bring out the most corn flavor. Chopped scallions finish the dish with a jolt of freshness.
The Art of Indonesian Beef Rendang
West Sumatra’s tradition of slowly cooking and browning beef with coconut milk and vibrant aromatics until caramelized delivers a braise unlike any other.
A triple-chocolate cookie should be rich and intense, but it shouldn't be death by chocolate.
The classic triple-chocolate cookie combines unsweetened, bittersweet, and semisweet chocolates. Balance is key in these soft and chewy cookies. They should be packed with serious chocolate flavor, but shouldn’t be a case of death by chocolate. The unsweetened chocolate adds intense, earthy chocolate flavor; the bittersweet chocolate adds a sophisticated, rich chocolate flavor; and the semisweet balances the two more bitter chocolates. With more than a pound of chocolate in the recipe, the methods we typically use for cookies and brownies produced cookies that were too wet and didn’t hold their shape. We got the best results by beating the eggs and sugar together until fluffy, then adding the melted chocolate and mixing in the dry ingredients last. Beating the eggs and sugar for a few minutes gave the batter more structure and resulted in cookies with a pleasantly crisp, meringue-like shell. Premium bittersweet bar chocolates were too rich (and too greasy) for this recipe. Melted bittersweet chocolate chips, which contain less fat than chocolate bars, worked much better. They improved the batter by making it less fluid, yet also added the same grown-up, not-too-sweet flavor as more expensive bar chocolates. We also added a little coffee powder and vanilla to bolster the chocolate flavor. The cookies retain their fudgy texture when cooled directly on the baking sheet, rather than on a baking rack.
Against all odds, our Ranch Fried Chicken has both super-crunchy texture and herby flavor.
Classic American ranch dressing herbs and seasonings appear in three components of the recipe—the buttermilk coating, the flour coating, and the ranch dipping sauce—to pack summer flavors into this fried chicken. We wanted to get the fresh, tangy flavor of ranch dressing into a coating for fried chicken. But the herbs that give ranch its flavor quickly lost their taste in hot oil. We swapped in thinner boneless chicken thighs for the usual bone-in chicken pieces. Using boneless thighs ensures juicy meat without the hour-long brining process and the thighs needed much less time to cook through, so the herbs didn't spend as much time in the oil. We also incorporated the herbs in the buttermilk mixture and the flour coating for the chicken, as well as in a creamy dipping sauce.
Making shrimp in a hot cast-iron skillet results in tender shrimp ready to pair with a nutty sauce.
Pan-searing shrimp often results in shrimp that are either dry and flavorless or pale and gummy. We wanted shrimp that were well caramelized but still moist, sweet, and tender. Brining peeled shrimp inhibited browning, so instead we seasoned them with a flavorful mixture of paprika, salt, pepper, cayenne, and sugar, which brought out their natural sweetness and aided in browning. We cooked the shrimp in batches in a large, piping-hot cast-iron skillet. The cast iron's great heat retention helped us get perfectly even browning all over the shrimp. To accompany the shrimp, we created a batch of quick, classic Spanish romesco, which is made with roasted red peppers and traditionally served with fish. We started with a base of extra-virgin olive oil, hearty sandwich bread, and almonds, which we toasted for added richness and texture. To keep things simple, we skipped roasting our own red peppers and stuck with boldly flavored jarred roasted red peppers.