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.
With one taste of this hearty dish, you'll understand why farro-based grain bowls are so popular.
For the base of our satisfying grain bowl we use farro. It is a nutty, whole grain that delivers incredible chew and structure without an overpowering taste on its own. We toss the hot cooked farro with a vinaigrette and let it sit to soak up all that flavor while sautéing some mushrooms. Alongside the mushrooms we add to the bowl shaved carrot ribbons, 4 cups of baby spinach, and top the entire thing with crumbled goat cheese. This vegetarian lunch serves 4 (or gives you 3 servings of leftovers) and comes together in just 30 minutes for a simple weekday pick-you-up.
It's time to make this luscious apple-y sauce and drizzle it on cheesecake and other desserts.
At first glance, this may look like a simple, familiar caramel sauce, but it isn't. An unexpected ingredient, Basque cider (known as sagardoa), gave this sauce bright, tangy, slightly funky notes and undefinable complexity. We were inspired by a sauce made by Chef Ana Rodríguez at La Cuchara de San Telmo in the city of Donostia-San Sebastián, Basque Country, Spain. We love it drizzled over a hefty slice of our La Viña–Style Cheesecake.
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This spin on beef and broccoli swaps out the steak for flavor-packed meatballs.
We used 90 percent lean ground beef to avoid greasy meatballs, and we used extra bread crumbs as a binder to keep the juices contained, not leaking out onto the baking sheet. To keep this dinner as easy on the cleanup side as possible, we only use one baking sheet and one bowl. To roast the broccoli and the meatballs, we put each on one half of the baking sheet until the meatballs register 160 degrees and broccoli is crisp-tender. At that time, we brush a hoisin glaze over the meatballs and return the sheet to the oven to bubble and broil the meatball tops and brown the broccoli.
Here's how to get flavor-packed Cantonese-style barbecued ribs in two hours.
Chinese-style barbecued ribs are usually marinated for several hours and then slow-roasted and basted repeatedly to build up a thick crust. For a faster version, we cut the ribs into individual pieces (to speed cooking and create more surface area) and then braised them in a highly seasoned liquid, which helped the flavor penetrate thoroughly and quickly. Then we strained, defatted, and reduced the braising liquid to make a full-bodied glaze in which we tossed the ribs before roasting them on a rack in a hot oven to color and crisp their exteriors.
After a trip to East Harlem, we re-created the bodega classic chopped cheese sandwich at home.
There's nothing like a real bodega chopped cheese sandwich—packed with ground beef and American cheese—straight off a flat-top griddle in East Harlem. But not wanting to travel to New York City every time the craving hit, we developed our own recipe, which was inspired by the version sold at Blue Sky Deli in East Harlem. We started with 1 pound of 85 percent lean ground beef, enough to pack four soft sub rolls. Cooking the meat in a nonstick skillet and breaking it up with a wooden spoon mimicked the texture of the meat we ate in New York. Lawry's Seasoned Salt and Goya Adobo All Purpose Seasoning packed in tons of flavor. Wrapping the warm, assembled sandwiches tightly in parchment paper swaddled the cheese and beef to help the filling meld.
This rib-sticking soup is just what the doctor ordered. (Grilled cheese sold separately.)
This tomato soup fits the bill when you want something wholesome to eat: It's simple, comforting, and nourishing. And unlike some tomato soup recipes that call for sugar to enhance the natural sweetness of tomatoes, this hearty version relies on a harmonious mix of vegetables for its sweet notes. We started the flavorful soup base by sautéing carrot, onion, fennel, and garlic until the vegetables were slightly softened and lightly browned, and then we added the mixture to the slow cooker. Next, we stirred in drained cannellini beans; chicken (or vegetable) broth; canned crushed tomatoes; and a sprinkle of slightly minty, floral dried thyme. We didn't rinse the beans, as the starchy liquid clinging to them helped give the soup body. After the vegetables had fully softened and the flavors had mingled in the slow cooker, we pureed a measured amount of beans and vegetables with a measured amount of the liquid to create a velvety consistency without the need for flour, ground bread, or heavy cream (keeping this soup gluten- and dairy-free). For a spectacular savory finish, we drizzled the soup with an aromatic kalamata-fennel oil. To make it, we combined olive oil, chopped kalamata olives, ground fennel, and red pepper flakes in a bowl; microwaved the mixture until it was fragrant; and let it steep before we stirred in minced fresh parsley.
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This irresistible crunchewy dish was inspired by the Laotian rice salad called nam khao.
Nam khao is a popular Laotian rice salad featuring a plethora of contrasting flavors and textures: crunchy and soft, tangy and salty, spicy and sweet, nutty and herbal. Traditionally, the dish features rice balls deep-fried until they develop a crunchy crust, an appealing contrast to their soft, chewy interior. The balls are broken into pieces and tossed with fermented pork sausage, fresh herbs, peanuts, and a citrusy-spicy dressing. Instead of forming the rice into balls, our homage has you fry half of the cooked rice in clusters until they're light golden and crisp throughout. This creates a rougher surface with crunchier nooks and crannies. Tossing this fried rice with the remaining cooked rice creates an irresistible crunchewy quality.
This light, punchy vegetable side dish comes together in minutes.
For this Greek-inspired side dish, we wanted chickpeas tossed with a tangle of wilted spinach in a vibrant lemon-and-dill-flavored broth. We started by heating sliced garlic and red pepper flakes in olive oil to infuse the oil with savory, spicy flavor. Canned chickpeas were the obvious choice to keep the dish weeknight-friendly. Baby spinach proved easier to work with than curly-leaf spinach, as it didn't require any stemming or chopping. A little chicken broth provided a savory backbone that tied the dish together. The last trick was not draining one of the cans of chickpeas; the starchy chickpea liquid added body to the broth, giving it a subtle creaminess. Before serving, we spritzed the dish with lemon and sprinkled in a hefty ¼ cup of fresh dill.
We simplified this classic comfort food by using a cast-iron skillet.
Despite its status as a classic comfort food, there's nothing comforting about the many steps and piles of dirty dishes that shepherd's pie usually requires. Using the cast-iron skillet as our sautéing, baking, and serving pan streamlined the process. We used ground beef as our base and added tomato paste, garlic, and thyme to bump up the flavor. Flour, chicken broth, and Worcestershire sauce were all that we needed to create a rich gravy, and a final addition of green peas added a pop of freshness. To give our potato topping needed structure, we added egg, milk, and butter. We used a zipper-lock bag to pipe the potato mixture on top of the pie and finished the dish under the broiler to give it an attractive golden crust.
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We were inspired by the flavors of Provence for this herby and citrus Instant Pot chicken soup.
The Instant Pot made quick work of creating a substantial broth by extracting body-building gelatin from convenient bone-in, skin-on chicken parts. Just 20 minutes under pressure were enough to ensure the meat was moist and tender. We shredded the chicken (discarding the now-flavorless bones and skin) and added it back to the pot, along with some green olives, minced fennel fronds, and a teaspoon of orange zest to brighten the soup up. The anchovies boosted the savoriness of the soup without making it taste fishy.
Why eat a blueberry muffin when you can have a fluffy, buttery blueberry biscuit instead?
Inspired by the Bo-Berry Biscuits at Bojangles, the Southern fast-food chain, we set out to create our own recipe for blueberry biscuits. We wanted to be careful to keep these in the realm of flaky biscuits, and that meant keeping their sweetness in check so that they didn't eat like a cake or muffin. We were after the delicious sweet and slightly salty flavor of the fast-food biscuits, but of course we wanted to use real blueberries. We started by mixing together all-purpose flour, a little sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then we smashed in some chilled butter with our fingertips, a step that gives biscuits their signature flaky interior crumb; the large pieces of butter melt in the oven and produce steam that helps create a light texture. Finally, we folded in tangy buttermilk and plenty of fresh blueberries. To avoid dirtying the kitchen counter and rolling and stamping out biscuits, we used our “pat-in-the-pan” biscuit method to shape the dough. This method calls for pressing the biscuit dough into an 8-inch square baking pan and cutting it into squares instead of traditional circles. After baking the biscuits, we brushed them with a lightly salted honey butter while they were still hot.
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