Editor’s Picks: Ray Isle’s Favorite F&W Recipes
Deputy wine editor Ray Isle picks his all-time favorite F&W recipes from the past 30 years (at right).
Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Remoulade and Shaved Lemon
These sandwiches are absurdly simply to make and absurdly good to eat. I’ve made them for a host of family members two summers in a row up in Maine, and everyone always asks for the recipe. They always seem surprised when they find out how easy it is.
Mussel and Spinach Bisque
Here’s how you make this bisque. First, make sure you spend part of the summer at a house in Maine that happens to be on the shore, right in front of a huge mussel bed. Second, dragoon about six kids, ages 5 to 11, to spend an hour or two harvesting mussels for you. Get about 16 pounds of mussels, i.e. a very large bucket full. Invite 20 people over; even though the recipe serves ten, you’re going to quadruple it, because it’s so mind-bendingly delicious that everyone will eat twice as much as expected. Trust me on this. Then just follow the directions. Except that to cook the 16 pounds of mussels, you're going to need a lobster boiler. I suggest using the lobster boiler outside, so that you don’t burn down the house.
Syrah Braised Lamb Shoulder
Terrific, do-able, and a great wine dish. I’ve made it several times. Using a big, rich Washington State Syrah to make this lamb gives it a wonderful depth of flavor—also, follow the directions and drink the same wine with the lamb. It’s more fun, plus it makes a great pairing. I’ve made this a couple of times, and it’s a pretty darn foolproof recipe. It’s also a complete crime not to serve it with the Herbed Potato Soufflé side dish below (from the same article), which is possibly even better than the lamb itself.
Herbed Potato Soufflé
This is kind of a pain to make, what with all the whipping, blending and whatnot, so leave yourself more time than you expect to need or else draft a good sous-chef from all those people who are sitting around by the pool drinking wine while you’re slaving away making them dinner (that was my approach). The payoff in terms of flavor is more than worth the effort it takes to make this, in any case.
Apple Cake with Toffee Crust
Out-of-control good. Really. Do not leave yourself alone in a room with this.
Bread Salad with Prosciutto
This is a complexly flavorful salad that happens to be easy to make, and it goes great with red wine (Bordeaux, particularly), which is something that not very many salads do. The little bit of Pernod is a brilliant touch, I think.
Turkey Chili Soup with Hominy
Simple as can be, sustaining and delicious. As we often say on the tasting sheets in the test kitchen, “What’s not to like?”
Endive and Avocado Salad with Tangerine Dressing
I’ve made this two or three times now; it’s particularly good with a robust Mexican main course (I make lamb-and-mushroom mole tacos to go with it—great recipe, but a giant pain in the neck). It’s a great combination of bitter (endive), sweet and tangy (tangerine juice) and rich (avocado). Don’t let it sit before serving, or else the avocados get very slippery.