Katy Sparks

Background Trained at Johnson & Wales in Providence, RI. Worked at The Quilted Giraffe and Mesa Grill, New York City. How she got into cooking After dropping out of Middlebury College, she made soups at a local café. First food memory "Smoked octopus that my father brought back from Chinatown when I was 14." Menu bomb Roasted squab on herb risotto with zucchini blossoms. Ingredient pick Long Island corn. Favorite equipment "I'm not a big equipment person. I keep my knives nice and sharp and use them instead of an industrial chopper." Favorite cookbook Anything written by Patricia Wells. Favorite place to eat Blue Ribbon, New York City. Favorite cocktail Straight-up Beefeater martini with a twist. Most tired trend "Casual American bistros, where the menus seem to be driven by price, not flavor." Secret of her success "My husband, who's the dishwasher at home, would say I'm successful because I use every pot and pan in the kitchen." Favorite 1 A.M. meal "Any kind of pasta; or steak if it was a really hard night at the restaurant." Food vice Bar nuts. Recipe tip Constantly baste filet mignon with melted butter while it's cooking to keep it juicy. Won Best New Chef at: Quilty's, New York (closed)
This bright, buttery succotash by Katy Sparks (BNC 1998) is a perfect summer side dish that comes together in minutes. “My inspiration for this dish is to take a fresh look at an American classic, succotash, which is usually sweet corn cooked together with lima beans or other green beans,” Sparks says. “I like to lighten it up with summery snap peas and add meaty shiitakes for depth of flavor. Fresh basil in the smoked paprika butter elevates the whole recipe to something that pairs wonderfully with anything you want to throw on the grill: chicken, pork, fish, burgers, eggplant, and peppers.” Smear leftover butter on grilled bread, stuff it under chicken skin, or use it punch up the broth for steaming clams or mussels.Related: More Corn Recipes
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A perfect weekday dinner, this dish takes just under 30 minutes to prepare.
Katy Sparks doesn't agree that nursing mothers shouldn't eat spicy foods. But if you want to lower the heat level in this recipe, substitute sweet sausage for the andouille and skip the poblano. Quick Chicken Recipes
The secret to this succulent dish is the marinade, a simple mix of soy sauce, lime juice and ginger. Scoring the flank steak helps the marinade penetrate quickly.Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips
Typically, a fricassee is made with chicken or another kind of white meat stewed in a white sauce with vegetables. For her version, Katy Sparks sizzles chicken in butter until it's crisp, then cooks it with shallots and morels, finishing with lemon for a hit of tartness. Quick Chicken Recipes
Katy Sparks coats her lamb kebabs with a garlicky, salty cumin rub. Leg of lamb is ideal here because it stays juicy and tender during grilling without shredding or falling apart. If you are really short on time, you can skip cutting and skewering the meat and grill the whole steaks for 2 minutes longer.Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips
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Katy Sparks makes sure to use unblemished small fennel bulbs, which are usually more tender than big ones.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips
Katy Sparks loves pairing curry with fruit, as she's done in this unusual recipe for pork with sweet apricots and wilted cabbage. She opts for a mild curry powder instead of the spicier Madras kind, which could overwhelm the other flavors in this dish.
Katy Sparks coats her lamb kebabs with a garlicky, salty cumin rub. Leg of lamb is ideal here because it stays juicy and tender during grilling without shredding or falling apart. If you are really short on time, you can skip cutting and skewering the meat and grill the whole steaks for 2 minutes longer.Plus: More Grilling Recipes and Tips
Katy Sparks makes sure to use unblemished small fennel bulbs, which are usually more tender than big ones.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips
Katy Sparks loves pairing curry with fruit, as she's done in this unusual recipe for pork with sweet apricots and wilted cabbage. She opts for a mild curry powder instead of the spicier Madras kind, which could overwhelm the other flavors in this dish.
Katy Sparks likes to treat tuna steaks like beef. Here, she wraps them in bacon as she would a beef tenderloin, which not only adds a subtle smoky flavor to the fish but also keeps it moist.Plus: More Seafood Recipes and Tips