Chef Tricks Worth Stealing
Borrowing some ingenious chef moves, the F&W test-kitchen team creates extraordinary recipes to make all summer.
There are aha moments almost every day when we're re-creating chef recipes in the F&W Test Kitchen. It might be the smart ingredient a pro uses to baste meat (fresh ginger juice) or the way he or she chooses to add crunch to a salad (savory granola). Here, F&W Test Kitchen cooks Justin Chapple and Kay Chun channel some of their favorite chefs, using tricks and tips gleaned from years of transforming restaurant recipes into crowd-pleasing summer dishes.
"I was so bored of croutons on salads. Then I tasted Justin Smillie's savory granola."
If you needed a reminder, summer is prime time for juicy tomatoes. To dress up summer's very best, F&W's Justin Chapple combines them with lemony ricotta and savory granola for crunch to round out the dish. The granola, which combines toasty oats with pistachios and sunflower seeds, would also be fantastic in any green salad.
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"Basil browns easily, so I copy Yigit Pura and blanch it in simple syrup to keep it bright green."
This is our riff on a classic margarita. We combine white tequila and fresh lime juice with chunks of frozen honeydew melon and a quick, brightly flavored sweet basil puree. While you can make the sweet basil puree ahead of time, it's always best to squeeze the lime juice right before blending the drink, so it retains its fresh flavor.
© Con Poulos © Con Poulos
"Michael Solomonov's secret to insanely tender and caramelized meat: adding onion juice to the marinade."
"Fresh goat cheese tends to clump in salads. But not when I use Ori Menashe's method of freezing the cheese before grating it."
This recipe elevates your typical pasta salad with sweet grilled corn, zucchini and a creamy lime dressing spiked with chile powder. It calls for fresh cilantro to add brightness and then the whole salad is topped with tangy slivers of fresh goat cheese. This is exactly what summer should taste like.
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"Basting meat with ginger juice is my new favorite way to add flavor. I picked up the idea from F&W contributor Andrew Zimmern."
"Grilling thick slabs of watermelon like Michael Psilakis does imparts a smoky flavor that's outstanding with avocado salsa."
"Petter Nilsson brines vegetables, so I gave it a try with okra. It added an extra depth of seasoning that's spot-on—and no extra salt required."
"So smart: Tyler Florence slow-roasts chicken before frying, so he can use superhot oil for an extra-crispy crust."