17 Classics to Master
Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche
This high-rising version, which is adapted from a recipe in Thomas Keller's Bouchon cookbook, just might be the perfect one, and it's well worth the time it takes to prepare. Layering the sautéed mushrooms and shredded cheese ensures that they're nicely distributed throughout the silky egg custard. This is a great recipe for weekend guests.
This classic Provençal seafood stew is loaded with clams, lobster and fish in a broth delicately flavored with fennel and pastis, a licorice-flavored aperitif. "There are no real rules to this dish except to use what's fresh," chef Ethan Stowell says. Make or buy a good fish stock and add different seafood at different times, so nothing is under- or overcooked (clams go in first; snapper and halibut go in last). The rouille, a sauce made with cayenne, garlic, bread crumbs and olive oil, is the perfect finishing touch.
Roast Chicken with Aromatic Jus
Everybody should memorize a perfect roast chicken recipe, and this is our favorite one yet.
Potato Gnocchi with Mushroom Ragù
Richard Betts is an avid mushroom forager: "Mushrooms are a great expression of terroir, just like wine is." Using a recipe from Jennifer Biesty, a contestant on Top Chef, he sautés them with garlic to top his plump, intensely potatoey gnocchi.
Pan-Roasted Salmon with Tomato Vinaigrette
Grape tomatoes sautéed with capers, shallot and cumin form a bright, chunky sauce for seared salmon. The recipe is from Ted Allen's cookbook, The Food You Want to Eat.
Beef Tenderloin Steaks with Celery Root Gratin
Wine bar owner-chef William Abitbol substitutes nutty celery root for potato in his riff on a classic creamy gratin. He serves it with his tenderloin steaks topped with a rich pan sauce.
Honey-Tamarind Baby Back Ribs
Naturally tart tamarind keeps the honey-based barbecue sauce from becoming too sweet for the luscious, slow-cooked ribs. Opt for dark, runny tamarind concentrate instead of tamarind pulp, which needs to be soaked and strained before using; it's available at Asian markets.
Cassoulet with Duck Confit
Chef Laurence Jossel created this stripped-down version of the classic French stew, with creamy white beans, luscious store-bought duck confit, smoky French garlic sausage and slab bacon. Letting the beans rest overnight develops their flavors.
Braised Lamb with Herb-Scented Jus
Chef David Mawhinny serves this tender braised leg of lamb at dinner parties. He makes focaccia sandwiches with the leftovers.
Classic Chicken Noodle Soup
From one deeply flavorful chicken broth, Grace Parisi creates four exceptional soups.
Slow-Roasted Pork Loin with Molasses and Balsamic Glaze
Scott Conant says this recipe is a perfect reflection of his heritage: The molasses harks back to his father's New England background, and the balsamic vinegar is a tribute to his mother's Italian roots. The marinade is a syrupy glaze that Conant slathers over the pork so it can soak up the flavor before roasting.
Beef Stew in Red Wine Sauce
For this classic beef stew, Jacques Pépin uses a special piece of the shoulder called the flatiron steak. This long, narrow piece is extremely lean, tender and moist, and it makes an ideal stew. He does not use stock, demiglace or even water. He makes his stew strictly with a robust red wine. This is a fantastic winter dish.
Adding a mustard layer to the beef before frying creates the most insanely delicious crust—you’ll be an immediate convert.
French Rolled Omelet
This classic dish pairs wonderfully with an elegant, focused Blanc de Blancs Champagne.
Classic Shrimp Scampi
Serve immediately with the baguette slices and lemon wedges.
Herb-Roasted Spatchcock Chicken
Chef Tyler Florence of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco gets as much crispiness as possible when roasting chicken by spatchcocking, or butterflying—removing the backbone and flattening the bird so that more of the skin is exposed to direct heat.
Whole Roast Fish with Lemon and Herbs
Designer and blogger Athena Calderone often makes this whole roast fish for her family on Christmas Day—it makes a dramatic centerpiece for a holiday meal. Like the rest of her menu, it tastes fresh and bright, thanks to a double hit of herbs.