Simple and creative ways to rethink the recipes America loves best, with wines to match.

By Dana Cowin
Updated May 11, 2016

What's the one quality that makes a Food & Wine recipe different from any other recipe? I'd have to say it's accessible creativity. At the magazine, we specialize in giving delicious twists to the classics everybody loves and craves. And that's what the F&W book Reinventing the Classics is all about: exciting new ideas for the tried-and-true. Perfected by our Test Kitchen and paired with wines in our Tasting Room, the recipes are ideal for the novice who wants to confidently impress as well as the accomplished cook looking to add to an already formidable repertoire.

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Reinventing the Classics: Starters & Soups

Kick off summer with cheesy party snacks.
| Credit: © Marie Hennechart

Goat-Cheese-Stuffed Grape Leaves

Inspired by Turkey's rice-stuffed grape leaves (dolmas), star chef Mehmet Gürs ingeniously wraps goat cheese in the briny leaves, then quickly grills the little packages to melt the cheese.

Minestrone with Black-Eyed Peas & Kidney Beans

In this modern minestrone, chef Mark Peel replaces cannellini beans with an earthy mix of kidney beans and black-eyed peas. And instead of the usual small pasta, he boils penne, slices it into rings and sautés them in olive oil so they're crispy-chewy.

Reinventing the Classics: Pasta & Grains

Flatbread Lasagna

For this supereasy lasagna spin-off, F&W's Grace Parisi skips pasta sheets and layers pocketless pita bread or naan from the grocery with store-bought marinara sauce, hot Italian sausage and ricotta and mozzarella cheeses.

Credit: © Con Poulos

Beet Risotto

For this shockingly pink risotto, sparkling rosé, with its own depth and richness, is perfect. Try the NV Domaine Carneros Cuvée de la Pompadour Brut Rosé or the 2006 Schramsberg Brut Rosé.

Reinventing the Classics: Fish & Seafood

Pretzel-Crusted Crab Cakes

Moving on from bread crumbs, chefs are playing with pretzel crumbs, creating dishes like pretzel-coated chicken, lamb chops and even squid. Here, Boston chef Stephanie Sokolove uses crushed pretzels to bind and crust chunky crab cakes.

Credit: © Con Poulos

Crisp Salmon with Avocado Salad

In her modern take on the quintessential ladies' luncheon dish, F&W's Melissa Rubel Jacobson sears the salmon to give it a crispy crust and makes a wonderfully citrusy salad dressing by whisking fresh lemon and orange juices with a little mayonnaise and olive oil.

Reinventing the Classics: Poultry

Credit: © Tina Rupp

Thai Green Curry Chicken Wings

F&W's Grace Parisi puts an Asian spin on the classic American snack, replacing red hot sauce with green and adding fish sauce, cilantro and Thai green curry paste.

Credit: © Con Poulos

Sour-Orange Yucatán Chicken

Cooks in Mexico's Yucatán use deep red annatto (achiote) paste to season chicken, pork and fish. F&W's Marcia Kiesel replaces the ground annatto seeds with paprika; it's easier to find, and she thinks it tastes better, too. She then adds fresh citrus juices, cumin, ancho chile powder and 20 cloves of garlic to make a terrifically spicy rub for whole roast chicken.

Reinventing the Classics: Meat

Korean Beef Stew with Napa Cabbage & Pickles

F&W's Marcia Kiesel made sure the ingredients for this recipe were easy to find in a U.S. supermarket: In place of Korean hot peppers and sweet Korean pickles, the stew gets tanginess and heat from jalapeños and sour dill pickles.

Chili with Hominy

To give his simple chili some flavor complexity, butcher Tom Mylan uses three kinds of dried chiles: fruity guajillos, smoky anchos and a New Mexico chile.

Reinventing the Classics: Salads & Vegetables

Caesar Salad with Crispy Tofu Croutons

In this creative remix, F&W's Melissa Rubel Jacobson pan-fries tofu cubes until they become crisp and crouton-like. She also blends soft tofu with olive oil, lemon juice and an anchovy to make a terrific Caesar-style dressing without the standard raw egg yolks.

Potato Salad with Hummus-Yogurt Dressing

In this clever potato salad remake, F&W's Grace Parisi uses yogurt and hummus to make one great and very speedy dressing.

Reinventing the Classics: Breakfast & Brunch

Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberries

Chef Neal Fraser updates classic blueberry pancakes by adding fresh ricotta and beaten egg whites to the batter. They make the pancakes incredibly moist and light.

Cardamom-Spiced Crumb Cake

Most bakers spice their crumb cakes with cinnamon; for a more exotic flavor, F&W's Kate Heddings tops her moist cake with a generous layer of cardamom-accented, pecan-dotted crumbs.

Reinventing the Classics: Desserts

Apple Pie Bars

Capturing the flavors of apple pie in a snack bar is a fantastic idea; the bars here have a nutty, streusel-like topping and a crisp shortbread bottom.

Credit: © Con Poulos

Ganache-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pastry chef Jessica Sullivan combines two dessert basics—nutty chocolate chip cookies and silky chocolate ganache—into one heavenly sandwich cookie. Sullivan likes hers stuffed (not merely spread) with ganache.