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This sweet summer treat is a
perfect inish to a backyard supper.
Our step-by-step instructions
make it easy. P A G E 2 4
One-Batch Fried Chicken
All the Crunch, Half the Efort
Five Easy Omelets
No More Rubbery Eggs
Smoked Fish Tacos
Taste of California
Tomato and Corn Salad
Peak-Season Produce
Peach Cofee Cake
Streusel Top Makes It
Plastic Wrap
Which Product Is the Best?
Grilled Flank Steak
Never Overcook It Again
Roast Pork Sandwiches
Pride of Philadelphia
Code Red
Hot Sauce Taste Test
J U N E /J U LY 20 1 8
$ 5. 9 5 U.S. / $ 6. 9 5 CA N A DA
D I S P L AY U N T I L J U LY 9, 20 1 8
Chief Executive Oicer David Nussbaum
Chief Creative Oicer Jack Bishop
Editor in Chief Tucker Shaw
Executive Managing Editor Todd Meier
Executive Food Editor Bryan Roof
Deputy Editor Scott Kathan
Senior Editors Morgan Bolling, Katie Leaird, Ashley Moore
Associate Editor Cecelia Jenkins
Photo Team & Special Events Manager Tim McQuinn
Lead Cook, Photo Team Dan Cellucci
Test Cooks Alli Berkey, Matthew Fairman
Test Cook, Photo Team Jessica Rudolph
Senior Copy Editors Jill Campbell, Krista Magnuson
Contributing Editor Eva Katz
Senior Science Research Editor Paul Adams
Hosts & Executive Editors, Television Bridget Lancaster,
Julia Collin Davison
Executive Editor, Tastings & Testings Lisa McManus
Deputy Editor, Tastings & Testings Hannah Crowley
Managing Editor, Tastings & Testings Briana Palma
Senior Editors, Tastings & Testings Lauren Savoie, Kate Shannon
Associate Editor, Tastings & Testings Miye Bromberg
Assistant Editors, Tastings & Testings Carolyn Grillo, Emily Phares
Executive Editor, Web Christine Liu
Managing Editor, Web Mari Levine
a kid, I used to compare notes with my friends about our
favorite ways to doctor up supermarket macaroni and cheese. You know
the kind—those blue boxes with the powdered cheese mix. Sure, you
could eat it as is, but why not stir in a handful of peas, a can of tuna fish,
or maybe some cut-up hot dogs?
We were odd children.
Odd or not, I loved these conversations. I was proud to announce that my favorite
add-in was canned green chile peppers. I loved the mild spiciness, the faint sweetness,
and the bold green flecks. They made that bowl of mac and cheese special. It was my
mac and cheese.
I’m not sure I realized it then, but these conversations were the first time I’d considered that cooking can be open to interpretation. It can be personal. It was a small
revelation at the time, but in retrospect, sensing this freedom cemented my love of
home cooking and, perhaps counterintuitively, my love of strict recipes.
See, Cook’s Country cooks and editors, as you know, go to extraordinary lengths
when developing recipes—test after test after test. This diligence leads to recipes that
are precise and exacting, and we publish them with the premise (and the promise) that
if you follow them exactly, you’ll have successful results. The first time I make a new
Cook’s Country recipe at home, I follow it exactly as written because I know there will be
something to learn by doing so.
But sometimes after that first encounter, I diverge. Not too far, but a little. I may add
an extra clove or two of garlic to a recipe such as Grilled Mojo Chicken (page 12)
because I really love garlic. I may add a tablespoon of capers to the Steak Pizzaiola
(page 18) because I love capers’ briny flavor. And I may chop up an extra jalapeño to
stir into the sauce for Jalapeño-Apricot Glazed Pork Chops (page 19) because, well, you
already know how I feel about chile peppers.
Can I guarantee that customizing things this way will be an improvement every
time? Nope. It’s always a gamble. But fortune favors the bold, and with techniques I
trust and ingredients I confidently love, I’m willing to take the bet.
After all, I’m the one who’s going to be eating it.
Associate Editor, Web Ashley Delma
Creative Director John Torres
Photography Director Julie Cote
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Senior Staf Photographer Daniel J. van Ackere
Staf Photographers Steve Klise, Kevin White
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Director, Creative Operations Alice Carpenter
Imaging Manager Lauren Robbins
Production & Imaging Specialists Heather Dube,
Dennis Noble, Jessica Voas
Test Kitchen Director Erin McMurrer
Assistant Test Kitchen Director Alexxa Benson
Test Kitchen Manager Meridith Lippard
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Lead Kitchen Assistant Ena Gudiel
Kitchen Assistants Gladis Campos, Blanca Castanza,
Amarilys Merced, Sujeila Trujillo
Chief Financial Oicer Jackie McCauley Ford
Senior Manager, Customer Support Tim Quinn
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Dinner Illustrated
Each recipe is a fully illustrated road map for producing a
satisfying, fresh meal in an hour or less. No advance prep is
required—just gather the ingredients, pick up your knife, and
follow the step-by-step photos until dinner is ready. Order your
copy at
Development Colleen Zelina
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On the cover: Summer Blueberry Cobbler
Chimney Starters
America’s Test Kitchen is a real test kitchen located
in Boston. It is the home of more than 60 test cooks,
editors, and cookware specialists. Our mission is to
test recipes until we understand exactly how and
why they work and eventually arrive at the very
best version. We also test kitchen equipment and
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ofer the best value and performance. You can watch
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17 G E T T I N G T O K N O W
24 C O O K I N G C L A S S
Blueberry Cobbler
26 F I V E E A S Y
27 C O O K I N G F O R T W O
Shrimp and Green
Bean Stir-Fry
28 O N E PA N
Crab Cake Dinner
29 S L O W C O O K E R
Pork Posole
30 E Q U I P M E N T R E V I E W
Plastic Wrap
31 P R O D U C T TA S T I N G
Hot Sauce
32 H E I R L O O M R E C I P E
Pickled Watermelon Rind
33 G R E AT A M E R I C A N C A K E
Frozen Lemonade Cake
Philly Roast Pork Sandwiches
We went to Philadelphia for the cheesesteak.
We stayed for the roast pork sandwich.
One-Batch Fried Chicken
One tomato, two tomato, three tomato, corn.
With an iconic American entrepreneur as inspiration, we
created a playbook for irst-time fryers and old pros alike.
Kentucky Red Slaw
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Grilled Flank Steak
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped
Peach lavor can be muted in baked goods. We set out
to make a cofee cake that sang loudly of peaches.
Grilled Mojo Chicken
Tart and garlicky mojo is a cornerstone of Cuban American
cookery. But what’s the best way to infuse grilled chicken
with its bright lavor?
Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops
To highlight pork’s natural sweetness, we paired meaty
chops with a punchy sweet-and-sour sauce.
How do you improve on grilled asparagus? Dress it in a
salty, savory prosciutto jacket.
Steak Pizzaiola
Smothering a steak in marinara sauce sounds easy.
But many recipes ignore the details.
A potent marinade can boost the lavor of your steak—if
you know when to use it.
Flour Tortillas: Make or Buy
Homemade lour tortillas are amazingly good—and easier
than you think. PLUS Tasting Store-Bought Flour Tortillas
Crispy potatoes dressed with herby, tangy ranch dressing
sounded like a hit. But irst we had to get the ranch right.
Cayucos Smoked Fish Tacos
This curious combination of smoked ish and sweet slaw
had us skeptical—until we tasted it.
You know you’re at a real Kentucky barbecue when the
coleslaw is red.
Southwestern Tomato
and Corn Salad
Milk Chocolate Revel Bars
This three-tiered cookie bar looked like it required three
times the work. We gave it a second look.
One taste of these pillowy, sugar-dusted Hawaiian favorites
and you may never go back to glazed raised.
Cook’s Country magazine (ISSN 1552-1990), number 81, is published bimonthly by America’s Test Kitchen Limited Partnership, 21 Drydock Avenue, Suite 210E, Boston, MA 02210. Copyright 2018
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by Morgan Bolling
Summertime Hues
Is there a flavor diference between
yellow watermelon and red watermelon?
–Isabelle Spector, Evanston, Ill.
Red watermelon has the best lavor.
Chocolate Crusts
chip, the dark cast-iron surface underneath will be exposed. Before cooking
with the pot, be sure to clean it well, as
you don’t want any more loose enamel
to chip of. Once you’ve done that, it’s
fine to cook with.
T H E B O T T O M L I N E : You can use metal
cooking utensils when cooking in
enameled cast-iron pots and pans as
long as you do so gently. If you strike
the pot sharply with metal utensils, the
enamel can crack or chip.
I love chocolate. Can I substitute
chocolate wafer cookies for graham
crackers in graham cracker crusts
and other cookie crusts?
–Melissa Bowe, Tulsa, Okla.
We love chocolate, too. So to test this
question, we made our standard graham
cracker pie crust using plain graham
crackers and pitted it against two
other crusts: one made with chocolate
wafer cookies and another made with
chocolate graham crackers. For good
measure, we also made three batches
of our Easiest-Ever Cheesecake, which
features a graham cracker crust, using
the same three products.
While tasters liked the “intense”
chocolate flavor of the crust made with
chocolate wafer cookies, the textures
of the two crusts we made with them
sufered. The unfilled pie crust slid
down the sides of the pie plate, and
the cheesecake version was greasy and
soggy. Previous testing has shown us
that crumb crusts containing too much
sugar or fat slump when baked. The
combined weight of fat and sugar in
both types of graham crackers is about
35 percent of their total weight; the
combined weight of fat and sugar in
the chocolate wafer cookies is about
10 percent heavier.
On the other hand, the two crusts
made with chocolate graham crackers were nearly identical in texture
to those made with standard honey
graham crackers. But although the
chocolate graham crusts had excellent
textures, tasters found their chocolate
flavor a bit muted.
T H E B O T T O M L I N E : Chocolate graham crackers are a good substitute for
regular graham crackers in a crust.
But if you want to make a crust using
chocolate wafer cookies, use a recipe
that specifically calls for them.
While you usually see only red watermelon at the grocery store, there are
many more varieties of this fruit, offering orange, yellow, pink, and white
flesh. The yellow-fleshed variety is the
second most common type, and many
supermarkets carry it in the summer.
To see if there were any flavor or
texture diferences between red and
yellow watermelons, we tasted each
Smoky Seasoning
Love chocolate? Our testing showed that
you can replace regular graham crackers
with chocolate grahams in pie crusts.
Easy Does It
I love cooking in my enameled
cast-iron cookware, especially my
Dutch oven. But I’ve heard that I
shouldn’t use metal cooking utensils
when cooking in it. Is this true?
–Matthew Blondell, Louisville, Tenn.
The enamel glaze that covers this kind
of cast-iron cookware is similar to the
glaze painted and fired onto pottery.
If that kind of glaze is sharply struck
with something hard, it can crack or
chip. The same thing can happen with
the enamel glaze applied to cast-iron
We checked in with our equipment
testing team, and they airmed that
you can use metal utensils in enameled
cookware as long as you don’t bang the
utensils full-force on the enamel (the
enamel on the lip is especially fragile).
For a similar reason, you should also
avoid slamming the lid down on your
enameled cookware.
If your enameled cookware does
2 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
I’ve seen smoked salt at my grocery
store. What is it?
–Kim Walsh, Bethesda, Md.
Most smoked salt is sea salt that has
been cold-smoked using aromatic
woods such as hickory, alder, cherry, or
apple, each of which imparts a unique
flavor. Other versions are made by
mixing liquid smoke with salt and drying the mixture.
We never call for smoked salt in our
recipes, but your question made us curious. We ordered a few smoked salts and
tasted them alone, sprinkled over white
rice, baked into our Buttermilk Drop
Biscuits, and sprinkled over roast beef.
In short, we found a huge variance,
both in flavor and in grain size, among
smoked salts. Some had pleasing “grill”
flavors, while others were more reminiscent of “stale cigarettes.” Because of this
variance in the salts, we don’t suggest
using them as a substitute for table or
kosher salt in recipes. But they can be
worth trying as finishing salts. Just be
sure to taste what you buy on its own
before you sprinkle it over your food.
T H E B O T T O M L I N E : Smoked salts are
meant to impart both salinity and
smokiness to food. But there’s a lot of
variance among products, so we don’t
suggest using them as a substitute for
other salts.
plain and in our Watermelon-Tomato
Salad (August/September 2016). Overall, the yellow watermelon had the
same signature juiciness and texture
that we love in red watermelon, but it
lacked some of the red’s intense melon
flavor. Tasters found it plenty sweet but
“more mild” and “dull” compared with
its red cousin. That said, it still was
worth trying, if for nothing other than
its interesting appearance.
T H E B O T T O M L I N E : Yellow-fleshed
watermelon is juicy and very similar in
texture to its red-fleshed cousin, but it
is milder in flavor than standard sweet
red watermelon.
Trimming the Fat
What do you mean when you call
for a “boneless, skinless chicken
breast, trimmed”? Aren’t boneless
breasts already pretty clean? What
do you trim away?
–Tate Starhill, Jackson, Miss.
Whenever we cook with chicken
parts, we inspect and trim them before
seasoning and cooking. The objective
is to remove any tough, gristly bits that
would be unpleasant to eat.
To trim a boneless, skinless chicken
breast, place it on a cutting board with
the smooth, rounded side facing up.
Then use a sharp chef’s knife to cut
away any white or yellow fat clinging
to its sides, any bloody areas on the
outside, or any pieces of tendon that are
sticking out. It’s OK to leave the thin
white strip running along the smooth
side of the breast—it won’t be tough.
(Bone-in, skin-on chicken parts usually
require more trimming.)
T H E B O T T O M L I N E : Trim boneless,
skinless chicken breasts of any visible
fat and tendons, without cutting into
the meat, before cooking.
Trim the fat Use sharp chef’s knife to
cut away any obvious bits of fat or gristle
sticking out, without cutting into meat.
If You Grill
with Charcoal,
You Need
a Chimney
Starter. But
Which One
Should You Buy?
Compiled by Cecelia Jenkins
by Hannah Crowley
L I G H T E R F L U I D C AN impart
Quicker Kebabs
Nolan O’Brien, Fort Worth, Texas
This only really works for pork tenderloin, but it’s an awesome trick. I start
with two tenderloins and cut each in half lengthwise into two long strips. I
then cut each of those strips in half crosswise, which leaves me with eight
rectangles. I line up those pieces so their long sides are touching, send in the
skewers from the side, and inally, cut between the skewers. Now I’m ready
to marinate and/or grill with much less fussy assembly work.
Sweet Inspiration
Elyse Phillips, Charleston, S.C.
I take a lot of cream and sugar in
my morning cofee, and running
out of either can cause a crisis. In
the middle of one such situation
recently, I spied a can of sweetened
condensed milk in the pantry and,
in a it of undercafeinated desperation (and thinking about Thai- and
Vietnamese-style cofees, both of
which use this product), cracked it
open and poured some into my cup.
Perfect Peeling
It worked so well that I used the rest
Oona Matthews, Montpelier, Vt.
of the can in my cofee for the next
Trying to peel a whole or halved onion
can be tricky—the papery skin invariably lakes away just when I think
I’ve got a good grip on it. But a friend
showed me a better way to peel. I cut
the onion into quarters through the
root end; the points of each wedge
Illustration: Traci Daberko
make it easy to peel back the skin
layer all in one piece. Plus, since the
wedges lie lat, they are really easy
to chop!
week—and my husband loves it in
his iced cofee.
unpleasant flavors to grilled food, so we
use a chimney starter to light charcoal.
These simple
devices generally
consist of a cylinREVIEW
drical body with
a handle and two stacked chambers:
the top one for charcoal and the bottom one for the fuel used to light the
charcoal, typically newspaper.
Since our last testing in 2009, our
previous winner, the Weber Rapidfire
Chimney Starter, has been slightly
updated with a more ergonomic
handle, so we saw an opportunity to
retest it alongside other new models.
We rounded up six widely available
chimney starters, priced from $14.99
to $29.95, and commenced testing.
We lit 3, 6, and 7 quarts of charcoal in each starter and poured the
briquettes into diferent formations
to represent the many ways we grill—
from quick, high-heat recipes such as
burgers to low-and-slow projects such
as pulled pork. We timed how long
it took to light the briquettes, rating
each starter on how much charcoal it
could hold and on its ease of use.
We downgraded models with
the following flaws: a too-small fuel
(newspaper) chamber that made
full ignition laborious, a too-small
charcoal chamber that couldn’t
hold enough briquettes for eicient
high-heat grilling, handles that were
uncomfortable or cumbersome to
hold or that got too hot, and a charcoal chamber that felt rickety or was
hard to pour from with good control.
Our preferred starters also had helper
handles to facilitate pouring.
The Weber Rapidfire Chimney
Starter is again our top pick. It has
roomy chambers for both newspaper and charcoal, is easy to light and
pour from, and has two comfortable
handles that stayed cool. At $14.99, it
was also one of the cheapest models
we tested. Go to CooksCountry.
com/jul18 to read the full testing and
see the complete results chart.
Charcoal in a chimney is ready for grilling
when the briquettes are covered with a
fine white ash, like this.
Good +++
Fair ++
Poor +
Weber Rapidire
Chimney Starter
Model: 7416
Price: $14.99
Comments: Our repeat
winner is sturdy, roomy,
and easy to use. And at
$14.99, it’s also one of the
least expensive models
we tested.
Capacity +++
Ease of Use +++
Outset Collapsible
Camping Grill
and Chimney Starter
Model: 76356
Price: $19.60
Comments: This large,
square starter it the
maximum amount of coal
we required. Its collapsible
design was convenient but
made it feel a bit rickety.
Capacity +++
Ease of Use ++
Char-Griller Charcoal Grill
Chimney Starter with Quick Release
Trigger, 12-Inch
Model: 9586
Price: $24.31
Chimney Style Charcoal Starter
Model: 39470
Price: $14.99
Charcoal Companion Stainless
Steel Chimney Charcoal Starter
Model: CC3026
Price: $23.10
Barbecue Dragon
Chimney of Insanity
Model: BBQD100
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Price: $29.95
Philly cheesesteak
rivalries are legendary,
but that’s not the only
contested lunch in town.
Both DiNic’s (at right and
above right) and John’s
(below) have rabid fans
who claim that their preferred roast pork sandwich
vendor is the best.
Text by Bryan Roof; photos by Steve Klise
house special hot roast pork
sandwich at John’s Roast Pork
in South Philadelphia, you don’t
have to wait in line; that deeply satisfying sandwich of roasted pork, braised
spinach, and a noticeable kick of black
and red peppers can be made in short
order, and you’re allowed to weave
through the lunch-rush crowd and
up to the counter. You can be out the
door while the other guy is still getting
yelled at for ordering his cheesesteak
all wrong. (“American wit’ extra” is
the way to go [“extra” = onions].) At
midday, John’s is a noisy place, thanks
mostly to the yelling between the
cashiers, line cooks, and back kitchen
staf all jammed into a tiny shoebox of
a building.
By contrast, the cavernous Reading
Terminal Market across town delivers
a much bigger, nearly overwhelming
sensory experience with its butchers and
grocers and gift shops and bakeries selling freshly fried doughnuts. It’s packed
to the brim with a mix of tourists and
locals and, despite the neon signs,
there’s an air of antiquity and comfort
to the place, a sit-and-stay-awhile kind
of vibe.
This is no surprise: The building
made its debut as a civic marketplace
more than 100 years ago and has
become an indelible part of the city’s
cultural fabric.
That fabric includes Tommy DiNic’s,
a Reading Terminal Market standby
since 1980. DiNic’s draws a huge and
reliable lunchtime crowd, weekdays
and weekends alike. Cooks pile garlicky
broccoli rabe atop the thin slices of
seasoned pork, along with sharp provolone cheese. Fresh bread, crunchy on
the outside and soft inside, soaks up the
juices and keeps everything in place.
Most of the time, anyway.
Roast Pork Sandwiches? Yes. But That’s Not All You’ll Find at the Reading Terminal Market
In 1890, the 1100 block of Market
Street was home to butchers,
produce vendors, and other food
sellers. That year, the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad
bought the land for a new station, but the vendors refused to
leave. A deal was struck to share
the space; it was a mixed-use
building for decades. The rail
was later rerouted, creating even
more space for the food vendors.
4 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Go to to
see more pictures from our trip to
the City of Brotherly Love.
Illustration: Ross MacDonald; Photos: Courtesy of the Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries (bottom left and center), Ron Hartman (bottom right)
Philly Roast Pork Sandwiches
We went to Philadelphia for the cheesesteak. We stayed for the roast pork sandwich.
by Morgan Bolling
you think cheesesteak. But it’s time to
shine the spotlight on the cheesesteak’s
porky counterpoint. A Philadelphia
roast pork sandwich is a glorious beast:
thinly sliced seasoned pork; bitter,
garlicky greens; a rich, herby jus; and a
flufy roll topped with sharp provolone
cheese (and optional hot peppers). It’s
not a shy sandwich, boasting a bold
personality full of diferent flavors. It is
a local triumph and a point of pride.
After sampling many of these sandwiches in Philadelphia (see “Philly’s
Other Sandwich”), we wanted to
re-create them at home. I made five
diferent recipes, two of which were
modeled after the famous sandwiches
from DiNic’s Roast Pork and John’s
Roast Pork, both located in Philly. One
recipe called for braising a boneless
pork butt roast in 2 cups of chicken
broth. Not only was this pork tender
and flavorful, but its juices mingled
with the chicken broth as the roast
cooked, creating an ultrasavory liquid
base for my jus.
Inspired, I seasoned a boneless
pork butt with salt, rosemary, thyme,
oregano, and fennel seeds and braised
it in broth until it was almost fall-apart
tender, about 3 hours. (Less braising
time led to chewy pork that was difficult to bite through.) Creating thin
slices, a hallmark of this sandwich,
proved tricky without a deli slicer: The
still-warm pork tended to shred. Instead, I tried letting the pork cool and
then chilling it to let the fat set before
slicing. This, coupled with cutting
the roasted pork into two manageable
halves, made it much easier to slice.
As a bonus, chilling gave me a
built-in make-ahead option. To reheat
the pork, I simmered the jus and
the sliced pork until the slices were
warmed through.
Most Philly chefs pile garlicky
broccoli rabe on these sandwiches,
but a few swear by spinach. In a test
kitchen showdown, we liked the more
substantial texture and sharp flavor
of broccoli rabe. For a final tasting, I
topped the buns with slices of sharp
provolone and toasted them before piling on the fillings. The melted cheese
provided salty creaminess and a welcome subtle provolone tang. Now this
sandwich didn’t need anything else,
but serving it with some extra pork jus
brought it to a place of sandwich glory.
Serves 8
Plan ahead: You need to let the pork
cool for 1 hour and then refrigerate
it for at least 1 hour to make slicing
easier. Sharp provolone is often labeled
“Provolone Picante,” but you can use
standard deli provolone, too. If you’re
using table salt, cut the amounts in
half. Serve with jarred hot cherry peppers, if desired.
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper lakes
1 (4-pound) boneless pork butt roast,
2 cups chicken broth, plus extra as
8 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and
cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch red pepper lakes
Tender pork, rich jus, garlicky greens, and melted provolone: THAT’S a sandwich.
8 (8-inch) Italian sub rolls, split
12 ounces sliced sharp provolone cheese
1 . FOR THE PORK AND JUS: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position
and heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine
salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, fennel
seeds, and pepper flakes in bowl. Tie
pork with kitchen twine at 1-inch intervals. Sprinkle pork with salt mixture and
transfer to large Dutch oven. Pour broth
around pork and add garlic to pot. Cover,
transfer to oven, and cook until meat
registers 190 degrees, 2½ to 3 hours.
2 . Transfer pork to large plate. Transfer
braising liquid to 4-cup liquid measuring cup; add extra broth, if necessary, to
equal 3 cups. Let pork and liquid cool
completely, about 1 hour. Cover and
refrigerate both for at least 1 hour or up
to 2 days.
Heat oil and garlic in Dutch oven over
medium heat until garlic is golden
brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add broccoli
rabe, salt, and pepper flakes and cook,
stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to
6 minutes. Transfer to bowl.
4. About 20 minutes before serving,
adjust oven rack to middle position and
heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove twine
and cut cooled pork in half lengthwise
to make 2 even-size roasts. Position
roasts cut side down and slice each
crosswise as thin as possible.
5. Spoon solidified fat of cooled jus and
discard. Transfer jus to Dutch oven and
bring to boil over high heat. Reduce
heat to low, add pork, cover, and cook
until pork is heated through, about
3 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cover
and keep warm.
6. FOR THE SANDWICHES: Arrange rolls on 2 rimmed baking sheets
(4 rolls per sheet). Divide provolone
evenly among rolls. Bake, 1 sheet at a
time, until cheese is melted and rolls are
warmed, about 3 minutes. Using tongs,
divide pork and broccoli rabe evenly
among rolls (about 1 cup pork and
⅓ cup broccoli rabe per roll). Serve,
passing any remaining jus separately.
Slicing Thin for the Win
We found that the braised pork shoulder
we use in this recipe is most tender when
sliced very thin. To make thin slicing easy,
we chill the cooked roast for between
1 hour and 2 days and then cut it into two
long, skinny halves. We then cut the halves
crosswise into very thin slices that make
easy-to-eat sandwiches.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
One-Batch Fried Chicken
With an iconic
American entrepreneur
as inspiration, we
created a playbook for
irst-time fryers and old
pros alike. by Cecelia Jenkins
touted the “eleven secret herbs and
spices” in his fast-food fried chicken,
but the real secret to its success wasn’t
his flavorings—it was how he cooked
it. Lore of the secret recipe overshadowed the little-known fact that Harland
Sanders, the famous bowtied Colonel,
used a covered pressure-frying machine
to consistently produce juicy, deep-fried
chicken in a fraction of the time traditionally required—a speedy technology
still used today.
While I didn’t have a pressure fryer,
I was excited by the idea of faster frying. What’s more, I wanted to find a
way to fry a full cut-up chicken (except
the wings): two breasts (cut in half),
two thighs, and two drumsticks in
just one batch. Could I come up with
a method for frying all the pieces together so they all hit the table, hot and
ready to eat, at the same time? Inspired
by the Colonel’s inventiveness, I went
into the kitchen to be inventive myself.
As we often do with fried chicken,
I started by soaking bone-in chicken
pieces in a mixture of buttermilk and
salt to season the meat and help it
stay moist. Then, using my fingers, I
rubbed a few tablespoons of buttermilk
into some seasoned flour (I’d experiment more with the exact seasonings
later) to create a shaggy coating,
which I knew would fry up into an
extra-crunchy exterior. I let the coated
chicken rest in the fridge for a spell to
help the coating adhere.
I knew that if I fried it in the usual
way—in two batches uncovered on the
stovetop in a 6-quart Dutch oven—
this chicken would be delicious. But
I wasn’t interested in the usual way. I
wanted speed.
To fit all the chicken pieces into
my pot, I had to significantly decrease
the amount of oil typically used in
deep frying so it didn’t overflow—just
6 cups did the trick. I heated the oil
and then carefully added the chicken
to the pot. It was a snug fit, and with
so many pieces going in at once, the oil
temperature dropped dramatically.
Working buttermilk into the seasoned flour before dredging the chicken is the secret to an extra-crunchy fried coating.
I covered the pot for the first half
of the frying time to create a closed
environment, which, while not the
same as a pressure fryer, did echo the
technology in one regard: It held in
the heat.
This was a good start. But more
chicken in the pot also meant more
moisture to deal with. (Nearly all fried
foods release moisture when cooked
in oil; this is why the oil bubbles.) The
good news? Because there was already
so much moisture in the pot, the
condensation accumulating on the lid
didn’t cause any extra splatter when it
6 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
dripped of the lid as I lifted it. The
bad news? The moisture trapped in
the oil was encouraging the coating
to slip of the chicken before it had
set up and cooked through, especially
when I went to flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
Adjusting my timing to allow the
chicken to fry mostly undisturbed for
at least 10 minutes was the key; this
enabled the coating to set almost
entirely around each piece before I
disturbed the chicken with my tongs.
What’s more, during this extended
up-front time, the pieces shrank a bit
due to loss of moisture, so I had more
room to flip them. I left the lid of for
the second half of the cooking time to
allow excess moisture to escape and
to enable me to watch the chicken’s
coating set fully into a crunchy, deep
golden brown.
Hot spots in the pot also posed a
problem, but since I didn’t want to
move the chicken to alleviate them,
I instead moved the pot, rotating it
180 degrees on the burner after the
first 5 minutes of cooking.
With the frying finally settled, I
started noodling around to create my
own seasoned flour inspired by the
Colonel’s famous flavor mix. Rather
than call for a long list of dried herbs,
I reached for a jar of Italian seasoning
blend (a mix of dried herbs: oregano,
thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage).
Granulated garlic, ground ginger, and
celery salt added lively savory notes,
and both black and white peppers
produced a pleasant, mild heat. A bit
of baking powder added to the dredge
helped ensure a crunchy but not
tough exterior.
The final analysis from my tasters?
While my one-batch technique was
fast and easy enough for a beginner,
the supercrunchy chicken tasted like
it’d been fried by a pro.
Serves 4
Use a Dutch oven that holds 6 quarts
or more. To take the temperature of
the chicken pieces, take them out of
the oil and place them on a plate; this
is the safest way and provides the most
accurate reading.
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon salt
3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces
(2 split breasts cut in half crosswise,
2 drumsticks, and 2 thighs), trimmed
11⁄2 quarts peanut or vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose lour
3 tablespoons white pepper
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons buttermilk
Whisk buttermilk and salt in large
bowl until salt is dissolved. Submerge
chicken in buttermilk mixture. Cover
with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at
least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
flour, white pepper, pepper, celery
salt, granulated garlic, ginger, Italian
seasoning, baking powder, and salt
together in large bowl. Add buttermilk and, using your fingers, rub flour
mixture and buttermilk together until
craggy bits form throughout.
3. Set wire rack in rimmed baking
sheet. Working with 2 pieces of chicken at a time, remove from buttermilk
mixture, allowing excess to drip of,
then drop into flour mixture, turning
to thoroughly coat and pressing to
adhere. Transfer to prepared rack, skin
side up. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at
least 1 hour or up to 2 hours.
4. Set second wire rack in second
rimmed baking sheet and line with
triple layer of paper towels. Add oil
to large Dutch oven until it measures
about 1 inch deep and heat over
medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add
all chicken to oil, skin side down in
single layer (some slight overlap is OK)
so that pieces are mostly submerged.
Cover and fry for 10 minutes, rotating
pot after 5 minutes. Adjust burner, if
necessary, to maintain oil temperature
around 300 degrees.
5. Uncover pot (chicken will be golden
on sides and bottom but unset and gray
on top) and carefully flip chicken. Continue to fry, uncovered, until chicken is
golden brown and breasts register 160
degrees and drumsticks/thighs register
175 degrees, 7 to 9 minutes longer.
Transfer chicken to paper towel–lined
rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve.
His iconic white suit is part of what makes
Harland Sanders’s image an indelible
one in the American food landscape, but
according to Josh Ozersky’s biography
Colonel Sanders and the American Dream
(2012), the Colonel’s original suit was
black. “It came with a string tie and was
distinctive enough in its way, but something about it lacked oomph, panache.”
Eventually, in a bid to portray the image
of a “paternal-looking Southern gentleman,” Sanders bleached his beard and
changed up the suit; as Ozersky tells it,
“television producers told him the white
suit made him stand out, giving him a
visual signature.”
Photo: (c) Bettmann/Getty (top)
One-Batch Fried Chicken Step by Step
1. Cut split breasts in half
You want all the pieces to be roughly the
same size so that they cook evenly.
2. Marinate in salted buttermilk
Buttermilk and salt create a brine that seasons the chicken and helps it stay moist.
3. Add buttermilk to seasoned lour
The liquid creates small lumps in the lour
that fry up extra-crispy and crunchy.
4. Dredge and let sit
Chilling the chicken for at least an hour
helps the coating set up and stick.
5. Start frying
Put all the chicken into the hot oil, cover
the pot, and fry for 5 minutes.
6. Carefully rotate pot
Spin the pot 180 degrees to ensure equal
heating; fry for another 5 minutes.
7. Uncover and lip
Some pieces might have “bald” uncooked
tops. Flip all pieces and fry for 8 minutes.
8. Drain and let rest
Paper towels soak up excess oil. Let the
chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Kentucky Red Slaw
You know you’re at a
real Kentucky barbecue
when the coleslaw
is red. by Morgan Bolling
A half-cup of ketchup gives
this regional slaw its signature
ruddy hue and contributes to
its bracing sweet-tart lavor.
Serves 4 to 6
One 1¼-pound head of cabbage will
yield 6 cups when finely chopped. We
prefer the evenly sized pieces you get
from cutting the cabbage by hand, but
if you prefer, you can do it in a food
processor. Cut the cabbage into 1-inch
chunks and pulse it in two batches until
it’s finely chopped.
1⁄2 cup ketchup
1⁄4 cup cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper
1 small head green cabbage
(11⁄4 pounds), chopped ine
Whisk ketchup, vinegar, sugar, oil, hot
sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¾ teaspoon
pepper together in large bowl. Stir in
cabbage until well combined. Cover and
refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Season
with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Slaw
can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Serve this slaw alongside fried chicken or piled on a pulled pork sandwich.
Oil: Stealth Wilting Agent
Finely Chopping Cabbage by Hand
Stack leaves and slice
Peel 5 or 6 leaves from cabbage, stack
and press them lat, and slice them into
thin strips with sharp knife.
8 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Chop in opposite direction
Once you have stack of ribbons, rotate
ribbons 90 degrees and cut strips into
small pieces.
As many cooks do, we assumed that
it was the acidic vinegar in a dressing
that caused salad greens to wilt. It
turns out we were wrong—the oil in
the dressing is the prime cause of
the wilting.
According to our science editor,
cabbage and other leafy vegetables
evolved to live outdoors in wet
conditions, so when you pour water
(or its close relative, vinegar) on
them, a thin, waxy coating on their
outer surface repels the liquid. Oil is
chemically similar to wax, though,
so when a leaf is coated in oil, the oil
can seep into the leaf’s interior. Once
inside, the oil ills up air spaces and
causes the structure of the leaf to
start to collapse, or wilt.
Illustration: Traci Daberko
parts of the Bluegrass State have a unique approach to
coleslaw: They swap out the mayonnaise for an unexpected ingredient:
ketchup. The sweet-tangy condiment
gives the slaw its subtle red tint and
bright flavor.
In examining and testing five recipes
for red slaw, I learned that ketchup isn’t
its only deviation from standard slaw.
The red version is boldly flavored with
hefty doses of vinegar, sugar, and spicy
heat, and it makes its creamy cousin
seem demure in comparison. And with
such a lively dressing, Kentucky red
slaw pairs beautifully with rich barbecue or fried chicken.
To make my own version, I abided
by Kentucky tradition and finely
chopped (not shredded) a small head of
cabbage, which gave me about 6 cups.
The idea is that the smaller pieces of
cabbage make the slaw easier to pile
atop a barbecue sandwich.
To make the dressing, I stirred
together the requisite ketchup, apple
cider vinegar, and sugar, tweaking
the amounts through a series of taste
tests. For the heat component, I tested
various hot sauces as well as red pepper
flakes and black pepper. At the end of
this tongue-sizzling experiment, my
tasters preferred the complex heat of
a hefty dose of black pepper coupled
with hot sauce.
The dressing was spot-on, but the
cabbage was a bit tough and “squeaky,”
as one of my tasters put it. Many
coleslaw recipes call for softening the
cut cabbage by salting it and letting it
sit before rinsing and draining it, but I
wanted to keep this recipe easy. We all
know that it’s the acid—vinegar or citrus—in a dressing that softens or wilts
greens, right? Not so fast. The test
kitchen’s science team has proven that
the oil is actually the primary tenderizing agent for greens (see “Oil: Stealth
Wilting Agent”). Adding a tablespoon
of vegetable oil to my dressing proved
it, helping soften the cabbage in just
30 minutes of fridge time.
With its sweet and tangy bite, this
snappy slaw will certainly be a part of
my next summer party menu—with
some bluegrass music on in the background, of course.
Red Slaw
Roasted Ranch Potatoes
Crispy potatoes dressed with herby, tangy ranch dressing sounded like a hit.
But irst we had to get the ranch right. by Ashley Moore
T O M A N Y , R A N C H dressing invokes
a feeling of nirvana, like what others may feel when they lounge on a
tropical beach or sip vintage Bordeaux
along the Seine. Heck, I went to
school with a girl who was so smitten that she dipped her pizza in ranch
dressing. And so a recipe for ranch-y
roasted potatoes seemed like a surefire
To figure out how to season potatoes
with ranch flavor, I ran dozens of tests
to determine the right combination
and ratios of herbs and spices. I settled
on a carefully calibrated mixture of
salt, pepper, onion powder, granulated
garlic, fresh cilantro, and fresh dill. I
tossed chunks of Yukon Gold potatoes—which we preferred to other
varieties for their creamy texture—in
olive oil and my ranch blend and roasted them on a rimmed baking sheet in
a 400-degree oven until the potatoes
were tender and nicely browned, which
took about 40 minutes.
The finished potatoes had some
ranch flavor, but my tasters were
underwhelmed, as cooking had dulled
the brightness of the fresh herbs. I
did a test with dried dill and cilantro
that similarly lacked vitality. The
simple solution was to leave the fresh
herbs out of the seasoning I was applying before cooking the potatoes
and instead sprinkle them over the
cooked potatoes.
But my tasters were emphatic in
their view that ranch seasoning wasn’t
the same as ranch dressing. They
missed the creamy element. All it took
was the addition of a little mayonnaise,
sour cream, and milk to my spice blend
to create a tangy ranch dressing to
serve with the ranch-seasoned spuds.
A sprinkling of shredded cheddar over
top gilded the lily.
Are you a ranch enthusiast (or
a “rancher,” as one colleague calls
herself)? Then we have a new dish with
your name on it.
Serves 4
Be sure to scrub and dry the potatoes
thoroughly before cutting them.
Keys to Perfectly
Browned Potatoes
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
Use Plenty of Oil
After cutting the unpeeled potatoes
into chunks, we toss them with seasonings and plenty of oil—extra-virgin
olive oil in this case. The oil adds lavor
and promotes browning.
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes,
unpeeled, cut into 1-inch chunks
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese,
shredded (2 cups)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1. FOR THE SAUCE: Whisk all in-
gredients together in bowl. Cover and
set aside while potatoes cook.
oven rack to middle position and heat
oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes, oil,
granulated garlic, onion powder, salt,
and pepper together in bowl.
3. Arrange potatoes in single layer on
rimmed baking sheet. Roast until potatoes are tender and deep golden brown
on bottoms, 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle
potatoes with cheddar, return sheet to
oven, and continue to roast until cheese
is melted, about 3 minutes longer.
4. Transfer potatoes to platter.
Sprinkle with cilantro and dill. Serve
with sauce.
Resist the Urge to Stir
Step away from the spatula: Good
browning requires ample spacing
(crowded spuds will steam, not brown)
and the patience to leave the potatoes
undisturbed while they roast. If you
stir them, the potatoes will cook before they acquire lavorful browning.
The Flavors of Ranch
Even connoisseurs of ranch dressing would be hard-pressed to tell you exactly
what’s in it. That’s partly because most every version is a bit diferent. But it’s also
because not enough people make their own. As you can see here, it’s easy.
The deining lavors of ranch are dill, garlic, onion, and cilantro (or parsley). Sour
cream, buttermilk, and yogurt are the options for a tangy dairy component. We love
the bright, bold lavor of ranch, and if you search our website (,
you can ind recipes for Ranch Potato Salad, Ranch Fried Chicken, Buttermilk Ranch
Mashed Potatoes, Buttermilk Ranch Popcorn, Buttermilk Ranch Pita Chips, Ranch
Burgers, and a few diferent versions of ranch dressing for salad. Saddle up!
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
A potent marinade
can boost the lavor of
your steak—if you
know when to use it.
Sear, Flip, and Rotate
Flank steaks are considerably thicker on
one end, so cooking them evenly requires
some technique. We build a half-grill
ire with a hotter and a cooler zone and
start by searing both sides of the steak
directly over the hotter side of the grill
until browned. Then we position the steak
with its thin end over the cooler side and
its thick end over the hotter side
to inish cooking.
by Matthew Fairman
To make the steak easier to slice thin across the grain, we first cut it in half lengthwise.
of the steak to cook over? Well, yes, but
if you position the thin part of the steak
over the cooler side for the entire cooking time, you won’t get good browning
on that part. I wanted the entire surface
to have that flavorful caramelization
you get with a blast of high heat.
To amp up browning all over the
steak, for my next test I gave both sides
of the steak a quick 2-minute stint on
the hotter side of the grill, building
tasty browning on the entire exterior.
Then I rotated the steak so the thin
part was on the cooler side of the grill
for the rest of the cooking time.
When the thickest part of the steak
hit 125 degrees, I pulled the steak of
the grill, tented it with aluminum foil
(to hold in some heat), and let it rest
for 10 minutes. I knew that slicing
the meat thin against the grain was
important to ensure tenderness, but
such a wide steak can be awkward to
slice. Instead, I cut this steak in half
lengthwise, creating two narrow pieces
that were easy to slice thin. To my delight, this beautifully charred steak was
cooked perfectly from end to end. This
was a grilled flank steak recipe I could
stick with summer after summer.
10 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
We season this steak with sugar in addition to salt and pepper to help promote
browning during the relatively short
cooking time.
1 (2-pound) lank steak, trimmed
2 teaspoons sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 scallion, sliced thin
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
11⁄2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
11⁄2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
1. FOR THE STEAK: Pat steak dry
with paper towels and sprinkle with
sugar, salt, and pepper. Transfer steak
to plate, cover with plastic wrap, and
refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to
24 hours.
Our recipe for Grilled Flank Steak with
Basil Dressing is available for four
months at
Whisk all ingredients in bowl until
sugar has dissolved; set aside.
Open bottom vent completely. Light
large chimney starter mounded with
charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When
top coals are partially covered with ash,
pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid
vent completely. Heat grill until hot,
about 5 minutes.
3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all
burners to high, cover, and heat grill
until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave
primary burner on high and turn of
other burner(s).
4. Set wire rack in rimmed baking
sheet. Clean and oil cooking grate.
Place steak on hotter side of grill
and cook (covered if using gas) until
browned on both sides, about 2 minutes
per side. Flip steak again and rotate so
that thin end is over cooler side of grill
and thick end remains over hotter side.
Continue to cook (covered if using gas),
flipping steak every 2 minutes, until
thick end of steak registers 125 degrees
(for medium-rare) or 130 degrees (for
medium), 2 to 6 minutes longer.
5. Transfer steak to prepared rack, tent
with aluminum foil, and let rest for
10 minutes. Transfer steak to carving
board and cut in half lengthwise with
grain to create 2 narrow steaks. Slice
each steak thin on bias against grain.
Transfer steak to shallow platter and
pour dressing over top. Serve.
Illustration: Jay Layman
I ’ M A LW A Y S L O O K I N G for an
excuse to fire up the grill. And when
I’m grilling, flank steak is a cut I come
back to time and time again. Flank
steaks are big, are readily available
in supermarkets, and have an intense
beefiness that is enhanced by smoky
grill flavor and pairs well with all sorts
of bold marinades and sauces.
But after reviewing a sampling of
grilled flank steak recipes, I was left
with a list of common questions. Is
marinating the steak before grilling
worth it? How do I cook the whole
steak to medium-rare (as is often
instructed) if it’s shaped like a wedge,
with one end thicker than the other?
And how do I get deep exterior browning without overcooking the interior?
I set out to answer these questions
once and for all. First of, I’ve always
had some reservations about dropping
a raw steak into a marinade. Marinades
are, by nature, wet, and moisture is an
enemy of good browning. On top of
that, the test kitchen has proven that
marinades barely penetrate the surface
of the meat. I had a hunch that I was
better of simply seasoning my steak
with salt and sugar as far in advance of
grilling as I could (since both ingredients do penetrate the interior of a
protein) and skipping the marinade
My tasters raved about the juiciness
and deep seasoning of a steak I’d salted
the night before. And since I really
like the flavors of my favorite steak
marinade—soy, garlic, Worcestershire,
balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and pepper—I
didn’t get rid of the marinade altogether. I simply saved it until the end,
pouring it over the cooked, sliced steak.
Turns out my unused “marinade” was
much more efective as a sauce.
Next, I moved on to getting the
wedge-shaped steak cooked evenly
throughout. Could solving this problem be as easy as setting up my grill
with a cooler side for the thinnest part
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped
How do you improve
on grilled asparagus?
Dress it in a salty, savory prosciutto jacket.
by Cecelia Jenkins
I A D M I T, I was not a big asparagus
fan until I tried it grilled. Far from the
grassy, steamy, washed-out specimens I
grew up loathing, good grilled asparagus tastes subtly nutty and sweet, with
a deeply caramelized, slightly crisped
exterior and a tender, bright-green
interior. It’s one of my go-to summer
side dishes, but I wanted to create a
version that felt a little more special
than plain grilled spears. Pairing the
asparagus with ultrasavory prosciutto
was the way to do it.
As I read through the numerous
prosciutto-wrapped asparagus recipes
I’d gathered, I found that some called
for grilling the spears before wrapping
them, hot of the grate, in their salty
blankets of prosciutto. Others instructed you to wrap the spears before they
hit the grill. I tried batches made both
ways and presented them to my tasters,
who voted unanimously for the version that called for wrapping and then
grilling the asparagus—the crisped prosciutto provided an incredibly appealing
contrast to the mellow vegetable.
My next task was determining the
right asparagus-to-prosciutto ratio.
Through several test batches, I learned
that grilling prosciutto concentrates
and intensifies its flavor. Wrapping
each spear in a single slice made the
combination too prosciutto-dominant
(as much as I love the stuf, I wanted
the porky slices to be an accent here).
Bundles of three asparagus spears were
unwieldy and didn’t lie flat for even
grilling. Two spears was the perfect
amount. Wrapping the prosciutto
around the middles of the spears
exposed the asparagus on either end,
so it still picked up flavorful browning
and char on the grill.
I was also happy to discover that
no toothpicks were necessary because
the sticky prosciutto adhered to itself,
snugly sealing the bundles. Brushing the
parcels on both sides with extra-virgin
olive oil before grilling ensured that
the prosciutto crisped without drying
out during the roughly 7-minute
grilling time.
Because prosciutto is salty, I found
I didn’t need to add any salt; a little
pepper and a spritz of lemon juice
(after cooking) was all the seasoning
the bundles needed. My tasters loved
how such a simple dish could sing with
complex, savory flavors. As we say in
the test kitchen, that’s a wrap.
For the best results, look for spears
that are bright green in color and firm
to the touch, with tightly closed tips. If
you are using asparagus spears that are
thicker than ½ inch in diameter, you
may have to increase the grilling time.
Do not use asparagus that is thinner
than ½ inch in diameter. This recipe
can easily be doubled.
16 (1⁄2-inch-thick) asparagus spears,
8 thin slices prosciutto (4 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Lemon wedges
1 . Working with 2 asparagus spears at
a time, tightly wrap 1 slice prosciutto
around middle of spears to create
bundle. (If prosciutto rips, slightly
overlap ripped pieces and press with
your fingers to stick it back together.)
Brush bundles on both sides with oil
and season with pepper.
Open bottom vent completely. Light
large chimney starter filled with
charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When
top coals are partially covered with
ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking
grate in place, cover, and open lid vent
completely. Heat grill until hot, about
5 minutes.
2 B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all
burners to high, cover, and heat grill
until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all
burners to medium.
3. Clean and oil cooking grate. Grill
asparagus bundles (covered if using
gas) until prosciutto is spotty brown
and paring knife slips easily in and out
of asparagus, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping
bundles halfway through cooking.
Transfer asparagus bundles to platter.
Serve warm or at room temperature
with lemon wedges.
Go to
prosciutto to read the results of our
supermarket prosciutto tasting.
Prosciutto is naturally sticky, so it adheres to itself to easily seal these tidy, tasty packages.
Proper Spear Sizing
This recipe may be simple, but paying close attention to one detail—making sure
that the asparagus spears you buy are neither too thin nor too thick—goes a long
way toward ensuring success.
The asparagus spears
should be about 1⁄2 inch
in diameter (about the
same size as a Sharpie).
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Serves 4 to 6
Tart and garlicky mojo is
a cornerstone of Cuban
American cookery. But
what’s the best way to
infuse grilled chicken
with its bright lavor?
Canned and bottled pineapple juices
are both great in this recipe, but when
it comes to the citrus, we highly recommend using freshly squeezed juice.
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1⁄3 cup pineapple juice
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 teaspoons grated orange zest plus
by Jeremy Sauer
1⁄3 cup juice
2 teaspoons lime zest plus 1⁄3 cup juice
go-to to-go spot
has been a Cuban rotisserie, so I’m
no stranger to the simple but lively
combination of tart citrus and sweet
garlic that powers a great grilled mojo
chicken. So when I got the assignment to develop a recipe for this dish,
I figured, how hard could it be? Whip
up a batch of mojo sauce, marinate
some chicken in it, and roll the chicken
around on the grill, basting as I go.
But it turns out that not all mojos
are created equal, as recipes use all
sorts of ingredients in diferent ratios.
Most mojo sauces I made in my early
tests were too bitter with citrus pucker,
harshly garlicky, or just generally out
of balance. I set out to make a better
mojo, one that had balanced but bold
citrus, garlic, and herb flavors.
Mojo, in its purest form, is a combination of the juice from sour oranges
(sour oranges are a staple in many
Latin kitchens), garlic, spices (often
black pepper, cumin, and oregano),
and oil. It’s basically a supercharged
citrus vinaigrette. Unfortunately, sour
oranges aren’t readily available to
most home cooks in the United States
outside of Florida. As a substitute,
some recipes suggest a combination of
1 part fresh-squeezed regular orange
juice and 1 part lime juice. This proved
to be a decent swap, but it lacked some
of the sour orange juice’s complexity.
Adding grated orange and lime zests to
the juices brought the citrus punch and
aroma up to speed.
Mojo’s garlic flavor has to be assertive, but not so much so that it would
make your eyes water. Some recipes
went overboard by using heads of the
stuf, but I found that a much lighter
hand, just six minced cloves, was
plenty. To take the raw edge of the
garlic, I gently heated it in olive oil just
until it turned golden and fragrant; this
(3 limes)
11⁄4 teaspoons ground cumin
3⁄4 teaspoon dried oregano
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped
fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chile
6 (10-ounce) chicken leg quarters,
1. Heat oil and garlic in small saucepan
Using the potent sauce base as marinade, baste, and finishing sauce gets this mojo working.
had the added advantage of infusing
the oil with deep garlic flavor.
It just wouldn’t be mojo without the
earthy jolt of black pepper and a dose
of oregano. Cumin was a winner, too,
as its musty savoriness added backbone to this recipe. To bring out their
best, I bloomed the herbs and spices
in the warm garlic oil. Yellow mustard
contributed depth and helped thicken
the sauce.
I was now clearly hitting the right
notes, but my tasters felt that the sauce
was a bit bracing. Some recipes call for
sugar, but its straightforward sweetness
tasted out of place. Brown sugar and
honey were no improvement. What
about fruit juice? Apple juice didn’t
add much, but then it hit me: What
about pineapple juice? Its tropical taste
complemented the other flavors
beautifully. Equal parts pineapple,
lime, and orange juice proved to be
the ideal combination.
On to the grilling. The test kitchen
has a tried-and-true technique for
grilling marinated chicken leg quarters. First, we slash the raw chicken to
the bone a few times so the marinade
penetrates deeper and more quickly.
We start grilling the chicken over low
heat so the fat renders and the chicken
12 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
A World of Mojo
There are myriad sauces that go
by the name “mojo,” but they’re all
spin-ofs of the version originating in
the Canary Islands of the northwest
coast of Africa. Canarian mojo is
made from garlic, oil, spices, and red
or green bell peppers. Sailing west,
you will encounter the Cuban mojo
that inspired this recipe; it’s based
on garlic, oil, cumin, oregano, and the
juice of sour oranges. Mexican mojo
de ajo is oil infused with garlic, lime,
and various herbs and spices. The
one mojo constant? Lots of garlic.
gently cooks through, and then we
move it over a hot fire for just a few
minutes to crisp the skin. This process
worked like a charm.
I found that I needed to baste the
chicken only once during cooking. For
an extra hit of flavor, once the chicken
came of the grill, I doused it with
more mojo—this portion amped up
with chopped jalapeño and fresh cilantro—while the chicken rested. When I
took that first bite of the finished dish,
I knew I finally had this mojo working.
And it was definitely worth the wait.
over low heat, stirring often, until tiny
bubbles appear and garlic is fragrant
and straw-colored, 3 to 5 minutes. Let
cool for at least 5 minutes.
2. Whisk pineapple juice, mustard,
orange zest and juice, lime zest and
juice, cumin, oregano, and ¾ teaspoon
pepper together in medium bowl.
Slowly whisk in cooled garlic oil until
3. Transfer half of mojo mixture to
small bowl and stir in cilantro, jalapeño,
1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper;
set aside mojo sauce.
4. Whisk 1 tablespoon salt into remaining mojo mixture until dissolved.
Transfer mojo marinade to 1-gallon
zipper-lock bag.
5. Place chicken, skin side up, on
cutting board and pat dry with paper
towels. Leaving drumsticks and thighs
attached, make 4 parallel diagonal
slashes in each piece of chicken:
1 across drumstick, 1 across leg-thigh
joint, and 2 across thigh (slashes
should reach bone). Flip chicken and
make 1 more diagonal slash across
back of each drumstick. Transfer
chicken to bag with mojo marinade.
Seal bag, turn to coat chicken, and
refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to
24 hours.
Open bottom vent completely. Light
large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top
Tomato and Corn Salad
coals are partially covered with ash,
pour two-thirds evenly over half
of grill, then pour remaining coals
over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open
lid vent completely. Heat grill until
hot, about 5 minutes.
all burners to high, cover, and heat
grill until hot, about 15 minutes.
Turn primary burner to medium
and turn other burner(s) to low.
(Adjust primary burner as needed to
maintain grill temperature between
400 and 425 degrees.)
7. Clean and oil cooking grate.
Divide reserved mojo sauce equally
between 2 bowls. Remove chicken
from zipper-lock bag and place on
cooler side of grill, skin side up;
discard marinade. Cover and cook
until underside of chicken is lightly
browned, about 15 minutes. Using
first bowl of mojo, baste chicken,
then flip chicken and baste second
side (use all of first bowl). Cover
and continue to cook until leg-thigh
joint registers 165 degrees, about
15 minutes longer.
8. Slide chicken to hotter side of
grill, keeping skin side down, and
cook (covered if using gas) until
skin is well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and continue to
cook until leg-thigh joint registers 175 degrees, about 3 minutes
longer. Transfer chicken to platter
and spoon remaining mojo sauce
from second bowl over top. Tent
with aluminum foil and let rest for
5 minutes. Serve.
Illustration: Jay Layman
The Beneit
of Slashing
Use a boning knife to make several
deep cuts through the chicken skin and
into the meat—each slash should reach
the bone. This exposes more surface
area for the marinade and sauce to
cling to and helps the chicken cook
faster and more evenly.
One tomato, two tomato,
three tomato, corn.
by Morgan Bolling
me to choose a favorite summertime vegetable, I’d have
a hard time choosing between tomatoes and corn. At peak ripeness, each
is perfect on its own. But together?
Even better. If, that is, you don’t
mess with them too much. I wanted a
simple salad with a subtle southwestern
profile, just right for a relaxed summer
supper—preferably outdoors.
I started my recipe development
process not in the kitchen but at the
market. Heirloom tomatoes are great
when you can get your hands on them.
Juicy and delicate, they usually can’t
withstand shipping, so they’re more
likely to be grown locally. But if your
market’s fresh out at the moment, look
for a tomato that has a strong fruity
aroma and feels heavy with juice. I
picked up 1½ pounds of the ripest
tomatoes I could find and cut them into
bite-size wedges.
To add corn to the mix, I tried
blanched, sautéed, and raw kernels that
I’d cut from a fresh, perfect cob. The
blanched version required two extra
dishes, and the kernels lost some of
their signature crunch. The charred
flavor in the sautéed corn distracted
from the fresh, vibrant taste of the
tomatoes. Surprisingly, our favorite
was also the easiest: raw kernels. They
added little bursts of sweetness, a
welcome complement to the deeply
flavorful, juicy tomatoes. Plus, it takes
little efort to remove them from a cob.
I tossed the components with vinaigrettes made with a range of ratios,
starting with 3 parts extra-virgin olive
oil to 1 part acid (in this case, lime
juice) and working my way down.
Eventually, I arrived at a ratio of 6 parts
oil to 1 part lime juice, which gave me
bright-but-not-sour flavor without
obscuring the star ingredients.
I was taking this salad in a southwestern direction, so I added a little
minced jalapeño for heat and a sprinkling of mild queso fresco for just a bit
of richness. A few leaves of cilantro
brought it all home. Eating this at a
patio table while the sun goes down,
with a margarita nearby . . . that’s the
sort of moment that makes summer the
very best time of year.
A bright vinaigrette—bumped up with shallot and jalapeño—plays of the sweetness of produce.
1. Cut tomatoes into ½-inch-thick
wedges, then cut wedges in half
crosswise. Arrange tomatoes on large,
shallow platter, alternating colors.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle corn over top.
2. Whisk oil, shallot, jalapeño, lime
juice, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon
pepper together in medium bowl.
Spoon dressing evenly over tomatoes.
Sprinkle with queso fresco and cilantro. Serve.
Serves 4
If queso fresco is unavailable, you can
substitute farmer’s cheese or a mild feta.
11⁄2 pounds ripe mixed tomatoes, cored
Salt and pepper
1 ear corn, kernels cut from cob
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 tablespoon minced jalapeño chile
2 teaspoons lime juice
2 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
(1⁄2 cup)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
Go to
to read our tasting of supermarket
extra-virgin olive oils.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Cayucos Smoked Fish Tacos
This curious combination of smoked ish
and sweet slaw had
us skeptical—until we
tasted it. by Morgan Bolling
executive food editor Bryan Roof came back
from a trip to Cayucos, California, raving about a smoked salmon taco served
with a mustardy mayonnaise sauce and
chopped apples, carrots, and celery, I
was afraid the sunshine had gotten to
him. But he swore that the combination of smoky fish, creamy sauce, and
crunchy, fresh topping was unbeatable.
I decided I’d give it a shot.
At Ruddell’s Smokehouse (see
“Smoke on the Water”) massive double-door smokers house giant baking
sheets of salmon, which take on smoke
flavors and, once brushed with a fruity
glaze, a sticky-sweet exterior. Soon,
that fish will be chopped up for tacos.
Since most of us don’t have an
industrial smoker at home, I needed a
smoking technique that would produce
a similar outcome using a charcoal
grill. I started with only 2 quarts of
charcoal, hoping this amount would
produce just enough heat to impart
deep smoke flavor—it takes time for
smoke to penetrate meat, and I wanted
to be certain not to overcook the fish
as it smoked. I set up an indirect fire,
arranging the coals on one side of the
grill and tossing an aluminum foil
W H E N C O O K ’ S C O U N T RY
packet of wood chips on top. Placing
the fish on the cooler side of the grill
allowed it to cook very gently while
the smoke swirled around it under the
grill lid. This gave me present but not
overpowering smoke flavor.
I cooked the salmon to our standard temperature for medium-rare
(125 degrees), but the pieces were too
soft for a taco filling. Cooking the fish
to medium-well (135 degrees) made it
easier to flake over a tortilla and gave it
even more smoky flavor.
To further amp up the flavor, I let
the salmon fillets sit in a salt-sugar cure
(similar to one used to cure lox) that I
enhanced with a bit of granulated garlic.
This also gave the fish a slightly firmer
texture, which worked well in my taco.
For that subtly sweet, sticky glaze,
I chose apricot preserves; the glaze set
as the fish smoked, giving the fillets a
faintly fruity but still sharp flavor that
worked beautifully with the smoke.
On paper, the apple-based slaw
seems strange, but loyal local customers love it. When I tossed together a
stand-in version with chopped apple
and celery and a shredded carrot, my
tasters loved it, too. And after some
adjusting of ratios, I settled on a combination of 1 part spicy brown mustard
to 2 parts mayonnaise for a sauce
similar to the one at Ruddell’s.
The final taco—a surprising pile of
smoky-sweet fish, creamy-sharp sauce,
and crunchy-fresh slaw—was a smash
hit in the test kitchen. Even our most
experienced eaters found it surprising,
refreshing, and irresistible.
The salt and sugar in our seasoning blend help give the grill-smoked salmon a silky texture.
Disparate Ingredients, United Flavors
A sweet glaze, a sharp and creamy sauce, and a crunchy slaw
bring out the best in the rich, smoky salmon.
A fruity, glazy coating
for the salmon
14 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
A creamy accent with
bright, savory lavors
Illustration: Traci Daberko
Adds a sweet-tart element
to the crunchy carrot
and celery slaw
Smoke on the Water
Text by Bryan Roof; photos by Steve Klise
T W A S 7 : 3 0 a.m. and Jim Ruddell’s large, cabinet-style electric smoker was filled
with dozens of salmon fillets. Alder sawdust burned in a small tray in the bottom of
the smoker, its temperature constantly monitored and adjusted by Ruddell. The fish
had been smoking slowly for hours and was approaching completion; overcooking is
the worst crime, so Ruddell’s sharp eye and keen attention were essential.
In a flash he grabbed the sawdust tray with a mitted hand, slid it out of the smoker,
and charged at me with an urgent “SCOOT!” I scrambled to safety—not easy in the
250-square-foot Ruddell’s Smokehouse. He dumped the ashes in a bin outside, waved hi
to a passerby, and then reentered the kitchen to reload the tray with fresh sawdust.
Ruddell first started smoking fish in his backyard in Los Angeles. “My neighbor would
call the cops on us all the time for fire code violations. So I became really good friends
with the code guy, and he recommended I check out Cayucos.” Soon Ruddell was smoking over 700 pounds of fish and shrimp per week and surfing every day.
The smokehouse, just yards from the sand of Cayucos State Beach, enjoys a spectacular
view. Next to the small prep table and flattop griddle where Ruddell prepared tacos and
sandwiches for the coming crowds is a large picture window through which he’d gaze
onto the crashing waves and the endless blue Pacific horizon. “Every morning, I watch the
dawn and think ‘I live like a king,’” he said. “People pay me to make tacos on the beach.
I’m probably the richest guy I know. I mean, this is my oice, man!”
Jim Ruddell died in February 2018. I feel lucky to have had the chance to meet this
man, whose views—of the ocean and of life—inspired me.
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
Hickory wood chips are widely available and work fine in this recipe.
However, we prefer the flavor that
applewood chips (if you can find
them) impart to the fish. To ensure
even cooking, we prefer to purchase a
whole center-cut salmon fillet and cut
it into four equal pieces. Note that the
seasoned fillets must be refrigerated
for at least 4 hours before grilling. If
desired, you can serve the salmon as
whole fillets rather than as a flaked
taco filling. Smucker’s makes our
favorite apricot preserves, and our
favorite brown mustard is Gulden’s
Spicy Brown Mustard.
1⁄4 cup spicy brown mustard
1 cup packed brown sugar
Illustration: Ross MacDonald
1 small celery rib, chopped ine
spaced 2-inch slits in top of packet.
3. Remove salmon from sugar mixture; discard sugar mixture. Rinse
excess sugar mixture from salmon and
pat salmon dry with paper towels.
Whisk preserves and water together in
small bowl; microwave until mixture is
fluid, about 30 seconds.
Serves 4 to 6
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
1 (2-pound) center-cut, skin-on salmon
illet, about 11⁄2 inches thick
1 cup wood chips
2 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon water
The stunning stretch
of coast attracts
locals and tourists
alike; many take their
tacos across the
street for a picnic on
the beach.
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small Granny Smith apple,
peeled and chopped ine
12 (6-inch) lour tortillas, warmed
3 ounces (3 cups) mesclun
1 . FOR THE SALMON: Combine
sugar, ¼ cup salt, and granulated garlic in bowl. Cut salmon crosswise into
4 equal fillets. Transfer salmon and
sugar mixture to 1-gallon zipper-lock
bag. Press out air, seal bag, and turn
to evenly coat salmon with sugar mixture. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours
or up to 24 hours.
2 . Just before grilling, soak wood
chips in water for 15 minutes, then
drain. Using large piece of heavy-duty
aluminum foil, wrap soaked chips
in 8 by 4½-inch foil packet. (Make
sure chips do not poke holes in sides
or bottom of packet.) Cut 2 evenly
Open bottom vent completely. Light
large chimney starter one-third filled
with charcoal briquettes (2 quarts).
When top coals are partially covered
with ash, pour evenly over half of
grill. Place wood chip packet on coals.
Set cooking grate in place, cover, and
open lid vent completely. Heat grill
until hot and wood chips are smoking,
about 5 minutes.
4 B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Remove
cooking grate and place wood chip
packet directly on primary burner.
Set cooking grate in place, turn all
burners to high, cover, and heat grill
until hot and wood chips are smoking, about 15 minutes. Turn primary
burner to medium and turn of other
burner(s). (Adjust primary burner as
needed to maintain grill temperature
between 250 and 275 degrees.)
5. Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush
tops and sides of salmon fillets evenly
with apricot mixture. Place fillets,
skin side down, on cooler side of grill,
with thicker ends facing fire. Cover
grill (position lid vent over salmon
if using charcoal) and cook until
centers of fillets register 135 degrees
(for medium-well), 28 to 35 minutes.
Transfer salmon to plate, tent with foil,
and let rest for 5 minutes. (If skin sticks
to cooking grate, insert fish spatula
between skin and fillet to separate and
lift fillet from skin.)
6. FOR THE TACOS: Meanwhile,
whisk mayonnaise, mustard, lemon
juice, and cumin together in bowl.
Combine apple, celery, and carrot in
second bowl.
7. Remove and discard salmon skin.
Flake salmon into bite-size pieces and
season with salt to taste. Divide salmon
evenly among tortillas, about ⅓ cup per
tortilla. Serve, topping each taco with
desired amounts of mesclun, mayonnaise mixture, and apple mixture.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Flour Tortillas: Make or Buy
Store-bought lour tortillas: Which product is best?
by Kate Shannon
six years since we last
reviewed flour tortillas, so we gathered
six top-selling products priced from
$1.99 to $2.72 per
package, including
our previous winTASTING
ner from Old El
Paso. We sampled them plain, in tacos,
and cooked in mini cheese quesadillas.
Flavor diferences were minor, with
tasters describing most of the tortillas as
“neutral” and “plain.” We didn’t mind;
their “mild” flavor allowed the taco and
quesadilla fillings to shine.
All the tortillas were sturdy enough
to hold cheesy, juicy fillings without
falling apart, but we didn’t like ones that
were too stif. Lower-ranked tortillas
were oddly slick, with tasters likening
them to “compressed supermarket white
bread.” Other tortillas were “dense” and
“not especially tender.” We also noticed
that some products stuck together. The
best tortillas were sturdy yet also “very
tender” and “soft” and could be easily
removed from their packaging.
To get a handle on size, we measured
the tortillas (using samples from two
bags to get an average). Sure enough,
Homemade lour tortillas are amazingly good—
and easier than you think. by Bryan Roof
Makes 12 (6-inch) tortillas
Lard can be substituted for the shortening, if desired. The warm water
makes the dough easier to roll out.
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose lour
1¼ teaspoons salt
5 tablespoons vegetable shortening,
cut into ½-inch chunks
2⁄3 cup warm tap water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. Combine flour and salt in large
bowl. Using your fingers, rub
shortening into flour mixture until
mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir
in warm water until combined.
2. Turn out dough onto counter and
knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Divide dough into 12 equal
portions, about 2 tablespoons each;
roll each into smooth 1-inch ball
between your hands. Transfer dough
balls to plate, cover with plastic wrap,
and refrigerate until dough is firm, at
least 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
3. Cut twelve 6-inch squares of
parchment paper. Roll 1 dough ball
into 6-inch circle on lightly floured
counter. Transfer to parchment
square and set aside. Repeat with remaining dough balls, stacking rolled
tortillas on top of each other with
parchment squares between.
4. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet
over medium heat until shimmering.
Wipe out skillet with paper towels,
leaving thin film of oil on bottom.
Place 1 tortilla in skillet and cook
until surface begins to bubble and
bottom is spotty brown, about 1 minute. (If not browned after 1 minute,
turn up heat slightly. If browning
too quickly, reduce heat.) Flip and
cook until spotty brown on second
side, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer to
plate and cover with clean dish towel.
Repeat with remaining tortillas.
Old El Paso Flour Tortillas
for Soft Tacos and Fajitas
Our previous winner, the thinnest
tortilla in our lineup, impressed us
again with its delicate and tender
texture. Served warm, these tortillas
had a “light, laky texture.” In quesadillas, they became “crispy,” “like a cross
between a tortilla and phyllo dough.”
Price: $2.49 for 10 tortillas
($0.25 per tortilla)
Fat: 3.1 g Sodium: 222.6 mg
Average Thickness: 1.4 mm
Guerrero Tortillas de Harina
Price: $2.72 for 20 tortillas
($0.14 per tortilla)
Fat: 3 g Sodium: 240 mg
Average Thickness: 2.18 mm
Mission Flour Tortillas
Price: $1.99 for 8 tortillas
($0.25 per tortilla)
Fat: 2 g Sodium: 260 mg
Average Thickness: 2.39 mm
La Banderita Flour Tortillas
Cooled tortillas can be layered
between parchment paper, covered
with plastic wrap, and refrigerated
for up to 3 days. To serve, discard
plastic, cover tortillas with clean dish
towel, and microwave at 50 percent
power until heated through, about
20 seconds.
Price: $2.49 for 10 tortillas
16 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
our least favorite option was among
the thickest (2.18 millimeters) and the
heaviest (36.78 grams). Higher-ranked
tortillas were generally thinner and
lighter (our favorite was about 1.4
millimeters thick and 23.7 grams), and
tasters described them as “airy.” These
“delicate” tortillas had “distinct layers”
when we cooked them for quesadillas.
When we examined the ingredient
lists, we saw that the lowest-ranked
product was low in fat, containing
about 1.7 grams of fat per 32-gram
serving. Every other tortilla contained
2 to 3.1 grams, and our winner is at the
high end of that range. That extra fat
contributes richness and flavor. We also
preferred products with at least 220 milligrams of sodium per 32-gram serving.
Our previous favorite came out on
top again. Old El Paso Flour Tortillas
for Soft Tacos and Fajitas were the
thinnest and lightest in our lineup but
were still sturdy enough to contain
hot, melty cheese and juicy pulled
pork without tearing or getting soggy.
More good news: Old El Paso’s larger,
burrito-size tortillas are made using the
same recipe.
($0.25 per tortilla)
Fat: 3 g Sodium: 160 mg
Average Thickness: 1.87 mm
Although they’re thicker, we liked
these “very tender and soft” tortillas
almost as much as our winner. They
are high in fat, which adds tenderness
and richness, and relatively high in
lavor-enhancing sodium.
A “soft and chewy” texture earned
these thick, “sturdy” tortillas high
marks. Although they contain slightly
less fat than our favorites, they had
some nice “lakiness.” These tortillas
were the thickest in our lineup and
“held together well” in tacos.
These tortillas were fairly thin, and we
liked that they had noticeable “laky
layers.” Quesadillas were pleasantly
“crispy and airy.” Their relatively low
sodium level meant that they were
“not superlavorful.”
Visit to read the full testing story and see the expanded
results chart, including two “Recommended with Reservations” products from
Chi-Chi’s and Ortega.
Seasoning with Acid
We taste acidity as
brightness or sharpness.
With too much acid,
we pucker; with too
little, foods taste lat.
In the test kitchen, we talk a lot about balance. For savory dishes, this means having
appropriate ratios of fat, salt, and acid. Like
salt, acid competes with bitter lavor compounds in foods, reducing our perception of
them and brightening other lavors. We often
season dishes not just with salt and pepper
but also with acid before serving. Sometimes
you want to taste the acid, such as when you
squeeze lemon over a piece of ish. Other
times the efect is more subtle, as acid can
balance a dish and tease out other lavors
without calling attention to itself: Just a dash
of vinegar added at the end of cooking, for
instance, brings the lavors in a pot of soup
into sharper focus.
Buttermilk, yogurt,
sour cream, and even
Parmesan cheese all bring
acid to the table as part of
their lavorful charm.
pH 4
While red wine is
also acidic, it lacks
the clean lavor (and
color) of its white
cousin. We use just a
tablespoon or two
of acidic dry white
wine to brighten
up sauces.
by Scott Kathan
pH 4.5
pH 3.4
pH 2
pH 5
pH 5.5
pH 4
pH 4.5
H O N EY pH 3.9
pH 4.6
Cooks the world over turn to
these sour, acidic ingredients to
enhance their recipes. We love
to cook not just with lemon juice
but with the fragrant yellow zest,
too. There are dozens of types of
vinegar, but potent distilled white
is the most neutral-tasting.
What Do pH Numbers Mean?
(pH neutral)
Acids in Baked Goods
The foods in the photo above fall into the pink-shaded area of the pH spectrum.
Illustration: Jay Layman
Acid in Marinades:
Don’t Do It
When meat is marinated in
acidic ingredients (such as
Italian dressing or barbecue
sauce), the acid can “cook”
the meat’s exterior (in much
the same way that citrus
juice “cooks” ceviche),
turning it mushy. We prefer
to season foods with acid
after cooking, often via a
postcooking marinade or a
lavorful sauce.
Acid: Not Just About Flavor
Tidier Poached Eggs
Poaching eggs in
acidulated water
(water with vinegar or
lemon juice added)
makes for neater
whites. We use a
ratio of 1 tablespoon
distilled white vinegar
to 6 cups water.
Spud Supporter
Cooking cut potatoes in acidulated
water helps the potatoes hold their shape
as they soften.
Don’t have buttermilk
on hand? Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
to 1 cup of milk and
let it sit for 10 minutes to “clabber.”
(This works with soy
milk, too.)
pH 5.6
Browning Blocker
Rubbing cut avocados, apples, or pears
with lemon or lime
juice helps prevent
them from turning
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda)
produces carbon dioxide when
activated with acidic liquids such as
buttermilk or yogurt; this gas causes
batters to rise, and the heat of the
oven then sets the risen batter. Baking
powder is a combination of baking
soda and an acid salt (such as cream
of tartar), so it needs only moisture to
activate and produce carbon dioxide.
Funky Ferments
Foods such as sauerkraut,
kosher dill pickles, kimchi, and
kombucha get their acidic tang
from natural fermentation. Over
time, natural and healthy bacteria convert sugar in the raw ingredients into lactic acid, which
then “pickles” the food. Humans
have been preserving food via
fermentation for millennia.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Steak Pizzaiola
Smothering a steak in marinara sauce sounds easy.
But many recipes ignore the details. by Alli Berkey
T E N D E R S T E A K B AT H E D in a
garlicky tomato sauce sounds pretty
good, right? The dish is called steak
pizzaiola (“pizza maker’s steak”), and it’s
a staple of old-school Italian American
restaurants. I recently tasted this dish
at a red-checkered-tablecloth place in
New York and was blown away by the
combination of sweet-sharp tomato
and meaty steak. I was eager to cook up
my own version.
As part of my preliminary research
I gathered six recipes that showcased
most of the major variables (cuts of
meat, cooking times, sauce styles)
and prepared them for my colleagues.
We were surprised at how diferent
the completed recipes looked on the
plate. At one end of the spectrum
were versions that featured beautiful
steaks quickly seared and dolloped
with a spoonful of sauce; at the other
end were those that called for braising
tough cuts in a pot of sauce for hours.
As for the tomato sauces, some were
long-simmered and meaty-tasting; others were little more than chopped fresh
tomatoes sautéed with garlic.
My biggest takeaway from this
initial sampling was that the meat
had to cook in the sauce, at least for
a few minutes, to marry the flavors;
recipes that failed to do this produced
results that didn’t taste like a unified
dish—clearly, good steak pizzaiola is
more than just the sum of its parts.
I established a working method of
quickly searing the meat in a nonstick
skillet, removing it and building a
simple sauce (sauté garlic in olive oil,
add canned tomatoes) in the same pan,
and finally adding the seared meat to
the sauce to finish cooking through.
My next task was to figure out what
cut of beef to use. My tasters and I
didn’t feel that rib eye’s rich flavor or
tenderloin’s tender texture were well
suited for this dish, as these attributes
were overwhelmed by the sauce. I tried
and rejected inexpensive braising cuts
such as eye round and chuck steaks,
which took too long to tenderize. And
since both flank and skirt steaks have to
be sliced against the grain for optimum
tenderness, they were out. I wanted to
serve the meat whole, unsliced.
I was nearing my wit’s end when a
coworker suggested trying blade steaks,
an underappreciated, beefy-tasting,
and fairly tender cut from the chuck
(or shoulder) that cooks quite quickly.
Blade steaks have a line of connective
tissue running through the middle of
each steak, so I followed normal test
kitchen protocol and removed it. But
that made for long, narrow steak “fingers,” which didn’t feel quite like, well,
a steak. Thinning those fingers with a
meat pounder made the pieces a little
wider (and helped them cook quicker),
but they still weren’t big enough to be
called steaks. In the end, we decided to
leave the tough gristle line intact (eating around it on the plate) and pound
out whole steaks. Now the meat was
eating like a steak.
On to the finishing details. Lightly
flouring the steaks before searing (a step
some recipes call for) helped thicken the
sauce and gave the exterior of the meat
a velvety smoothness we liked. I found
I could sear the steaks in two batches of
two, and that the pounded-and-seared
steaks needed only about 3 minutes
once I slipped them into the sauce to
finish cooking. I bolstered my speedy
tomato sauce with red pepper flakes
and anchovies (which are optional, but
they add a layer of savoriness without
tasting fishy) and a bit of fragrant fresh
basil at the end. This saucy, tender steak
tasted great—both rich and fresh—and
amazingly, it comes together in less than
30 minutes.
This saucy steak is great with a side of pasta or just some crusty bread for mopping.
Serves 4
Though we prefer less-expensive blade
steaks, strip steaks of the same size also
work here. King Oscar Anchovies Flat
Fillets in Olive Oil are our favorite.
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper lakes
Salt and pepper
4 (6- to 8-ounce) beef blade steaks,
1 inch thick, trimmed
1⁄2 cup all-purpose lour
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 anchovy illets, rinsed, patted dry,
and minced
Blade Steaks: Before and After
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Blade steaks are an economical cut from the chuck (shoulder) that packs
loads of beefy lavor. We pound them out for this recipe
so they’ll cook quickly.
18 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
1. Drain tomatoes in colander set over
bowl; reserve ½ cup liquid and discard
remaining liquid. Pulse tomatoes,
reserved liquid, pepper flakes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in
food processor until chopped, about
7 pulses. Set aside.
2. Sandwich each steak between
2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound
¼ inch thick. Pat steaks dry with paper
towels and season with salt and pepper.
Place flour in shallow dish. Lightly
dredge each steak in flour, shaking of
excess, and transfer to plate.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch
nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat until just smoking. Add 2 steaks
and cook until lightly browned, about
2 minutes per side. Return steaks
to plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to
now-empty skillet and repeat with
remaining 2 steaks.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low and
add garlic, anchovies, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now-empty
skillet. Cook until fragrant and lightly
browned, about 30 seconds. Stir in
tomato mixture and bring to simmer.
Cook, stirring often, until sauce has
thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
5. Add steaks to sauce and cook until
tender and just cooked through, about
3 minutes. Transfer steaks to platter.
Stir basil into sauce and season with
salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce
over steaks. Serve.
Go to
to ind out which canned tomatoes
won our taste test.
Sweet and Tangy Pork Chops
by Ashley Moore
have to be ho-hum—in fact, they ought
to be lively and interesting enough to
power you through the midweek doldrums and into the weekend. I set out
to create a decidedly not-boring recipe
for meaty pork chops bathed in a sweet
but lively sauce. There was one caveat:
The sauce needed to be flavorful but
not cloying or too sour.
First I had to decide which chops to
use. I was after a quicker-cooking kind
of chop here, so two types of chops
were immediately of the list: those
that were superthick and those loaded
with fat and connective tissue and
needing a long braising period to tenderize. After running through a series of
kitchen tests, I settled on ¾-inch-thick
bone-in rib chops—these were big
enough to feel substantial but still lean
enough to cook through relatively
quickly. For the initial seasoning, I
kept things simple and used a generous amount of salt and pepper (salting
the chops and letting them sit for 1 to
24 hours before cooking seasons the
meat deeply and helps keep it juicy; see
“Early Salting: Secret Weapon”).
While the pork is the star of this
dish, I knew that the accompanying
sauce would be the key to the dish’s
success. After searing the chops on both
sides, which took less than 10 minutes,
I pulled them from the skillet and began building the sauce with the juices
the chops had left behind. For a sweet
element, I tested brown sugar, maple
syrup, honey, and both apple and apricot preserves; my tasters and I were
surprised by how much we loved the
floral sweetness of the version made
with apricot preserves, which added
a rich fruit presence without really
tasting expressly like apricot. A little
sliced shallot and garlic added a savory
backbone to the sauce, and a good
splash of cider vinegar heightened
its brightness.
The sauce was now nicely balanced—sweet but not too sweet, with
just a touch of acidity. But it was missing
something I couldn’t put my finger on.
It wasn’t until I saw a hungry colleague
shaking hot sauce onto her portion that
it hit me: The sauce needed a prick of
heat. Hot sauce worked—but not as
well as a thinly sliced jalapeño added to
the pan for the final minute to soften
and release its flavor; the chile added
a zingy bite and a welcome verdant
note. Weeknight dinners just got a lot
more interesting.
To highlight pork’s
natural sweetness,
we paired our
meaty chops
with a punchy
Serves 4
We prefer natural pork here, but if
your pork is enhanced (injected with
a salt solution), decrease the salt in
step 1 to ½ teaspoon per chop. Use
pork chops of the same thickness to
ensure even cooking. Pork chops can
buckle during cooking and cook unevenly. To prevent this, we use kitchen
shears to snip the fat surrounding the
loin portion of each chop.
4 (6- to 8-ounce) bone-in pork rib
chops, 3⁄4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed
Kosher salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed and sliced
into thin rings
1 shallot, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1⁄2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1. Using kitchen shears, snip through
Our glazy pan sauce is sweet, tangy, and a tad spicy from the sting of fresh jalapeño.
Early Salting: Secret Weapon
Porky Pinwheel
This recipe calls for sprinkling
the raw pork chops with salt on
both sides and letting them sit in
the refrigerator for 1 to 24 hours.
Why? Salting raw meat in advance
of cooking gives the salt time to
penetrate the meat, making it taste
better but also helping the chops
hold on to their moisture when
cooked, resulting in juicier meat. The
same principle is at work when you
brine meat before cooking. A salting
rule of thumb: The larger the cut of
meat, the longer you should let it sit,
salted, before cooking.
To get all the chops to it and lie lat in
the skillet (for optimum browning and
even cooking), we arrange them in the
pinwheel formation pictured below.
fat surrounding loin muscle of each
chop in 2 places about 2 inches apart,
being careful not to cut too deeply into
meat. Sprinkle each chop with ¾ teaspoon salt. Place chops on large plate,
cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate
for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
2. Pat chops dry with paper towels and
season with pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch
nonstick skillet over medium-high
heat until just smoking. Place chops
in skillet and cook until golden brown
and meat registers 140 degrees, 3 to
4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to
platter and tent with aluminum foil.
3. Add jalapeño, shallot, and garlic to
fat left in skillet and cook over medium
heat until softened, about 1 minute.
Add preserves and vinegar, bring to
quick boil, then remove from heat. Add
any accumulated meat juices from platter to skillet and season sauce with salt
and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over
chops. Serve.
To ensure even cooking,
arrange the chops
with the bones facing
outward and the meat in
the center.
You’ll need a good nonstick skillet here.
Go to
to see our testing results.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
1. FOR THE PEACHES: Toss peach-
Peach lavor can be
muted in baked goods.
We set out to make a
cofee cake that sang
loudly of peaches.
by Katie Leaird
like a juicy peach. After sinking my
teeth straight into the prettiest of the
sweet stone fruit, I save several peaches
for baking projects. For a seasonal treat
this year, I wanted to combine two
of my all-time favorites: peaches and
cofee cake.
Incorporating the fruit into the
cofee cake led me down a few diferent paths. I tried sandwiching peaches
between two layers of batter, but the
areas around the fruit became wet and
gummy; plus, the baked cake lacked
visual flair because the peachy treasures
were hidden inside. I tried showcasing
the peaches on top, snaking a coil of
slices around the cake’s perimeter. But
the fruit dried out and became leathery.
Ultimately, I arranged the peach slices
in a single layer over the cake batter and
then sprinkled a simple streusel (I’d perfect it later) over the top to protect the
fruit from the oven’s heat. Dry heat is
a challenge for fruit, but it’s perfect for
browning a crunchy streusel topping.
Cofee cake should be moist but neither too light and flufy nor too dense.
To crack the texture code, I auditioned
diferent types of dairy: milk, heavy
cream, and sour cream. While they all
worked, I found that sour cream added
the most moisture and richness without
making the cake gummy.
While many recipes call for creaming
butter and sugar, necessitating the use
of a stand mixer, I hoped for a simpler
method. Stirring in melted butter made
for a great cofee cake texture and
moved this dessert into stir-by-hand
territory. A little almond extract played
up the peachy notes (almonds and stone
fruit are botanically related and share
some ainity), and for an added jolt
of peach flavor, I stirred some peach
preserves into the batter.
To perfect the streusel topping, I
tried pecan- and walnut-studded streusels; not everyone enjoyed the textural
Our buttery brown sugar streusel topping adds a layer of sweet crunch to this bright cake.
contrast of crunchy nuts and soft baked
peaches. Instead, I opted for a simple
but tasty topping of flour, butter, brown
sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of salt.
I was making progress, but a pesky
gummy layer still sat between the fruit
and the cake. Roasting the peaches to
dry them out a little before assembling
the cake was too much work, but how
else could I rid them of extra moisture?
I knew that both sugar and salt pull water out of fruit, so I treated the peaches
with a sprinkle of each and let them sit
while I prepared the rest of the cake.
As expected, a peachy liquid pooled at
the bottom of the bowl after about
30 minutes. I discarded the excess liquid, arranged the peach slices over the
batter, and baked my best cake yet.
Another happy discovery was that
I didn’t have to peel the peaches; the
baked peels on the peach pieces were
tender, and my tasters liked the pleasing color contrast between the rosy-red
skins and the bright orange fruit.
But I hated throwing away that
syrupy, flavorful peach juice. An easy fix
was adding a measured amount of the
juice to the batter—my tasters appreciated the subtle flavor boost. This easy
cofee cake was as light and bright as
a summer sunrise—and it looked the
part, too.
20 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
Serves 8
You can use either light or dark
brown sugar in this recipe. If you have
anything less than peak-of-the-season
fresh peaches, it’s probably best to opt
for frozen peaches.
2 peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into
es, sugar, and salt together in bowl.
Let sit at room temperature until
peaches exude juice, about 30 minutes.
Drain peaches in colander set over
bowl; reserve 2 tablespoons juice.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position
and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease
9-inch springform pan.
3. FOR THE TOPPING: Stir flour,
sugar, cinnamon, and salt together
in bowl. Stir in melted butter until
clumps form. Set aside.
4. FOR THE CAKE: Whisk flour,
sugar, baking powder, and salt together in bowl. Whisk sour cream, eggs,
melted butter, vanilla, almond extract,
and reserved peach juice together
in large bowl. Add flour mixture to
sour cream mixture and stir until just
combined (batter will be quite thick).
Stir preserves into batter until just
combined (some chunks of preserves
may be visible; this is OK).
5. Transfer batter to prepared pan
and spread into even layer. Arrange
peaches in concentric circles over
batter, overlapping slightly as needed.
Sprinkle topping over peaches.
6. Bake until topping is golden brown
and toothpick inserted in center of cake
comes out with few crumbs attached,
45 to 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway
through baking. Transfer pan to wire
rack and let cool completely, about
2 hours. Run thin knife between cake
and side of pan; remove side of pan.
Cut into wedges and serve.
½-inch wedges, or 12 ounces frozen
sliced peaches, thawed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (2½ ounces) all-purpose lour
¼ cup packed (1¾ ounces) brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ cups (7½ ounces) all-purpose lour
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup peach preserves
Maximizing Peach Impact
You can get as many as 25 slices from
two fresh peaches. To make sure you get
peachy goodness in every bite, we arrange
the fruit in concentric circles, starting with
the perimeter of the cofee cake.
Milk Chocolate Revel Bars
This three-tiered cookie bar looked like it required three times the work.
We gave it a second look. by Katie Leaird
cookie bar of your childhood? The one
with a creamy milk chocolate center?
One of our copy editors does. As soon
as I described the three-layer treat that
some call “revel bars,” she closed her
eyes and traveled back to her Midwestern roots. “My mom made those when
I was a kid.” That’s all I needed to
hear. I committed to creating a recipe
for this nostalgic favorite.
Making a three-layer cookie bar can
be trying. Usually, the project involves
assembling and baking the dessert in
stages, probably juggling a few hot
pans along the way. I wanted something I could put together all at once
and bake in one go. A standard trick
for this kind of cookie bar is to make
one dough work double duty. You can
use part of the dough for a sturdy base
and then use the rest to create a crumbly topping. I just needed to create the
right dough.
Intrigued by a recipe I found in our
expansive cookbook library, I tried
grinding oats in the food processor
before incorporating them into the
dough. This made tasty, oat-flavored
cookies, but we missed the familiar
texture imparted by whole oats, so we
stuck with those.
Most recipes for revel bars call for
semisweet or bittersweet chocolate,
but after consulting with my tasters, I
decided to go with crowd-pleasing milk
chocolate. I started making the milky
fudge filling on the stovetop, but once
I realized that the chocolate merely
needed to melt, not cook, I moved to the
microwave. Instead of adding sugar and
cream, I reached for a can of sweetened
condensed milk. This thick, creamy
product is milk that has had 60 percent
of its water removed and a hefty dose
of sugar added. It’s gently heated at
the factory to smooth out any graininess and make it resistant to curdling.
Gently melting the butter, chocolate,
and sweetened condensed milk in the
microwave gave me a filling that was
easy to incorporate and both sliceable
and fudgy once baked and cooled.
Finicky fillings and cookie doughs
often have conflicting schedules; more
delicate fillings curdle in the time it
takes the crust to fully bake, so you
generally bake the crust and let it cool
before adding the other layers. If the
fudge is thin, it permeates the raw
crust and creates a soggy bottom on
the cookie bar. But with the added
insurance from my wonder product,
sweetened condensed milk, neither
of these concerns surfaced. The thick
fudge layer did not leak through the
crust, and I found that it could withstand extra time in the oven, so I could
build all three layers at once and bake
them together.
My colleague was delighted with the
chewy, sweet, oaty results, and so were
the rest of my sweet-tooth tasters, but
I wanted one more thing: almonds.
Adding a cup of chopped almonds
to the oat dough was an easy way to
boost flavor.
With a cookie bar this good, I
decided to experiment with a couple
of easy swap-in variations. Bittersweet
chips gave me a slightly less sweet
version, and I created a third version
with butterscotch chips. I set all three
out for a final tasting . . . but before I
could tally the results, all three kinds
of bars had disappeared.
Makes 24 bars
If all you can find is an 11.5-ounce bag
of chocolate chips, there’s no need to
buy a second bag to make up the extra
½ ounce. Either light or dark brown
sugar may be used in this recipe.
3 cups (9 ounces) old-fashioned
rolled oats
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose lour
11⁄2 cups packed (101⁄2 ounces)
brown sugar
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
Brown sugar, almonds, and condensed milk give these chewy bars plenty of richness.
16 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,
plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 . Adjust oven rack to middle position
and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make foil
sling for 13 by 9-inch baking pan by
folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil;
first sheet should be 13 inches wide and
second sheet should be 9 inches wide.
Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular
to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into
corners and up sides of pan, smoothing
foil flush to pan. Grease foil.
2. Combine oats, flour, sugar, almonds,
baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt in large
bowl. Whisk melted butter, eggs, and
vanilla together in second bowl. Stir
butter mixture into flour mixture until
dough forms. Set aside 1½ cups dough
for topping. Press remaining dough into
even layer in bottom of prepared pan.
3. Microwave chocolate chips, condensed milk, ¼ teaspoon salt, and
remaining 2 tablespoons butter in bowl
at 50 percent power until chocolate
chips are melted and mixture is fully
combined, 2 to 3 minutes, stirring
occasionally. (Mixture will resemble
thick fudge.)
4. Transfer chocolate mixture to pan
and spread evenly over crust to sides
of pan. Crumble reserved dough and
sprinkle pieces evenly over chocolate
mixture. Bake until topping is golden
brown, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan
to wire rack and let bars cool until set,
about 6 hours. Using foil overhang, lift
bars out of pan. Cut into 24 squares
and serve.
Substitute butterscotch chips for milk
chocolate chips.
Substitute bittersweet chocolate chips
for milk chocolate chips.
Go to
to read the full results of our tasting
of milk chocolate chips.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
One taste of these
pillowy, sugar-dusted
Hawaiian favorites
and you may never
go back to glazed raised.
by Alli Berkey
my first malasada,
something was very clear: I should have
ordered two. The soft, pillowy balloon
of dough—fried in hot oil and then
tossed lightly with sugar—featured a
mesmerizing, faintly crisp exterior and a
tiny hint of chewiness inside. Soft, sweet
and satisfying, it was unlike any doughnut I’d crossed paths with before.
With roots in Portugal, these rounds
of fried dough traveled with a diaspora that landed in ports around the
world. Today, it’s a household staple
in Portuguese American communities
from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to
Honolulu. In fact, in Hawaii, malasada
bakeries enjoy cultlike status. They’re
a perfect breakfast before a day spent
outdoors, whether on the beach or
under a waterfall.
Early tests of existing recipes revealed
one blunt truth: Malasada dough is wet!
Sticky hands and wet, greasy counters
made shaping the dough diicult and
left me facing a monumental clean-up.
But I resigned myself to a messy process—at least for now—while I nailed
down that light, slightly elastic texture.
A traditional yeasted doughnut has
two rising periods—before and after
shaping—and these early tests proved
the concept: A twofer rise was the best
way to develop the correct interior
dough texture. What’s more, the second
rise allowed more time for the yeast
flavor to develop and made the dough
easier to handle.
With that out of the way, I began
experimenting with diferent dairy
products in the dough, which I knew
I’d need for that signature richness.
I tried combinations of whole milk,
half-and-half, and, taking a cue from
some older recipes, evaporated milk.
I settled on whole milk, which delivered
the best flavor and richness. Plus, most
home cooks already have it on hand. As
for the flour, we found that using bread
flour made for malasadas with the most
pleasing chew.
A wet dough, which has a high
ratio of liquid to flour, creates a light
baked good, but it made a sticky mess
of my counters. How could I keep the
malasada dough workable and keep
A postfrying dip in granulated sugar gives these tender donuts a pleasant crunch.
it from sticking? I tried flouring my
counter to combat stickiness, but this
introduced too much excess flour to
the dough. Cutting boards were no
better. I decided to try oiling my counter—but that just left my counter oily.
I eyed a baking sheet. Could I use that
as a work surface to contain the mess?
Yes. Greasing the sheet liberally before
turning out the dough onto it for shaping was the best option. The dough
22 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
never touched my counter and, by
using a greased pizza cutter or bench
scraper, I could create 12 even pieces
with minimal mess.
To fry these malasadas, I carefully
slipped each disk into just 2 quarts
of hot oil, a fairly shallow fry. Laid
directly on the shimmering surface,
the malasadas quickly pufed to a deep
golden brown, the oil bubbling happily
around them as they cooked through. A
moment or two on a wire rack helped
drain away any excess grease before I
gave them a toss in sugar.
My top tip? Serve these piping
hot. Though malasadas are lovely and
sweet even after they’ve cooled, there’s
no substitute for pulling apart a soft,
lightly crisp doughnut and watching
the steam rise, filling the room with a
beautiful, yeasty aroma and me with
dreams of Hawaii.
Key Steps to Flufy, Soft, Tender Malasadas
Makes 12 malasadas
This dough is very wet and sticky; be
sure to grease your hands to make it
easier to work with.
21⁄4 cups (121⁄3 ounces) bread lour
1⁄4 cup (13⁄4 ounces) sugar, plus 1 cup
for coating
21⁄4 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
and cooled
1 tablespoon plus 2 quarts
vegetable oil
1. Whisk flour, ¼ cup sugar, yeast,
and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Whisk milk, eggs, and melted butter
in separate bowl until combined. Add
milk mixture to flour mixture. Fit mixer
with dough hook and mix on low speed
until dough comes together, about
2 minutes. Increase speed to medium
and knead until dough is uniform,
shiny, and sticky, about 8 minutes
(dough will not clear bottom or sides
of bowl).
2. Using greased rubber spatula,
transfer dough to greased large bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap and let rise
at room temperature until doubled in
size, 1½ to 2 hours.
3. Brush rimmed baking sheet with
1 tablespoon oil. Turn out dough onto
sheet and gently press down to deflate.
Divide dough into 12 equal pieces and
evenly space pieces on sheet. Using
your greased hands, pat each piece of
dough into 3½-inch disk (about ⅜ inch
thick). Cover sheet with plastic and let
Divide dough into 12 pieces
Turn out risen dough onto greased baking
sheet, gently press down to delate, and
divide into 12 equal pieces.
Shape with your greased hands
Using your greased hands (we used vegetable oil), gently pat each piece into disk;
cover and let rise.
Carefully drop into oil
Gently (to avoid splashing) slip 4 dough
disks into hot oil and fry for 3 minutes,
lipping halfway through frying.
dough rise at room temperature until
pufy, 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Set wire rack in second rimmed
baking sheet. Add remaining 2 quarts
oil to large Dutch oven until it measures about 1½ inches deep and heat
over medium-high heat to 350 degrees.
Gently drop 4 dough disks into hot oil
and fry until golden brown, about
3 minutes, flipping disks halfway
through frying. Adjust burner, if
necessary, to maintain oil temperature
between 325 and 350 degrees.
5. Using slotted spoon or spider skimmer, transfer malasadas to prepared
wire rack. Return oil to 350 degrees
and repeat with remaining dough disks
in 2 batches. Place remaining 1 cup
sugar in large bowl. Lightly toss malasadas, one at a time, in sugar to coat.
Transfer to platter. Serve immediately.
Illustration: Ross MacDonald
If you’re in New Orleans, Rio de Janiero, or Venice, you’ll celebrate Mardi Gras
each February. But if you’re in Hawaii on that same pre-Lent Tuesday, you’ll
celebrate Malasada Day. Portuguese immigrants began arriving in Hawaii in
the 19th century. Because they were observant
A Well-Traveled
Catholics, the lead-up to Lent involved ridding their
homes of temptations such as lard and sugar. But
rather than toss them into the trash bin or lock them up out of sight, home
cooks would set to work cooking batch after batch of malasadas.
Soon enough, these sweet, soft, simple doughnuts—sometimes square or
triangular but most often round—expanded beyond the Portuguese communities. And hey, when you’ve got a product this good, why conine it to a single
square on the calendar?
Today, many bakeries in Hawaii sell malasadas, including the famous
Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu. But the islands don’t have a monopoly on these
sweet treats: You’ll ind them in other Portuguese American communities,
such as New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Blueberry Cobbler
Dessert doesn’t have to be difficult to make. We top this simple summery cobbler
with lufy stir-and-drop buttermilk biscuits. by Katie Leaird
Serves 8
You can substitute unthawed frozen blueberries for fresh berries, but increase the
baking time in step 3 to 40 minutes.
11⁄2 cups (71⁄2 ounces) all-purpose lour
5 teaspoons sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted,
plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3⁄4 cup (51⁄4 ounces) sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
11⁄2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus
1 tablespoon juice
combine. Transfer berry mixture to 8-inch
square baking pan or ceramic dish.
Place pan on prepared sheet and bake
until illing is hot and starting to bubble
around edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer
sheet to wire rack and gently stir berry
mixture. Increase oven temperature to
475 degrees.
4. Once oven reaches 475 degrees, add
buttermilk mixture to lour mixture and
stir with rubber spatula until just incorporated. Using greased 1⁄4-cup dry measuring
cup, drop 9 scant scoops of dough, evenly
spaced, onto hot berry illing. Sprinkle tops
with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
5. Bake until biscuits are golden brown
and toothpick inserted in center biscuit
comes out clean, 12 to 14 minutes. Melt
remaining 1 tablespoon butter and brush
over biscuits. Let cobbler cool on wire
rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve.
Pinch salt
30 ounces (6 cups) blueberries
Buying Blueberries
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and
heat oven to 375 degrees. Line rimmed
baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk lour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking
powder, baking soda, and salt together in
large bowl; set aside. Stir buttermilk and
melted butter together in 2-cup liquid
measuring cup (butter will clump; this is
OK); set aside.
3. FO R TH E F IL L ING: Combine sugar,
cornstarch, lemon zest, and salt in large
bowl. Add blueberries and lemon juice
and mix gently with rubber spatula to
Our recipe calls for fresh blueberries,
but frozen are cheaper and work well
here, too (see recipe headnote). In
summer, some markets carry small
wild blueberries, which have outsize
lavor and are fantastic eaten out
of hand. But we don’t like to bake
with them, as their small size means
they break down more easily, resulting in a illing with a homogeneous
texture. We recommend sticking with
cultivated, full-size blueberries for
most baking applications.
Step by Step
1. Prepare oven and sheet
Adjust the oven rack to the middle
position and heat the oven to 375
degrees. Line a rimmed baking
sheet with parchment paper.
Why? The parchment protects
the baking sheet (and the oven) in
case the illing bubbles over.
2. Mix dry ingredients
Whisk the lour, sugar, baking
powder, baking soda, and salt
together in a large bowl; set aside.
Why? The biscuits need to be
stirred together at the last minute
later in the recipe, so we prepare
the dry ingredients ahead of time.
24 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
3. Mix buttermilk and butter
Stir the buttermilk and melted
butter together in a 2-cup liquid
measuring cup; set aside.
Why? Mixing melted butter into
cold buttermilk creates clumps
of butter that melt in the oven,
creating steam that produces a
laky, light interior.
4. Make blueberry illing
Combine the sugar, cornstarch,
lemon zest, and salt. Add the
blueberries and lemon juice and
mix gently.
Why? Cornstarch thickens the
illing without creating a starchy
texture; lemon helps balance the
sweetness with a touch of acidity.
5. Bake berries
Transfer the berry mixture to a
square baking pan. Place the pan
on the prepared sheet and bake
until the berries are hot and starting to bubble around the edges.
Why? We prebake the illing to
ensure that it is hot when we add
the biscuit topping.
Test Kitchen Tips for Making Any Fruit & Biscuit Cobbler
Bake the Fruit First
Mix Biscuits at the Last Minute
It’s important that the fruit is hot
when you drop the biscuit batter on
top—otherwise the bottoms of the biscuits will be undercooked and gummy.
Wait until just before baking to mix the
premeasured wet and dry biscuit ingredients. This ensures that the leaveners
(which are activated by liquid) will be at
full strength, contributing to a light and
lufy topping.
Can I bake this cobbler
in a glass dish?
No. Be sure to use an 8-inch square
ceramic dish or metal baking pan for this
recipe. Do not use a Pyrex (or other glass)
dish, as it is not safe at the 475-degree oven
temperature we call for.
Pro Baker’s Trick
When portioning batter or cookies
with a measuring cup, greasing the
cup irst makes for an easy release.
We like to grease measuring cups with
vegetable oil spray, but an even smear
of vegetable oil or butter works, too.
Bake on a Rimmed Baking
Sheet Lined with Parchment
Add Lemon to the Filling
Lemon enhances the fruit’s lavor
and balances the sweetness in
virtually any fruit dessert.
Cobbler illing can bubble over and
make a mess of your oven. Baking the
cobbler on a rimmed baking sheet is
good; covering the surface of the sheet
with parchment paper is even better.
Our winning square baking pan is the
Williams Sonoma Goldtouch Nonstick
8-Inch Square Cake Pan ($21.00) .
Better Butters
Our recipe testers sometimes ask us why
we use unsalted butter in recipes (as we
do in our biscuit recipe here). The reason
is simple: Diferent salted butters contain
diferent amounts of
salt, so by calling for
unsalted butter, we
can control the salt
level to make sure our
recipes work. In addition, salted butters
almost always contain
more water than unsalted butters, and the
extra water can make for baked goods that
are a bit gummy. Our favorite “fancy” (and
expensive) supermarket unsalted butter is
Plugrá European-Style, and Land O’Lakes
Unsalted Sweet Butter is our favorite
everyday option.
6. Stir berries and turn up oven
Transfer the sheet to a wire rack
and increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees. Stir the berry
mixture while the oven heats.
Why? The biscuits need a hotter
oven to rise and brown. We gently
stir the berry mixture to even out
its overall temperature.
What if I don’t have buttermilk?
Clumpy Batter Leads to Steam (and Flufy Biscuits)
Traditional biscuit recipes call for cutting cold fat (butter or shortening) into the
lour before adding the liquid. Drop biscuits—including the ones we top the cobbler with here—are easier: Just stir all the ingredients together, drop, and bake.
But some drop biscuits can turn out dense and compact, without the lakiness
and lightness we want in a biscuit. To create light and laky drop biscuits, we add
melted butter to cold buttermilk. When combined with the cold buttermilk, the
butter forms clumps. As those clumps of butter melt during baking, the water in
the butter evaporates and creates steam, which lightens the biscuits.
7. Stir together biscuit dough
Once the oven reaches 475 degrees, add the wet ingredients to
the dry; stir until just incorporated.
Why? Baking soda is activated as
soon as it’s mixed with liquid, so
it’s best to wait until just before
baking to combine the buttermilk
mixture and the lour mixture.
8. Scoop and drop biscuits
Using a greased ¼-cup dry
measuring cup, drop nine scant
scoops of dough, evenly spaced,
onto the hot berry illing.
Why? The residual heat from
baking the berry illing helps cook
the biscuit dough through from
the bottom up.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, the
test kitchen has two options for you. The
irst option is to substitute clabbered (or
acidulated) milk for the buttermilk. To
make clabbered milk, stir 1 tablespoon of
(preferably fresh) lemon juice into 1 cup
of milk (we don’t recommend skim milk
here, but all other types will work just
ine). Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes
to thicken. For a second, nondairy option,
you can substitute soy milk or oat milk for
the regular milk (note that clabbered soy
milk will thicken like regular milk but oat
milk will not).
9. Sprinkle with sugar and bake
Sprinkle the tops with sugar and
bake until the biscuits are golden
brown and a toothpick comes out
clean, 12 to 14 minutes.
Why? A inal sprinkling of sugar
before the cobbler goes into the
oven creates crispy, craggy,
golden-brown tops on the biscuits.
Go to
parchment to learn about our
favorite parchment paper.
10. Brush with butter
Melt the remaining butter and
brush it over the biscuits. Let the
cobbler cool on a wire rack for
30 minutes. Serve.
Why? Brushing the biscuits with
a little melted butter while they’re
hot keeps them moist and adds
extra buttery lavor.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Our simple, no-fuss method takes the fear out of
making omelets. by Ashley Moore
B R E A K F A S T, B R U N C H , L U N C H ,
dinner, even as a midnight snack—no
matter when you eat them, omelets are
quick, filling, and satisfying. But many
cooks are intimidated at the prospect of
making them at home—no one wants to
eat a rubbery or, worse, soupy omelet,
and there’s always the fear of mangling
one. I wanted to soothe nerves and
find an easy way to make tender, flufy
omelets with customizable stir-ins that
required little to no cooking time.
Which kind of omelet was best here?
A French omelet is lightly cooked;
is very moist, pale, and smooth; and
is typically rolled into a cylinder. An
American omelet is chunkier and more
rustic; is cooked until lightly browned,
and is commonly served in a half-moon
shape. What I like best about the
American style, though, is that it’s more
forgiving and less fussy. I was aiming for
somewhere in the middle: light and a bit
refined but also sturdy and easy to make.
You can’t make a proper omelet
without the right pan, and a 10-inch
nonstick skillet is the right tool for the
job. A proper omelet should be cooked
in butter—it’s part of the flavor profile—but I found that coating the skillet
with vegetable oil spray before adding
the butter provided extra insurance
against sticking and tearing (the fears
of every omelet maker). And a rubber
spatula is both firm enough to move the
eggs around the pan and gentle enough
to not cause harm while doing so.
After several days of experimenting
(and my fair share of ruined omelets),
I landed on a solid technique. I began
by heating a thick pat of butter in the
sprayed skillet over medium-high heat.
After whisking three eggs with a bit of
salt and pepper, I added them to the
skillet. I gently stirred with a rubber
spatula until large curds began to form,
and then I tilted the skillet to direct any
uncooked egg into the gaps I’d created.
After a gentle swipe of any cooked egg
that had climbed up the pan’s sides, I let
the eggs sit undisturbed for 30 seconds,
until they were just set. Then I took the
skillet of the heat, added some grated
cheddar cheese, covered the skillet, and
let the residual heat melt the cheese and
finish cooking the omelet.
After a quick fold, my omelet hit the
plate hot, golden brown, and perfectly
cooked. The quick cooking time means
that you can make several in a row to
feed everybody at the table.
Sometimes a cheese omelet is just
the thing, but other times you want
something more. For one variation, I
relied on the tried-and-true combination of chopped ham steak and melty
American cheese. For a simple but
flavorful variation, I added crumbled
feta cheese and chopped fresh dill; the
briny cheese and the grassy herb made
a perfect pairing. Most diners ofer a
Tex-Mex omelet, so for my version
I added some grated Monterey Jack
cheese, tangy pickled jalapeños, and
fresh cilantro. As a nod to a classic brunch ofering, I added smoked
salmon, softened cream cheese, and
capers to my final version.
Whichever variation you choose,
these omelets are easy to make and
come together quickly—perfect for any
time of day.
Our Easy Cheddar Omelet finishes cooking—including melting the cheese—off the heat.
Makes 1 omelet
Spraying the skillet with vegetable oil
spray adds an extra layer of insurance
to prevent your omelet from sticking.
3 large eggs
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1⁄8 teaspoon pepper
1⁄2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded
(1⁄4 cup)
1 . Whisk eggs, salt, and pepper in bowl
until eggs are thoroughly combined and
mixture is pure yellow. Spray 10-inch
nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray.
2 . Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat, swirling to coat skillet
bottom. When foaming subsides, add
egg mixture and cook, gently stirring
and scraping bottom of skillet with
rubber spatula in circular motion until
large curds begin to form and bare
spots are visible on bottom of skillet,
about 20 seconds.
3. Tilt skillet so uncooked eggs fill bare
spots. Run spatula around edge of skillet
and push cooked eggs down of sides.
Let cook, undisturbed, until bottom of
omelet is just set but top is still slightly
wet, about 30 seconds.
4. Remove skillet from heat. Sprinkle
cheddar over half of omelet. Cover and
let sit until cheese has melted, about
1 minute. Fold unfilled half of omelet
over filled half to create half-moon
shape. Holding plate in 1 hand, tilt
skillet to slide omelet onto plate. Serve.
26 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
Decrease salt to pinch. Substitute 1 slice
deli American cheese, torn into 1-inch
pieces, for cheddar. Add 2 ounces ham
steak, rind removed, cut into 1⁄4-inch
pieces, before covering skillet in step 4.
Decrease salt to pinch. Substitute 1⁄4 cup
crumbled feta cheese for cheddar and
add 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
before covering skillet in step 4.
Substitute shredded Monterey Jack
cheese for cheddar and add 1 tablespoon
minced pickled jalapeños and 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro before covering skillet in step 4.
Decrease salt to pinch. Substitute 1 ounce
crumbled, softened cream cheese for
cheddar. Add 1 ounce chopped smoked
salmon; 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and
minced; and 1 tablespoon minced fresh
chives before covering skillet in step 4.
Shrimp and Green Bean Stir-Fry
A simple technique—and the right choice of ingredients—is all that’s standing
between you and this tasty Chinese-inspired supper. by Alli Berkey
and easy.
The prep takes a bit of work, but once
all the ingredients have been chopped
and measured, the cooking goes
quickly. With that in mind, I set out
to develop a speedy, easy, and flavorful
shrimp and green bean stir-fry for two.
Most recipes I found for this dish
call for the same core ingredients:
shrimp, green beans, garlic, ginger,
scallions, and some mix of Asian
seasonings. A few versions use three
separate pans—one to blanch the
green beans, one to fry the shrimp,
and a third to make the sauce. That
seems excessive—and like a lot of
washing up. Could one pan do the
trick? And since every home cook
owns one, could that one pan be a
nonstick skillet?
The green beans needed a head start
because they take the longest to cook,
but I wanted to avoid the extra step
(and pot) of blanching. Sautéing them
in an open skillet before adding everything else was okay, but the outsides
of the beans got a little leathery—not
what I was after here. Instead, I tried a
test kitchen technique that combines
steaming and sautéing; I added a bit
of water to the skillet with the oil and
green beans, covered the skillet, and
cooked over medium-high heat until
the beans were just tender but still
bright green, about 5 minutes.
I pushed the green beans to one
side of the skillet and tossed in the
shrimp (plump extra-large beauties)
and garlic. I worked out the timing so
that I let the shrimp cook on their side
of the skillet for about 2 minutes, and
then I stirred them together with the
beans and let it all go for another few
minutes. Then the ginger and scallions
went in just until they released their
flavor and aroma, which took only a
hot minute. On to the sauce.
I wanted all the sauce ingredients
to be available in supermarkets. After
working through several iterations, I
landed on a flavorful combination of
dry sherry, soy sauce, oyster sauce for
complexity, and spicy Asian chili-garlic
sauce. These flavorful components
came together to form a potent sauce
that, with just another minute of
cooking, coated the shrimp and beans
perfectly. This quick-cooking dish was
pleasantly salty, deeply savory, and
surprisingly complex. Now, where’s my
fortune cookie?
Cooking in Stages
The cooking goes quickly here, so the
timing of adding ingredients is important.
1. We give the green beans a jump start
by cooking them covered for 5 minutes.
2. Then we push the green beans to one
side of the skillet and add the shrimp.
After 2 more minutes, we stir everything
together, cook it a little longer, and then
add the aromatics and sauce.
Cutting the green beans on the bias makes for a more attractive presentation.
1 teaspoon cornstarch
8 ounces green beans, trimmed and
We prefer untreated shrimp—those
without added sodium or preservatives such as sodium tripolyphosphate
(STPP). Most frozen supermarket E-Z
peel shrimp have been treated. To be
sure, check the ingredient list. Shrimp
should be the only ingredient listed
on the package. If you’re using treated
shrimp, use low-sodium soy sauce. Lee
Kum Kee makes our favorite oyster
sauce. Serve with rice.
1⁄4 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons Asian chili-garlic sauce
cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces extra-large shrimp
(21 to 25 per pound), peeled,
deveined, and tails removed
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
2 scallions, white parts minced,
green parts sliced thin
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1. Whisk ¼ cup water, sherry, soy
sauce, oyster sauce, chili-garlic sauce,
and cornstarch together in bowl; set
2. Combine green beans, 2 tablespoons
water, and 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch
nonstick skillet. Cover and cook over
medium-high heat until green beans
are just tender, about 5 minutes.
3. Push green beans to 1 side of
skillet. Add shrimp, garlic, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil to cleared side of
skillet. Cook, uncovered, until shrimp
are spotty brown and edges turn pink,
about 2 minutes. Stir green beans and
shrimp together and continue to cook
until shrimp are no longer translucent,
about 2 minutes longer.
4. Add scallion whites and ginger to
skillet and cook, stirring frequently,
until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add
sherry mixture and cook until sauce is
slightly thickened, about 30 seconds.
Sprinkle with scallion greens and serve.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Crab Cake Dinner
This gratifying one-pan meal—crab cakes, roasted corn, and seasoned
wedge fries—tastes like the best of summer. by Cecelia Jenkins
A U T H E N T I C M A RY L A N D - S T Y L E
cakes are made with little
besides top-quality crabmeat. Sure,
you need a few seasonings and a bit of
binder—but not too much or you risk
masking the fresh crab’s sweet flavor
and plump, tender texture. I wanted
to make similarly straightforward crab
cakes the centerpiece of a summery
one-pan supper that included sweet
corn and crisp wedge fries on the side.
I started with the crab cakes. Finding the right crabmeat can be tricky.
Our advice is to skip the shelf-stable
canned stuf and go to the seafood
counter at the grocery store, where,
if you’re lucky, they ofer two good
options: freshly cooked and picked
crabmeat (expensive and delicious) and
pasteurized crabmeat (which is less
expensive and lasts longer). Both are
good choices here.
After blotting excess moisture from
the crab, I added a little mayonnaise
for richness, Dijon mustard and a
pinch of cayenne for tanginess and a bit
of heat, and minced scallions for fresh,
subtle onion flavor. These cakes tasted
great, but they didn’t hold toegther
well. I needed something to bind them.
A quarter-cup of panko bread crumbs
and a single egg provided just enough
structure to help the crab cakes keep
their shape without making them stif
or gummy.
Now, on to the vegetables. Knowing
that potatoes take longer to cook than
corn, I cut the potatoes into wedges,
tossed them in a bit of oil and—as a
shout to seaside crab dinners—Old
Bay seasoning, and roasted them in a
425-degree oven until they were partially done. Then I pushed the fries aside
and added the corn kernels (freshly cut
from sweet summer corn), which I’d
mixed with some chopped bell pepper
and onion, to the other end of the sheet
before carefully placing the delicate crab
cakes in the middle and returning the
sheet to the oven. The results were less
than stellar: leathery potatoes, steamy
corn, and dry, pale crab cakes.
Maybe the spuds didn’t need a head
start? I tried another batch, roasting
the corn and potatoes together for
15 minutes before adding the crab
cakes to the center of the sheet for the
last 20 minutes of cooking. Much to
my surprise, the corn came out great,
lightly browned and with a deep, nutty
roasted flavor.
Both of the vegetables were nicely
cooked, but I wanted deeper browning,
especially on the crab cakes. Cranking
the temperature to 475 degrees and
lowering the oven rack did the trick.
For a final flourish, I flipped the cakes
browned side up and added a squeeze
of lemon and a sprinkling of basil over
the golden corn. This is the easiest—
and tastiest—crab cake dinner ever.
BAY F R I ES Serves 4
Buy crabmeat (either fresh or pasteurized) packed in plastic containers in the
refrigerated section of your grocer’s
fish department. We do not recommend canned crabmeat. Be sure to use
a heavyweight rimmed baking sheet;
our favorite is the Nordic Ware
Baker’s Half Sheet. We like Ian’s Panko
Breadcrumbs, Original Style.
1 pound fresh crabmeat, picked over
for shells
1⁄4 cup panko bread crumbs
3 scallions, minced
1 large egg
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Tartar sauce
4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs
1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed,
seeded, and cut into
This satisfying supper is packed with plenty of robust summer flavors.
1⁄2-inch pieces
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
Salt and pepper
2 russet potatoes, unpeeled,
each cut lengthwise into 8 equal
11⁄2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
plate with triple layer of paper towels.
Transfer crabmeat to prepared plate and
pat dry with additional paper towels.
Combine panko, scallions, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, and cayenne in bowl.
Using rubber spatula, gently stir in
crabmeat until combined. Discard paper
towels. Divide mixture into 4 equal
28 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
portions (about ½ cup each). Shape
portions into tight balls, then shape
balls into cakes measuring about 1 inch
thick and 3 inches wide (cakes will be
delicate). Transfer cakes to now-empty
plate and refrigerate until ready to use.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle
position and heat oven to 475 degrees.
Toss corn, onion, bell pepper, 2 tablespoons oil, garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, and
¼ teaspoon pepper together in bowl.
Transfer corn mixture to one half of
rimmed baking sheet.
3. In now-empty bowl, toss potatoes,
Old Bay, and remaining 2 tablespoons
oil together. Arrange potatoes cut side
down in single layer on empty half
of sheet. Bake until corn mixture is
just softened and potatoes are lightly
browned on bottom, about 15 minutes.
4. Remove sheet from oven. Using
metal spatula, clear section in middle
of sheet by pushing potatoes into pile
at 1 end of sheet and corn mixture into
another pile at opposite end of sheet.
Place butter on now-empty middle
section of sheet and use metal spatula to
evenly distribute. Using spatula, gently
place crab cakes on middle section of
sheet. Return sheet to oven and bake until crab cakes are golden on bottom and
potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
5. Transfer sheet to wire rack. Stir basil
and lemon juice into corn mixture and
season with salt and pepper to taste. Flip
crab cakes browned side up. Serve with
tartar sauce.
Pork Posole
This hearty, comforting, lively Mexican soup deserves a wider audience.
by Matthew Fairman
deeply flavored corn kernels essential
to Mexican cooking (see “Big Corn,
Big Corn Flavor”), is called posole in
Spanish. But posole is also the name
of the robust, long-simmered soup
made with those kernels; it is typically
made with either pork or chicken and
can be green or red depending on the
type of chiles that bolster it. I figured
posole was a great candidate for the
slow cooker, so I chose my favorite
version, red pork posole (we’ll save
the green version for another day),
and got cracking on a recipe for this
deeply satisfying soup.
The recipes for slow-cooker posole
that I found tend to take a simple approach; most of them call for tossing
the pork into the cooker with chili
powder, chopped onion, hominy, broth,
tomatoes, and maybe some canned
chiles. The results are decent but not
as deeply savory and flavorful as the
traditional stovetop version. I decided
to start from scratch, hoping to keep
the process as simple as possible.
I made three versions of a basic
recipe, one using pork butt roast, one
with lean pork loin, and one with
country-style pork ribs. I served these
to my tasters side by side, and they
overwhelmingly chose the posole
made with the roast for its deep porky
savor and silky, tender (after 7 hours
of slow cooking) texture. The soup
was even tastier—both richer and
deeper—when I browned the chunks
of pork in a skillet before adding them
to the slow cooker. To minimize the
amount of up-front work, I found that
I could brown just half the 2½ pounds
of pork I was using and still reap the
flavorful rewards.
After I’d added the browned chunks
to the slow cooker with the remaining
raw cubed pork, I spied the dark fond
left in the skillet and saw an opportunity. I tossed some chopped onion
into the hot skillet and, when it had
softened (and the moisture from the
onion had loosened and released the
fond), I added garlic, chili powder, and
dried oregano so they could quickly
bloom and release their full flavors.
I transferred the onion mixture to the
cooker with the pork and added two
cans of drained hominy, some chicken
broth, and a can of diced tomatoes.
I covered the cooker, turned it to
high, and went about my business
while the soup cooked away.
H O M I N Y, T H E O V E R S I Z E
Seven (or so) hours later, I lifted
the lid and paused as the amazing
aroma of savory pork, sweet corn,
and fragrant spices stopped me in my
tracks. It took a bit of willpower to
keep my spoon out of the steaming
posole while I readied the traditional
garnishes of diced avocado, sliced
radishes, chopped cilantro, and lime
wedges. Finally, I called my tasters.
They were floored. Not just at how
flavorful the soup was, but at how its
depth triggered an emotional response
of comfort and, well, pleasure. And
if a weeknight dinner can accomplish
that, I think it’s a winner.
Serves 6 to 8
Do not rinse the hominy after draining it; its starchiness gives the soup
extra body. We like to serve this
posole with a variety of toppings,
such as diced avocado, thinly sliced
radishes, chopped fresh cilantro, and
lime wedges. Morton & Bassett Chili
Powder is our taste test favorite.
21⁄2 pounds boneless pork butt roast,
trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
11⁄2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 (15-ounce) cans white or yellow
hominy, drained
3 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 . Season pork with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just
smoking. Add half of pork and cook
until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer all pork (browned and
raw) to slow cooker.
2 . Add onion and ½ teaspoon salt
to now-empty skillet and cook over
medium heat until softened and
browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in
garlic, chili powder, and oregano and
cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer onion mixture to slow
cooker. Stir in hominy, broth, and
tomatoes and their juice. Cover and
cook until pork is tender, 6 to 7 hours
on high or 7 to 8 hours on low.
3. Using large spoon or ladle, skim fat
from surface of stew. Season with salt
and pepper to taste. Serve.
This simple soup is loaded with vibrant, comforting flavors.
Big Corn, Big Corn Flavor
Hominy is dried ield (not sweet)
corn that is cooked in an alkaline
solution in a process called nixtamalization. This process unlocks
nutrients and toasty lavors from
the corn and is what gives oversize
hominy its oversize corn lavor.
This process is also what allows
hominy—when dried and ground into
a lour called masa harina—to be
formed into a dough. This lavorful
dough, masa, is then used to make
corn tortillas (and thus tortilla chips),
tamales, arepas, pupusas, and more.
Hominy is sold in both white and yellow varieties, either of which is great
in this recipe.
We use the two varieties interchangeably
in the test kitchen.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Plastic Wrap
Using plastic wrap can be an exercise in frustration. Could we ind a stress-free version?
8 Wraps
8 Tests
• Wrap metal, glass, plastic, and ceramic
• Wrap glass bowls; refrigerate and
monitor cling weekly for 2 months
• Seal and reseal glass bowl 10 times
• Cover plastic cutting board and use to
pound chicken cutlets
• Roll cheese logs
• Wrap chicken breasts and freeze them,
checking for ice crystals weekly for
2 months
• Dispense one hundred 12-inch sheets
• Have 5 users with diferent dominant
hands use and evaluate
plastic wrap to help
store and freeze food and to aid in
performing certain kitchen tasks, such
as pounding cutlets and making logs
of cheese, cookie dough, or compound
butter. But it can be a pain to use, with
wrap that sticks to itself, boxes that
fall apart over time, and dangerous
exposed serrated blades. We wanted to
find a wrap that would cling tightly to
diferent containers and also be easy
to dispense and use, so we rounded
up the seven top-selling plastic wraps
(according to IRI, a Chicago-based
market research firm), as well as a bulk
commercial food-service wrap available
online. The products ranged in price
from $1.30 to $4.19 per 100 square feet.
We started by testing cling: We put
8 ounces of grapes in vessels of diferent
materials (metal, glass, and plastic bowls
and a ceramic baking dish) and covered
each container with a sheet of plastic.
Then we turned the containers upside
down and shook them. All the wraps
clung well to metal, glass, and ceramic.
However, the two products made by
Saran refused to adhere to the plastic
bowl in our grape test. According to
Robert Heard, teaching professor in
the Materials Science and Engineering
Department at Carnegie Mellon University, this is likely due to the type of
proprietary adhesives that manufacturers add to the base material (in today’s
wraps, either polyvinyl chloride or
polyethylene). Each wrap gets its cling
from these adhesives, so one that clings
tightly to glass might not do as well
with plastic. The top-performing wraps
clung well to every surface.
by Miye Bromberg
Good +++
Fair ++
Poor +
Our Favorite
Best Buy
Clear High Cling Freezer Wrap
Premium Plastic Food Wrap
Ease of Use
Price: $13.21 for 315 sq ft
($4.19 per 100 sq ft)
Width: 15 in Thickness: 0.68 mm
Cutter: Slider and serrated blade
Comments: This wide, ultraclingy wrap was the thickest and strongest
in the lineup, and its slide cutter made it a cinch to dispense.
Price: $5.99 for 250 sq ft
($2.40 per 100 sq ft)
Width: 11.6 in Thickness: 0.44 mm
Cutter: Slider or serrated blade
Ease of Use
Comments: Though thinner than our winner, this wrap was just as
clingy and was equipped with the same easy-to-use slide cutter.
Reynolds Foodservice Film
Glad Freezer Wrap
Glad Cling Wrap
Price: $39.90 for 3,000 sq ft
Price: $3.02 for 150 sq ft
Price: $3.19 for 200 sq ft
($1.33 per 100 sq ft)
Width: 18 in Thickness: 0.36 mm
Cutter: Slider
($2.01 per 100 sq ft)
Width: 12 in Thickness: 0.55 mm
Cutter: Serrated blade
Comments: This wrap
was durable, with good
cling, but its blade made
it hard to dispense clean Ease of Use
sheets. The box bent by
the end of testing.
This commercial
wrap was wide and
clingy but was also
thin and tore easily.
The box is huge.
Ease of Use
($1.60 per 100 sq ft)
Width: 11.6 in Thickness: 0.3 mm
Cutter: Serrated blade
Comments: Very
clingy, this was the
narrowest, thinnest
wrap in our lineup. Its
blade made it hard to
neatly dispense.
Ease of Use
Saran Premium Wrap
Glad Press’n Seal
Saran Cling Plus Wrap
Price: $4.19 for 140 sq ft
Price: $2.59 for 200 square feet
($1.30 per 100 sq ft)
($2.99 per 100 sq ft)
Comments: Good
cling, but a dull
dispenser blade
mangled the wrap.
Ease of Use
We also examined how well the
wraps resealed, using one sheet to
seal and reseal a glass bowl of grapes
10 times, shaking the bowl after every
attempt. All the wraps were capable
of resealing each time—as long as
there was enough material left. Upon
restretching, some wraps tore at the
edges, giving us less material to work
with. To see if thickness had any bearing on durability, we had the wraps
measured by an independent lab and
found that those that tore more easily
were less than 0.5 millimeters thick.
Thicker wraps were more durable,
resisting tears and deformation. Thickness did not matter, however, in our
freezer tests; all the wraps kept chicken
breasts similarly free from ice crystals
for a full two months.
Roll width set the food-service wrap
apart. One of the thinnest products we
30 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
Price: $2.59 for 100 sq ft ($2.59 per 100 sq ft)
Comments: This wrap
Comments: This thin
wrap tore easily and
struggled to reseal. It
didn’t stick to plastic.
Ease of Use
tested, it tore more easily under stress,
but at 18 inches across—50 percent
wider than most other wraps in our
lineup—it allowed us to cover more
area in a single pass, which is useful for
big jobs. Still, the size of food-service
wrap is overkill for most home cooks,
as it takes up a lot of space.
But cling and roll size don’t matter
much if you can’t easily dispense the
wrap. We preferred safer, easier slide
cutters to serrated blades. The blades
made it harder to tear clean sheets, and
the repeated tearing motion put stress
on the box, breaking it down over time.
Our favorite, Freeze-Tite Clear
High Cling Freezer Wrap, has an
easy-to-use slide cutter, was the thickest in the bunch, and, at 15 inches
wide, was small enough to easily store.
It also ofered more coverage than any
other consumer wrap we tested.
didn’t stick to plastic. It
was thick and durable,
but its box design
made it impossible to
tear of clean sheets.
Ease of Use
Wrapping Tip: Stretch It
To get the best possible seal, pull the wrap
slightly beyond the rim of the container
and then press it on. By stretching the
wrap, you increase the friction between
the wrap and the container: The wrap
wants to return to its natural, unstretched
state, so it will cling more tightly to the
container as it attempts to get there.
Which all-around sauce
strikes the best balance
between ire and lavor?
by Emily Phares
market is, well,
hot. While hot sauces haven’t caught
up to mayonnaise or ketchup, the
top-selling condiments in America,
they reached more than $538 million in
sales in 2017—an increase of more than
30 percent since 2012. These sauces are
traditionally made of peppers, vinegar,
and salt, and we use them to liven up
dishes ranging from eggs to wings.
In a previous tasting, we declared
Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce our
favorite. But since then, we’ve come to
think of Sriracha as a separate category
of hot sauce. It typically includes sugar
and is more garlic-forward, with less
of a vinegary tang. Plus, traditional
hot sauce and Sriracha often produce
noticeably diferent results when used
in large amounts. So we set out to find
a new traditional hot sauce winner, with
plans to publish the results of a Sriracha
sauce tasting in a future issue.
We selected the seven top-selling
nationally available North American
hot sauces based on sales data from IRI,
a Chicago-based market research firm.
Prices ranged from $1.29 to $4.59 per
bottle. We sampled each plain (with
plenty of palate-soothing whole milk
at the ready), drizzled over Creamy
Cheese Grits, and in Bufalo Wing
Sauce on chicken wings.
Curious to learn just how hot our
sauces were, we sent them to an independent lab, which measured each product’s
capsaicinoids, the chemical compounds
responsible for peppers’ spiciness. The
lab then provided us with Scoville Heat
Unit (SHU) ratings, which quantify how
hot a food is. For example, a jalapeño can
range from 2,500 to 5,000 SHU. Our
lineup varied from 450 to 3,000 SHU,
but overall, our panel of tasters didn’t
have a clear preference regarding heat:
Our winning sauce registered a pleasant,
“spicy but not too spicy” 690 SHU,
whereas our runner-up was considerably
spicier, clocking in at 1,700 SHU. We
also liked the potent 3,000-SHU sauce,
while the two mildest sauces—just
450 and 490 SHU—ranked lower than
most of the others, though they still
garnered mostly favorable reviews.
Frank’s RedHot Original
Cayenne Pepper Sauce
Our favorite hot sauce had a thick texture
and “vibrant” lavor that was “tangy” and
“not too hot.” When used in our Bufalo
Wing Sauce, it created a “good coating”
on chicken wings; it was “full-lavored,”
with a “hint of sweet” on grits. Tasters
even liked it plain, praising its “assertive”
lavor that left a pleasant aftertaste.
Price: $3.49 for 12 oz
In addition to varying heat levels,
our lineup featured an array of textures, from thin and watery to viscous
and gritty. But as with our response
to heat levels, we didn’t have a clear
texture preference; tasters found even
the “gritty” product perfectly acceptable in all applications. Our favorite
hot sauce was on the thicker side, while
the runner-up was relatively thin.
What mattered most was hot sauce
that wasn’t just heat. Tasters preferred
complex flavor; our favorite sauces were
tangy and sweet, with discernible heat.
By contrast, our lowest-ranked sauce
was deemed hot but flavorless—or, as
one taster put it, “all pain, no gain.”
The top two products in our lineup
listed peppers as their first ingredient,
meaning they had a higher ratio of
peppers to other ingredients. Additionally, both products’ labels specified
that the peppers had been aged. Our
science editor explained that the natural
fermentation that happens during this
aging process (the salted pepper mash is
fermented in wooden barrels or plastic
vats) creates deep, complex flavor.
We also noticed that our top two
sauces had the highest amounts of
sodium, at 190 milligrams and
200 milligrams per teaspoon, respectively. Our rankings tracked with
decreasing sodium levels: The middle
of the pack had less than our winners,
and the bottom two had the least.
Perhaps paradoxically, our favorite
all-around hot sauce, Frank’s Original
RedHot Cayenne Pepper Sauce ($3.49
per 12-ounce bottle), wasn’t all that hot.
But we rated it highly for its vibrant
flavor, which was tangy, a bit sweet,
and spicy without being overwhelming.
It clung nicely to chicken wings, and
tasters raved about its “perfect” Bufalo
flavor—not all that surprising since it
was reportedly used to create the original Bufalo wings at the iconic Anchor
Bar in Bufalo, New York. Tasters loved
this full-flavored sauce on grits, too. If
you prefer bolder heat, our runner-up,
Original Louisiana Brand Hot Sauce
($1.29 per 6-ounce bottle), is an excellent option.
($0.29 per oz)
Pepper Type: Aged cayenne
SHU: 690
Sodium: 190 mg
This “thin” sauce’s “hard-hitting heat”
was “bold” but balanced by a “fruity,”
“sweet” lavor. There was a “good amount
of burn,” as its Scoville rating indicates,
but we liked its “depth” and “layers of
lavor.” Tasters also thought it clung nicely
to chicken wings.
Original Louisiana Brand
Hot Sauce
Price: $1.29 for 6 oz
($0.22 per oz)
Pepper Type: “A special blend of aged
SHU: 1,700
Sodium: 200 mg
With the highest SHU rating in the lineup,
this sauce had “lots of heat,” which “builds
and lingers,” with some tasters noting that
it was “sweet at irst, then spicy.” It had
“a lot of complexity,” with a “fruity and
smoky” lavor that our panel thought was
“delicious.” Its “thick,” “gritty” texture was
noteworthy but inofensive.
Hot Sauce
Price: $2.19 for 10 oz
($0.22 per oz)
Pepper Type: Not disclosed
SHU: 3,000
Sodium: 110 mg
We especially liked this “tangy,” “peppery”
sauce plain, with its “smooth, buttery
texture” and “good balance of heat and
vinegar.” It tasted a bit “sweet” on grits,
and we liked its “mild heat” on chicken
wings: It “builds slowly” toward a “good
spice inish.”
Texas Pete
Original Hot Sauce
Price: $2.19 for 12 oz
($0.18 per oz)
Pepper Type: Proprietary blend
of cayenne peppers
SHU: 710
Sodium: 90 mg
Tasters noted that this “citrusy,” “tart”
sauce had “very mild heat,” which made
sense given that it had the lowest Scoville
Heat Unit rating in the lineup. This sauce
had an “acidic kick” and a “subtle,” “balanced,” “smoky” lavor that was also “a
bit sweet” on grits and chicken wings. Its
“thin” texture still coated wings well.
Hot Sauce
Price: $3.99 for 5 oz
($0.80 per oz)
Pepper Type: Arbol and
piquin peppers
SHU: 450
Sodium: 110 mg
Valentina Salsa Picante
This “grainy” hot sauce was “thick and
ketchup-like,” with a “mild” spice level. It
tasted “dull” and “lat” on chicken wings,
with “not enough heat.” It “doesn’t seem
like your classic hot sauce,” said one
taster, though others enjoyed its “fruity,”
“rich” lavor, especially on grits.
Price: $1.29 for 12.5 oz
($0.10 per oz)
Pepper Type: Serrano, puya,
and paprika peppers
SHU: 490
Sodium: 64 mg
Tabasco Brand
Pepper Sauce
Price: $4.59 for 5 oz
($0.92 per oz)
Pepper Type: Tabasco peppers
SHU: 2,800
Sodium: 35 mg
An independent lab calculated Scoville Heat Units (SHU).
Sodium levels are based on a 1-teaspoon serving.
As one taster said, the “spice punches you
in the face and you can’t taste anything
but heat.” Tastes “like a shot of vinegar,”
said another. And while our tasting panel
found the “one dimensional,” “overpowering heat” of this sauce overly aggressive
when tasted plain, with grits, and in wing
sauce, we realize the “distinctive, sharp
lavor” is appealing to those who grew up
with this style of hot sauce.
J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 8
Makes about 1 quart
Main dishes
Depending on the size of your jar, you
may have extra brine. The important
thing is to make sure the rind is fully
submerged. You can experiment and
add diferent combinations of spices to
the brine.
Grilled Flank Steak with Soy Dressing 10
Grilled Mojo Chicken 12
Grilled Strip Steaks with Green Rice
and Cilantro Sauce RC
Italian Sausages with Balsamic
Stewed Tomatoes RC
Jalapeño-Apricot Glazed Pork Chops 19
Korean Sizzling Beef Lettuce Wraps RC
Lemon-Herb Pork Tenderloin with
Green Beans RC
One-Batch Fried Chicken 7
One-Pan Crab Cakes with Roasted Corn
and Old Bay Fries 28
Pan-Seared Chicken with Arugula
Pesto Farfalle RC
Roasted Chicken Thighs with
Giardiniera Relish RC
Shrimp and Green Bean Stir-Fry for Two 27
Slow-Cooker Pork Posole 29
Smoked Fish Tacos 15
Steak Pizzaiola 18
2 pounds watermelon rind
1⁄2 cinnamon stick
This recipe was buried in a recipe box
that belonged to my grandmother. She
grew up at a time when pickling produce wasn’t done for fun but to ensure a
full winter larder. These crunchy little
bites are full of flavor and fun to eat.
Editor in Chief
11⁄4 cups cider vinegar
11⁄4 cups sugar
11⁄2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 . Using vegetable peeler, remove green
skin from watermelon rind; discard.
Using spoon, scrape any remaining pink
flesh from white rind; discard. Cut rind
into 2 by ½-inch strips.
2 . Combine rind and cinnamon stick
in 1-quart glass jar with tight-fitting
lid. Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and coriander
seeds in small saucepan. Bring to boil
over medium-high heat. Pour brine
into jar, making sure all rind pieces are
submerged. Let cool completely, about
1 hour.
3. Aix jar lid and refrigerate for at
least 2 hours before serving. (Pickles
will keep, refrigerated, for at least
1 week.)
We’re looking for recipes that you treasure—the ones that have been handed down in your
family for a generation or more, that always come out for the holidays, and that have earned
a place at your table and in your heart through many years of meals. Send us the recipes that
spell home to you. Visit (or write to Heirloom Recipes,
Cook’s Country, 21 Drydock Avenue, Suite 210E, Boston, MA 02210) and tell us a little about
the recipe. Include your name and mailing address. If we print your recipe, you’ll receive a free
one-year subscription to Cook’s Country.
Summer is road trip season, and this
year we’re headed to Texas, where
we’ll uncover the secrets to making
superjuicy Smoked Brisket at home.
We’ll turn north to learn about Chicago
Thin-Crust Pizza, a cracker-crust pie
with cheese sprinkled all the way to the
edge. Blueberry Cornbread from North
Carolina and a Virginia Peanut Pie
round out the menu. Come along for the
ride in our August/September issue!
A tiny version of this rooster has been
hidden in the pages of this issue. Write to
us with its location, and we’ll enter you in
a random drawing. The first correct entry
drawn will win our favorite plastic wrap, and
each of the next five will receive a free
one-year subscription to Cook’s Country.
To enter, visit
by July 30, 2018, or write to Rooster JJ18,
Cook’s Country, 21 Drydock Avenue, Suite
210E, Boston, MA 02210. Include your name
and address. Pam Bonham of Squaw Valley,
California, found the rooster in the
February/March 2018 issue on page 18
and won our favorite kitchen tongs.
Free for four months online at
Grilled Flank Steak with Basil Dressing
Tasting Canned Tomatoes
Tasting Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Tasting Flour Tortillas
Side dishes
Cheesy Ranch Potatoes 9
Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus 11
Kentucky Red Slaw 8
Pickled Watermelon Rind 32
Tasting Lemon Curd
Tasting Milk Chocolate Chips
Tasting Supermarket Prosciutto
Testing Chimney Starters
Testing Nonstick Skillets
Testing Parchment Paper
Open-Faced Chicken, Bacon, and
Cheddar Melts RC
Philadelphia Pork Sandwiches 5
Southwestern Tomato and Corn Salad 13
Vegetarian Cobb Salad RC
Easy Cheddar Omelet 26
Feta and Dill 26
Ham and Cheese 26
Smoked Salmon 26
Tex-Mex 26
Peach Cofee Cake 20
Homemade Taco-Size Flour Tortillas 16
Frozen Lemonade Cake
Malasadas 23
Milk Chocolate Revel Bars 21
Butterscotch 21
Dark Chocolate 21
Summer Blueberry Cobbler 24
RC=Recipe Card
32 C O O K ’ S C O U N T R Y • J U N E / J U L Y 2 0 1 8
Download the Cook’s Country app for
iPad and start a free trial subscription or
purchase a single issue of the magazine. All
issues are enhanced with full-color Cooking
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instructions for completing recipes, plus
expanded reviews and ratings. Go to to download our
app through iTunes.
Grilled Strip Steaks with
Green Rice and Cilantro Sauce
Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Giardiniera Relish
Lemon-Herb Pork Tenderloin
with Green Beans
Vegetarian Cobb Salad
Roasted Chicken Thighs
with Giardiniera Relish Serves 4
Grilled Strip Steaks with Green Rice
and Cilantro Sauce Serves 4
W H Y T H I S R E C I P E W O R K S : Store-bought giardiniera adds crunchy
texture and vinegary pop to the roasted chicken thighs.
up the process.
Cooking the rice as you would pasta speeds
1 (16-ounce) jar giardiniera, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon brine
3 cups fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped coarse
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper lakes
8 (5- to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
Salt and pepper
Salt and pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon red pepper lakes
1⁄2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine giardiniera and brine, 1⁄4 cup oil, parsley, and pepper lakes in
bowl. Set aside.
2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high
heat until just smoking. Add chicken, skin side down, and cook until well
browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip chicken and transfer skillet to oven. Cook
until chicken registers 175 degrees, about 15 minutes. Transfer chicken
to platter and top with relish. Serve.
Serve with roasted potatoes or crusty bread.
2 (1-pound) strip steaks, trimmed and halved crosswise
1. Pulse cilantro, vinegar, garlic, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper,
and pepper lakes in food processor until inely chopped, about 12 pulses.
Transfer to bowl and stir in 1⁄2 cup oil; set aside.
2. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add rice and
2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, about
12 minutes. Drain rice in ine-mesh strainer and return it to saucepan.
Stir 3 tablespoons cilantro sauce into rice. Cover and set aside.
3. Pat steaks dry with paper towels. Brush steaks with remaining
2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over hot ire until
meat registers 125 degrees (for medium-rare), 4 to 8 minutes per side.
Serve with rice and remaining cilantro sauce.
California Olive Ranch Everyday Extra Virgin Olive
Oil is our preferred supermarket extra-virgin olive oil.
Lemon-Herb Pork Tenderloin
with Green Beans Serves 4
Browning the pork before roasting it adds
color and lavor.
Vegetarian Cobb Salad
Serves 4
For a meatless take on this classic hearty
dinner salad, we toss mixed greens and chickpeas in a creamy dressing
of yogurt, whole-grain mustard, and fresh dill and top the greens with
soft-boiled eggs, croutons, and avocado.
2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
11⁄2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
5 teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
Salt and pepper
11⁄2 pounds green beans, trimmed
8 large eggs
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 slices hearty white sandwich bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
Salt and pepper
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2⁄3 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1⁄2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1⁄4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
7 ounces (7 cups) mixed greens
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed
Pat pork dry with paper towels and sprinkle with thyme, 1 tablespoon
lemon zest, 3⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄2 teaspoon pepper. Toss green beans,
1 tablespoon oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper together on
rimmed baking sheet. Push green beans to sides of sheet, leaving center
of sheet clear.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat
until just smoking. Cook pork until browned on all sides, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer pork to cleared center of sheet. Roast until pork registers
140 degrees and green beans are tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Transfer pork to carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.
Add almonds, garlic, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest, and remaining
2 tablespoons oil to green beans and toss to combine. Slice pork and
serve with green beans.
1 avocado, pitted and quartered
If you wash your green beans, make sure they’re
thoroughly dry before roasting.
1. Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Gently
lower eggs into boiling water and cook for 6 minutes. Transfer eggs to
medium bowl illed with ice water and let sit until cool, about 3 minutes.
Peel eggs and set aside.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat
until shimmering. Add bread, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown and crisp, about
10 minutes.
3. Whisk yogurt, dill, mustard, 1⁄4 teaspoon salt, 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper,
and remaining 2 tablespoons oil together in large bowl. Add greens
and chickpeas and toss to combine. Divide salad among plates. Divide
avocado, croutons, and eggs among salads. Serve.
For ripe avocados at their creamy best, look for
purple-black (not green) fruit that yields slightly when gently squeezed.
Korean Sizzling Beef Lettuce Wraps
Italian Sausages with
Balsamic Stewed Tomatoes
Open-Faced Chicken, Bacon,
and Cheddar Melts
Pan-Seared Chicken with
Arugula Pesto Farfalle
Italian Sausages with
Balsamic Stewed Tomatoes
Serves 4
W H Y T H I S R E C I P E W O R K S : Steaming the sausages before browning
them ensures that they will be fully cooked through.
11⁄2 pounds Italian sausage
1 large onion, halved and sliced
Korean Sizzling Beef Lettuce Wraps
Serves 4
For a simple weeknight meal that is ready
in less than 30 minutes, we toss browned ground beef with a savory
Korean barbecue–inspired sauce.
1 English cucumber, halved and sliced thin
1⁄4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1⁄4 cup mayonnaise
1⁄4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper
11⁄2 pounds plum tomatoes, cored and chopped
1⁄4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
11⁄2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
1. Combine sausages, onion, wine, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar,
1 tablespoon water, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper in 12-inch
nonstick skillet and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook
until sausages are gray and onion is tender, about 8 minutes.
2. Uncover and increase heat to medium-high. Continue to cook until
sausages are browned and register 160 degrees, about 3 minutes longer.
Transfer sausages to platter.
3. Add tomatoes, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar to skillet. Cook until tomatoes begin to break down and
sauce has thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in basil and season with salt
and pepper to taste. Pour tomato mixture over sausages. Serve.
1 head Bibb lettuce (8 ounces), leaves separated
1. Combine cucumber and vinegar in bowl; set aside. Combine mayon-
naise and Sriracha in second bowl; set aside. Combine soy sauce, sugar,
garlic, and oil in third bowl.
2. Cook beef in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until any juices
have evaporated and beef begins to fry in its own fat, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add soy sauce mixture to skillet and cook until nearly evaporated, about
2 minutes. To serve, ill lettuce leaves with beef mixture and top with
pickled cucumbers and Sriracha mayonnaise.
Serve with crusty bread or polenta.
Rice also makes a great accompanying illing for
these lettuce wraps.
Pan-Seared Chicken with
Arugula Pesto Farfalle Serves 4
Open-Faced Chicken, Bacon, and
Cheddar Melts Serves 4
W H Y T H I S R E C I P E W O R K S : Replacing the standard basil with peppery
arugula makes for a refreshing take on pasta with pesto.
W H Y T H I S R E C I P E W O R K S : Slathering on a simple, deeply seasoned
cheese sauce elevates these melty open-faced sandwiches.
21⁄2 ounces (21⁄2 cups) baby arugula
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (1 cup)
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
Salt and pepper
8 slices bacon
2 tablespoons all-purpose lour
11⁄2 cups whole milk
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
12 ounces farfalle
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
4 (1⁄2-inch-thick) slices rustic white bread, toasted
8 (1⁄4-inch-thick) tomato slices
10 ounces thinly sliced deli chicken breast
1. Process arugula, Parmesan, 1⁄4 cup oil, walnuts, garlic, 1⁄2 teaspoon
salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper in food processor until smooth, about
30 seconds. Set aside 1⁄4 cup pesto. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large
pot. Add pasta and 1 tablespoon salt and cook until al dente. Reserve
1⁄2 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
2. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook chicken until golden brown and
meat registers 160 degrees, about 6 minutes per side.
3. Transfer chicken to carving board, tent with foil, and let rest for
5 minutes. Add tomatoes, reserved pasta cooking water, and remaining
pesto to pasta and toss to combine. Divide pasta among 4 bowls. Slice
chicken 1⁄2 inch thick and divide evenly among bowls. Top each bowl with
1 tablespoon reserved pesto. Serve.
1. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Line
rimmed baking sheet with foil. Cook bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet
over medium heat until browned and crispy, about 15 minutes. Transfer
to paper towel–lined plate. Pour of all but 2 tablespoons fat from skillet.
2. Stir lour into fat left in skillet and cook over medium heat for
1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to simmer. Cook until thickened, 2 to
4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in 1⁄2 cup cheddar, mustard,
1⁄4 teaspoon salt, 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne until cheese is
melted and sauce is uniform.
3. Place bread on prepared sheet. Top each slice with 2 slices tomato,
21⁄2 ounces chicken, 2 slices bacon, 1⁄3 cup cheese sauce, and 2 tablespoons cheddar. Broil until tops are browned, about 2 minutes. Serve.
Serve with lemon wedges.
boule for this recipe.
Use the larger center slices of a rustic white
For a refreshing, all-American summer dessert, we start with a crisp animal-cracker
crust and layer on lemonade-lavored ice cream and sweet-tart lemon curd. by Katie Leaird
5 ounces animal crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 pints vanilla ice cream, softened
16 ounces Cool Whip Whipped
30 seconds. Add melted butter and pulse
until combined, about 8 pulses. Transfer
crumb mixture to greased 9-inch springform pan. Using bottom of dry measuring
cup, press crumb mixture irmly into bottom of pan. Bake crust until fragrant and
beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let
cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Topping, thawed
1 (12-ounce) container frozen
lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 (10.5-ounce) jars lemon curd
1 teaspoon yellow gel food coloring
FOR TH E C RUST: Adjust oven rack to
middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Process crackers, sugar, and salt in
food processor until inely ground, about
FO R T HE CAKE: Stir ice cream,
2½ cups whipped topping, and lemonade
concentrate in bowl until combined. Pour
half of ice cream mixture into cooled crust
and smooth top with ofset spatula. Transfer pan and bowl with remaining ice cream
mixture to freezer and freeze until irm,
about 1 hour. Stir lemon curd, ½ teaspoon
food coloring, and remaining 2½ cups
whipped topping in separate bowl until
combined. Spread lemon curd
mixture in even layer over frozen ice cream
layer. Return pan to freezer until irm,
about 1 hour. Let remaining half of ice
cream mixture soften, then spread over
frozen lemon curd layer, smoothing top
with ofset spatula. Freeze cake until fully
irm, at least 6 hours or up to 24 hours.
TO SERV E: Remove side of pan. Transfer cake to cake plate or pedestal. Smooth
sides of cake with ofset spatula. Dip 1-inch
paintbrush in remaining ½ teaspoon food
coloring and lightly drag across top of
cake, painting straight yellow stripes 2 to
3 inches long, refreshing brush with food
coloring as needed. Slice and serve.
Go to to
ind out which jarred lemon curd was
our tasters’ favorite.
RC Korean Sizzling Beef Lettuce Wraps
RC Sausages with Stewed Tomatoes
5 Philadelphia Pork Sandwiches
28 One-Pan Crab Cakes with Corn
11 Grilled Prosciutto-Wrapped Asparagus
13 Southwestern Tomato and Corn Salad
23 Malasadas
10 Grilled Flank Steak with Soy Dressing
15 Smoked Fish Tacos
RC Roasted Chicken with Giardiniera
27 Shrimp and Green Bean Stir-Fry
12 Grilled Mojo Chicken
RC Chicken, Bacon, and Cheddar Melts
26 Easy Ham and Cheese Omelet
29 Slow-Cooker Pork Posole
20 Peach Cofee Cake
19 Jalapeño-Apricot Glazed Pork Chops
RC Vegetarian Cobb Salad
21 Milk Chocolate Revel Bars
18 Steak Pizzaiola
RC Strip Steaks with Green Rice
7 One-Batch Fried Chicken
8 Kentucky Red Slaw
RC Lemon-Herb Pork Tenderloin
9 Cheesy Ranch Potatoes
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Cook's Country, journal
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