This week, in our continuing quest to answer the all-important life question "Will it waffle?", we've had a number of deep failures, a couple of meh, I'd eat thats, and one rousing success.
A couple failures: frozen pierogi (they end up tasting like pierogi, only dryer and harder) and White Castle cheeseburgers (waffling somehow brings out the flavor of the meat, which is not what you want with a White Castle slider.
Our big success? Falafel. Wafalafel, if you will.
Actually, come to think of it, falafel was our biggest success and our biggest failure. It all depends on how you waffle it.
There are plenty of folks out there who have waffled raw falafel mix to great success, but our goal with this series has always been to keep things as simple as possible, minimizing prep, and sticking to things we can throw together or buy in just a few minutes.
In that light, we tried waffling cooked falafel balls from Taïm, the finest falafel joint in the city.
They utterly failed to pass our basic "does this create a bite that's better or at least different-but-equally-good?" criteria, unless you're the kind of person who prefers dry, burnt-out shells of formerly glorious falafel sadness to fresh, moist falafel.
Then we thought, what if we waffled a whole falafel sandwich?
Now we're cooking.
The pita bread provides enough of a barrier to prevent the falafel from drying out or burning, all while crisping up into crackly, easy-to-hold wedges.
Anyone who's ever tried to eat a falafel sandwich while wearing a tie or fancy boots like those my wife enjoys knows that it's a perilous endeavor. If someone were to hold a contest for "worst shape and texture to put into a sandwich," soft, spherical falafel would be high in the running. They squish around, they fall out, they drip, they spill; traditional falafel and fashion don't mix.
But smash that same sandwich into a waffle iron and you have a snack worthy of the runway.
Especially when it's dipped in tahini and Taïm's awesome hot sauce.
To waffle your falafel, brush your falafel sandwich with olive oil and slip it right into a preheated waffle iron. Cook it until crisp and serve with pickles, tahini, and any other condiments of your choice. And put on your best boots while you're at it.
About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.