The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

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Hot and Numbing Sichuan Chicken Salad (Bang Bang Ji Si)

Whether you call it Bang Bang Chicken (named after the sound that a pounding mallet makes when tenderizing the tough chicken breasts of yesteryear) or Mysterious Flavor Chicken, this classic cold Sichuan chicken salad dressed with Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, sesame, and chili oil, can be updated using a few modern techniques. Cooking the chicken breasts directly in a bag with aromatics guarantees ultra-moist and flavor-packed chicken without the need for any banging at all. More

Ricotta Gnocchi With Asparagus and Prosciutto

Fresh ricotta gnocchi may be the fastest fresh-pasta recipe I know. With a little practice, I've gotten it down to under ten minutes (8 minutes 53 seconds, to be precise). But the great part about this recipe is that it serves as a suitable base for a huge variety of sauces and flavors. For instance, last week a friend of mine brought over some delicious first-of-the-season fresh asparagus which we combined with prosciutto and an easy cream sauce to make a delicious impromptu (and fast!) meal on the spot. More

Quick and Easy Huevos Rancheros With Tomato-Chili Salsa

Making huevos rancheros—rancher's-style eggs—is an inherently impromptu and simple affair at home. Briefly fry some corn tortillas to soften them, add a couple of crisply fried, runny-yolked eggs, and ladle on plenty of salsa. That's it. Everything else is just window-dressing. It's easy for me to think of huevos rancheros as a dish so darn casual that it doesn't even need a recipe. But then I wouldn't be doing my job, now would I? My goal was to come up with a recipe for huevos rancheros with a smoky and wickedly spicy tomato and red chili salsa that requires nothing more than basic supermarket pantry staples. And I wanted it all in under half an hour, because who has time to wait for breakfast? More

Foolproof Béarnaise Sauce

For my money, the very best classic steak sauce you can make at home, a sauce that will wow your guests with its flavor and elegance, and—most importantly—a sauce that can be made start to finish in under half an hour, is béarnaise. The catch (there's always a catch) is that made with the classic technique, it's very easy to mess up. Here is a foolproof technique that uses hot butter and a hand blender for perfect results every time. More

Ricotta and Black Pepper Gnudi With Sage and Brown Butter

Normally I'm all about innovation and deep digging and hardcore testing here at The Food Lab. But this time I'm starting with a dish so iconic, so incredible, so damn-near-flawless in its original form that the best I can possibly hope to do is tweak it just a bit to suit my very particular personal tastes. I'm talking about the ricotta gnudi at The Spotted Pig, April Bloomfield's West Village gastropub. Thin, thin pasta surrounds a core of creamy, explosive sheep's milk ricotta all served in a brown butter and sage sauce. And the good news is that my favorite dish isn't even that hard to make. More

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