The Food Lab

Unraveling the mysteries of home cooking through science.

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The Food Lab's Southern Fried Chicken

For me, as a kid growing up in New York, fried chicken came from one place, and one place only: those grease-stained cardboard buckets peddled by the Colonel himself. But times have changed, and as is often the case, revisiting those fond childhood memories results only in disappointment and disillusionment. That said, stylistically, it can't be faulted. So I figured that I could somehow manage to take what the Colonel started and bring it to its ultimate conclusion—that is, deep chicken flavor; a flab-free skin; juicy, tender meat; and crisp, spicy coating—I might just be able to recapture those first fleeting childhood tastes of fried chicken as I remembered them. Here's the result of my efforts. More

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

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