I have a habit of tossing huge pinches of red pepper flakes into all pasta dishes that cross my stove, so I was immediately drawn to the Bucatini Fra Diavolo in the new Franny's cookbook. Andrew Feinberg, Francine Stephens, and Melissa Clark's recipe takes this classically spicy tomato sauce and freshens it up with close to a full cup of fresh herbs.
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It'd be a shame to pass over a described as a "masterpiece." Full stop. In Secrets of the Best Chefs, Adam Roberts is totally enamored of Melissa Clark's recipe development process. And his adoration is most evident in his headnote to Clark's recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes. It's a relatively simple recipe (duck breast gets an hour-long rest with garam masala and salt before being seared, finished in the oven, and topped with a pan sauce of grapes, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) with show-stopping results.
For all of the great-for-you reasons there are to cook fish (healthy! full of omega-3s and vitamins! low fat!), there are an equal number of reasons why many home cooks shy away from our scaly friends from the sea—too delicate, lack of cooking confidence, the stinky factor, and sustainability questions. This Roasted Blackfish with Olives and Sage from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now sets out to calm all of our fish-cooking worries.
While bacon, pancetta, guanciale, and all sorts of sausage make their way into all sorts of pasta dishes, somehow salami is always left on the antipasto plate. And it's kind of a shame considering salami's incredible ability to add intensely porky flavors to a simple tomato sauce. This Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now highlights salami's sauce-boosting qualities by rendering batons of spicy sopressata golden and crisp.
These roasted peppers have all sorts of uses on their own (think mixed into salads or blended with tomatoes for a pasta sauce) but they make a particularly nice pre-meal bite when piled onto crisp rounds of garlic-rubbed bread for these Roasted Pepper and Celery Leaf Crostini. They're finished with chopped celery leaves (a vastly underused green if there ever was one) and briny capers or anchovies—perfect little cocktail hour snacks that work equally well for evenings that are casual or a bit more elegant.
This Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Salted Yogurt, Mint, and Pomegranate Seeds from Cook This Now elevates an already wonderful head of roasted cauliflower with a lovely selection of eastern Mediterranean elements.
By now we are all familiar with this simple fact: adding pork fat to virtually anything amps up the deliciousness factor tenfold. Usually it's bacon with all its flavorful grease—but what about other sorts of piggy additions? This recipe for Sausage Salad with Radicchio and Frisée from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark is a play on a classic bacon vinaigrette using crumbled sausage where the cooking juices coat a bitter combination of radicchio and frisée.
As far as my egg salad research has taken me, this recipe for Deviled Egg Salad with Anchovies, Hot Smoked Paprika, and Tomato from Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite might just be my favorite yet. It incorporates Spanish inspired ingredients—smoked paprika and anchovies—into the mayonnaisey mix. The salad has a touch of smoke and heat, and an umami kick thanks to the anchovies.
[Photograph: Caroline Russock] The following recipe is from the September 8 edition of our weekly recipe newsletter. To receive this newsletter in your inbox, sign up here! Much of the beauty of In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite comes...
These Garlicky Steamed Mussels with Corn and Sherry from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark are the perfect summer-fall transition food. The mussels are steamed with sweet corn—it still tastes of summer, but is warm enough for these slightly chilly nights. The sherry, used instead of a more typical white wine or beer to steam the mussels, lends an almost woody, caramelized element that complements the briny mussels.
As she was growing up, Melissa Clark's childhood love for lemon bars came from a classic, kid-friendly cookbook, Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts Cookbook. These sweet-tart favorites of Lucy were most likely nibbled in between patients at her her psychiatric help booth and enjoyed by the entire Clark clan.