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Knife Skills: How to Clean, Trim, and Prepare Artichokes

Artichokes look like the armored tanks of the vegetable world—an impenetrable defense of shield-like leaves and thorny tips. But with the right tools and know-how, it's easy to get them ready for eating. Here are three ways to trim them: all the way down to the heart, minimally for steaming, and also for the classic Roman-Jewish dish carciofi alla giudia. More

How to Make Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi

Considering how fundamentally simple they are, potato gnocchi sure do make people nervous. Do it right, and they're light and tender. Do it wrong, and they're gummy little bricks. Here we delve into every major aspect of gnocchi making and explain how each can impact the result. But first take a deep breath, because this doesn't need to be stressful. It can actually be a lot of fun, and an excellent exercise in honing your abilities as a cook. More

How to Make Roman Semolina Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana)

Long before ships brought native crops from the Americas to Europe, Italy was a land without red sauce, corn polenta, or potato gnocchi. But even without the potato, gnocchi still existed, such as in the form of the classic gnocchi alla Romana, this custardy oven-baked version made with semolina, egg, cheese, and butter. You could say these are the OG: the original gnocchi. More

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

We've shared a lot of love for cast iron here at Serious Eats, but in our own kitchens there's another very similar type of pan that gets near equal use: carbon steel. Since it's more common in restaurant kitchens than homes, we've been pretty mum on the subject, but today, it's time to talk about what makes this sibling to cast iron great. More

The Art of Tarte Flambée: Alsatian Pizza With Fromage Blanc, Bacon, and Onions

It looks like a pizza, it cooks like a pizza, but don't make the mistake of actually thinking it's a pizza. Tarte flambée, the Alsatian flatbread topped with fromage blanc (a fresh, tart, spreadable cheese), thinly sliced raw onions and bacon, is as Franco-Germanic in flavor as can be. Here we look at two ways to make it: the classic way on bread or pizza dough rolled very thinly, and the bar-style pizza way, on a flour tortilla cooked in a cast iron skillet. Both are so good we can't decide which way we like best. More

Don't Let Cheese Scraps Languish: Turn Them Into an Easy and Elegant Cheese Quiche

I have the bad habit of letting little uneaten nubbins of cheese languish in my fridge until they're so stale there's nothing left to do but throw them out. This cheese pie (really, it's a quiche, if you want to be a stickler about accuracy) is the solution, transforming those once doomed leftover bits and giving them new life as pockets of beautiful melted cheese set in a custard base. More

The Secret to Great Coq au Vin? Lose the Coq

The problem with a lot of coq au vin recipes is that they continue to use a method devised for tough rooster meat, even though most of us today cook with tender roasting hens. Here's what you need to know to get tender, juicy, and flavorful coq au vin that tastes like it spent a long time in the oven, even though it didn't. More

How to Turn Beans Into a Creamy Vegan Pasta Sauce

Turning a bean purée into a pasta sauce may sound strange, but just think of it as a variation on the classic Italian soup pasta e fagioli, just with a lot more pasta and only enough "soup" to coat the noodles. It's delicious, and it just happens to be vegan (though we won't snitch if you decide to add grated parm to it). More

Mexican Atole: The Perfect Winter Drink

Mexican atole, a hot drink made from corn, comes in a staggering variety of flavors, from sweet to savory, each one more delicious than the next. Take the chocolatey version known as champurrado: One sip and you may never crave a regular old hot chocolate again. Here's a look at what makes atoles so great, along with three recipes to get you started. More

How to Make Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag

I don't make much popcorn at home: I don't own a dedicated popcorn popper, and the sound of the metal pan scratching on the burner as I shake it back and forth is enough to drive me crazy. The solution lies in a brown paper lunch bag and the microwave. Here's how to make the easiest popcorn ever. More

How to Make Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi

@Osomatic Oh boy, you stumbled upon gnocca/gnocche (singular/plural). Those are bad words; they can mean "chicks", but that's a very tame translation of what it actually means. I'll just leave it at that. As for gnocco, it can mean dumpling, but it also can mean lump and a few other things like that.

Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi With Sage-Butter Sauce

@ddiprete Gnocchi don't hold up well and need to be cooked as soon as possible; however, you can freeze them on a baking sheet, then scrape them up with a metal spatula and transfer them to a zipper-lock back for freezer storage. Cook directly from frozen.

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

@RichTaylor

Huh, interesting question. I had researched all the different lines and could have sworn the MineralB from DeBuyer was steel, but maybe I got that wrong. Their info is not very clear--they also refer to a different line as "carbon iron", which, as far as I know, is steel. Anyway, I've updated the link to Matfer, which is what I have at home and is definitely steel. Interesting question is whether it matters much, since form-factor is the biggest difference between cast iron and carbon steel (so, even if iron is pressed into the shape typically used for carbon steel, it probably offers very similar advantages and disadvantages, right?).

Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi With Sage-Butter Sauce

@django2004

Yes, the size of the potato will have a big impact on cooking times. Generally, time estimates in recipes shouldn't be taken too literally since there are so many variables that recipe writers can't account for--instead, go by the specific cues given (in this case, well-done, very tender potatoes)...even if it takes twice as long as the estimate. Glad you liked the gnocchi!!!

Beautifully Rustic: How to Make Chocolate Swirl Meringues With Cinnamon

@zorazen I just took a look on the Use Real Butter site and what I found was a recent recipe for huckleberry meringues, which is made by brushing plain meringues with a huckleberry coulis. From what I can see, the main similarity is that they're both meringues, and since that's a classic preparation, there's an understandable amount of overlap between the techniques. This recipe and also Use Real Butter's both use the step of baking the sugar first before incorporating it into the egg whites, but that technique doesn't originate with Use Real Butter either. For example, I found it also on this article in the Guardian, which pulled its method together from several different chefs, including Ottolenghi. We always try to give credit when we've been inspired by or used an idea from another source; in this case, given the standardization of meringue methods and the use of that sugar-baking technique in multiple other sources, I don't think there's a need for a specific attribution here.

How to Make Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi

@Grease Yes, though I think you'd lose less moisture from the potato in the microwave than you would in the oven (I didn't test it though, so could be wrong).

How to Make Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi

@RyanW2 A strainer will work if it's a drum sieve (also called a tamis), but I'd wager that if you don't have a ricer or food mill, you probably don't have a tamis either. I've seen the grating tip before but didn't test here; it may well work, though well-done baked potato is VERY crumbly, so I'm not convinced it would be easy to grate it properly without it just falling apart into smaller chunks as you hold it. You can probably grab a ricer for not too much money; just look for one with very small holes.

Light and Tender Potato Gnocchi With Sage-Butter Sauce

@John-- That's right, in this case I'm salting via the cooking water alone. Here's a piece I wrote on salting pasta water. You can even go a little saltier in this case, since you do need to compensate for the unsalted gnocchi dough.

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

@Nashwill Grilling is a very good way to do paella at home!

The Secret to Great Coq au Vin? Lose the Coq

@UncleJack

Sounds like you want the seasoning to penetrate the chicken? Dry brining first would be a good option for sure. It'll add time to the recipe, but it should work.

Roman Semolina Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana)

@donnataj I use whole but 2% should be fine

Roman Semolina Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana)

@twirlygirl A half-sheet pan (most recipes for home cooks mean a half-sheet if not otherwise specified).

How to Make Roman Semolina Gnocchi (Gnocchi alla Romana)

@grossi You could and it would taste good, but it doesn't really need it.

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

@RealMenJulienne Interesting points, and there's some stuff that you touch upon that I intentionally left out of the article because I couldn't confirm some details about the metals, but I'll bring them up here with the caveat that I haven't properly fact checked them. For the coating issue you had with the DeBuyer specifically, I'm not sure I'd consider that a problem with carbon steel pans; it's more an issue with how some of them are shipped with special coatings to prevent rust. Some are rubbed with things like mineral oil, some are coated in wax (DeBuyer might do that, I'm not sure), and some might come pre-seasoned, sort of the way a lot of modern cast iron does. Of course, any special coatings like mineral oil or wax have to be dealt with before you can use the pan properly, since you can't season on top of those. It's an initial annoyance maybe, but it's all in the service of keeping the pan in good shape during shipping and storage. Once those coatings are off, you've basically cleared that hurdle. (Also, it's worth noting that some people don't like the quality of pre-seasoned cast iron and carbon steel pans, and actually strip it down to the bare metal before re-seasoning, so those aren't necessarily free of their own drawbacks if you agree about poor-quality pre-seasoning).

For the stickiness issue, this really touches on the part I couldn't confirm so left out of the above. In my experience, carbon steel needs to be re-seasoned more often than cast iron, but it takes on a good seasoning much faster. For example, when I used to work in restaurants, the dishwashers used to scrub much of the seasoning off the carbon steel pans every night, so the next day we were always starting from scratch; instead of a lengthy oven-seasoning process, we'd just get the pans ripping hot on the flattop, coat them with oil and repeat once or twice to get a beautiful non-stick surface. If, during service, a carbon steel pan got gunky beyond repair, we'd send it off to the dishwashers to be scrubbed clean again and then would re-season it when it once it was sent back to the line. So, basically, in my anecdotal experience, carbon steel can be scrubbed much more aggressively, even with steel scrubbers, and then re-seasoned in a matter of minutes. Cast iron, that's not such a good idea (it seems to take much longer to build up good seasoning on cast iron, but then you really don't want to remove it). When I was doing background research for this article, I came across once source that explained this phenomenon, saying that carbon steel is less porous than cast iron and therefore takes on seasoning layers much more quickly, but also more temporarily. I can't confirm this, so I didn't add it to the above, but it does fit my own experience. So, if my carbon steel ever gets sticky, which I agree it sometimes does (more than cast iron), I just give it a good aggressive cleaning, re-season it right on the stovetop and proceed with no trouble. When the seasoning layer on it is good, sticky things like fish and egg will glide on it like ice. Incidentally, carbon steel pans were the original French omelette pans, and when chefs used to audition cooks for jobs and they gave them the task of cooking an omelette, the chef wasn't just looking for good egg-cooking technique, he was also looking to see whether the cook knew how to work with the carbon steel pan. Modern non-stick pans have made this a much less important skill, but it does go to show, with proper handling, carbon steel is great for eggs.

As for tossing, I'm gonna say you have some special skill there--for almost anyone I know, sloped sides are preferred for tossing foods (especially rapidly and in quick succession). But if straight-sided pans work for you, I have no reason to tell you to stop doing it that way!

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

@jim For me, it just went away with time, thankfully. It was terrible though, I'd wake up each morning and my fingers would be stuck in a closed position, and I'd have to pop each one back open with my other hand. Then they'd keep getting stuck throughout the day.

Love Cast Iron Pans? Then You Should Know About Carbon Steel

@CiciC Yes, carbon steel should work well on induction, though you should verify with manufacturer before buying just to be sure.

The Secret to Great Coq au Vin? Lose the Coq

@Xianhang Zhang and @Chopper

I actually did test Keller's method of cooking the wine first to remove the alcohol, but didn't like the result and, since I figured it wasn't a well-known technique, decided not to include it in my article. As it turns out, cooking off the alcohol before marinating fundamentally changes the flavor of the dish, and to my tastebuds, not in a good way. Truth is, I think a little whiff of residual alcohol is essential to the dish, making it taste like a dish that is fundamentally reliant on the wine. The chicken needs to taste a little winey. Pre-boiling the wine kills that effect.

Hanger Steak With Bagna Cauda Pan Sauce

@isaia and @SteUK You're both correct about what a true bagna cauda for dipping should be, but in this case the garlic is really a modification, not a mistake. Since this is designed as a pan sauce to be spooned on top of steak and not used as a dip, it's not really trying to be a 100% classic bagna cauda. I should clarify though that the heat, while not as low as for a traditional recipe, is still quite low, and the lightly golden brown color of the garlic is the lightest shade of browning you can imagine--definitely don't brown the garlic in a way that crisps it at all. As you can see in the photo, the garlic is very soft and tender, not quite a puree, but still very soft. (Note also the lemon juice, which makes this a more balanced sauce for steak, but also one more detail that distances this from a traditional bagna cauda).

@PommeDG You can use either oil or salt-packed anchovies, but if they're salt-packed, you will need to soak them in some changes of water to remove excess salt first; they can then be held in oil in your fridge until ready to use. Also, salt-packed anchovies have to be filleted first (the recipe calls for fillets, so the assumption is you're either buying fillets already in oil, or know how to prep salt-packed anchovies so that they're ready for use).

Juicy and Tender Italian-American Meatballs in Red Sauce

@PsychNurse Yes, you can definitely add fat to the mix to boost the percentage, though it should be solid fat, like fatback or a fatty cut from the belly and not soft fat like rendered lard.

Re-Introducing Soubise: The Classic Three Ingredient Onion Sauce That Deserves a Comeback

@BananaMonkey Caramelized onions wouldn't be classic, but it could definitely be a delicious variation. I say, GO FOR IT!

@Simon Yeah, I don't mean to imply that no one serves soubise, but it remains fairly uncommon.

The Secret to Great Coq au Vin? Lose the Coq

@MichaelQ Cook your aromatics, like onion and garlic, in the braise as you normally would. They should be well-done and totally soft. Then transfer them and the juices to a high-power blender and let 'er rip (though, actually, you should start the blender on slow speed and gradually increase to high to avoid an explosion of steam that can put the contents of your blender on your ceiling). Run it until the aromatics are completely worked into the juices, it should be smooth, not gritty, if the blender is truly a high-power one. Then you can pass the whole thing through a fine-mesh strainer just to remove any minuscule particles of fiber that might be left behind, though most of it should be so thoroughly obliterated in the blender that just little should get caught in the strainer (regular blenders make a much rougher textured sauce, so when you strain them you end up with a much thinner sauce since so much more fiber is caught in the strainer). You may have to reduce slightly after that, or thin with stock, if the consistency is not quite right, but that's basically it.

How to Make No-Bake Chocolate-Nutella 'Cheesecake' Verrines

Any gianduia (chocolate-hazelnut spread, of which Nutella is simply the most famous brand) should work in this recipe.

Classic Tarte Flambée (Alsatian Pizza With Fresh Cheese, Onions, and Bacon)

Actually I disagree about sour cream being the closest match, at least based on the flavor of the fromage blanc I was working with. I did side-by-side taste comparisons and it wasn't as close as if you blend cream cheese and buttermilk. Cottage cheese mixed with crème fraiche is another common substitution given, but I don't think it works as well as buttermilk with cream cheese.

Easy Mixed Cheese Quiche

@Catnippe Oops, missed that typo, thanks for pointing it out.

Coq au Vin (Chicken Braised in Red Wine)

Re: the bacon, sorry about that-- it gets added back into the pot right before the wine. Recipe is fixed now.

@joeho Yes, if using gelatin, you should sprinkle it on the cold/room temp stock and let hydrate before adding to the pot and heating (instructions are above in the recipe note)

The Ultimate Fully Loaded Nachos

What does it take to make an incredible plate of bar-style, fully loaded nachos? For starters, at least three kinds of cheese, two kinds of beans, and two different applications of creamy, tangy dairy. It may sound like overkill, but there's a method to this madness. More