EXPLOREMY LIBRARY
Food & Wine
Cook's Illustrated

Cook's Illustrated May/June 2020

At Cook's Illustrated, our test cooks are dedicated to testing and retesting recipes 20, 30, sometimes 50 times until we come up with a recipe that will come out right the first time -- and every time -- you make it. And each issue of Cook's Illustrated is 100% ADVERTISING FREE, so you get unbiased and objective information on every page. As we like to say at Cook's Illustrated, "We make the mistakes so you don't have to."

Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Boston Common Press, LP
Frequency:
Bimonthly
Read More
SUBSCRIBE
$19.99
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
once and future

Editor in Chief I’ve got an arsenal of well-used cookware, but two pans in particular never seem to make it back into the cabinet. One is a stubby-handled Wagner cast-iron skillet with a thick, jet-black patina; the other is a lithe, long-handled carbon-steel frying pan with dramatically flared sides. I found both pans at a roadside antique store well over a decade ago when I was en route to my first semester of culinary school in New York. Handling them, I envisioned all the cooks who had used them before me—in a way, they’d be joining me on my journey into the professional kitchen. I happily overpaid. I love how each vessel’s physique telegraphs its performance. The stocky cast iron is slow—both to heat up and to cool down. That excellent heat…

4 min.
quick tips

Easier Herb Bundles Instead of using cheesecloth to wrap fresh herbs or whole spices for steeping in stocks, soups, or stews, Susie Hennessy of Sacramento, Calif., uses a disposable loose-leaf tea bag. The bag is large enough to hold several herb sprigs and is easy to find and discard when cooking is complete. Plus, there’s no cutting or tying required. Preventing Soggy Stovetop Popcorn Michael Hoenig of Beachwood, Ohio, likes to make popcorn in a Dutch oven on his stove, but he finds that steam condenses on the underside of the lid and falls back into the pot, making the snack soggy. In place of a lid, he inverts a colander on top of the pot. The perforated “lid” prevents the kernels from popping out of the pot while allowing steam to escape. Pie…

7 min.
the science of stir-frying in a wok

If you want to get a sense of the gutsy, vigorous, animated nature of stir-frying, the best place to start might be with physician and writer Buwei Yang Chao’s definition of ch’ao, the Chinese word for the technique. “Roughly speaking,” she writes in How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, the seminal 1945 cookbook she produced with her husband and daughter, “ch’ao may be defined as big-fire-shallow-fat-continual-stirring-quick-frying of cut-up material with wet seasoning. We shall call it ‘stir-fry’ or ‘stir’ for short.” The main thrust of Chao’s definition is that stir-frying employs high heat and constant motion to cook food so rapidly that proteins brown uniformly and vegetables lose their raw edge but retain vibrant color and fresh crunch. As soon as the food hits the wok, it’s repeatedly pushed, flipped,…

8 min.
the original vindaloo

Food challenges such as belly-buster sundaes, six-alarm chili, and 32-ounce black-and-blue porterhouse steaks aren’t my thing. That’s why I had always sidestepped vindaloo, which I had thought must sit at the top of every culinary thrill-seeker’s list of favorite fiery Indian dishes. I prefer mild to medium-hot curries in which the painstakingly calibrated flavors of ginger, garlic, and spices haven’t been obliterated by searing heat. But it turns out that I had been mistaken about vindaloo, at least in its original form. The scorching vindaloo served at many Indian restaurants in the United States and England is actually an offshoot of the original Goan version, which is composed of moist nuggets of pork braised to tenderness in their own juices and a fragrant paste of spices such as cinnamon and cardamom,…

7 min.
the world’s greatest tuna sandwich

The first thing to know about pan bagnat: It’s not your everyday tuna sandwich. To me, that means a mayonnaise-y deli salad that’s sandwiched between slices of toasted wheat or rye bread. Pan bagnat, the iconic Provencal tuna sandwich, is something entirely different—and, dare I say, far more grand. It’s essentially a nicoise salad served between two halves of a loaf of crusty bread: Chunks of high-quality canned tuna; sliced hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes, and red onion; briny nicoise olives and (sometimes) capers; anchovies; garlic; and fragrant herbs are carefully layered and dressed in a mustardy vinaigrette. And here’s the brilliant part: The sandwich gets wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and pressed under a weight, which tamps down the piled-high filling. This step ensures that the whole package is compact enough to…

8 min.
sizzling vietnamese crepes

Bánh xèo, particularly the version made in Ho Chi Minh City, is one of my favorite dishes. If I spot it on a menu at a Vietnamese restaurant, I’m going to be ordering it. It’s a spectacular jumble of flavors, colors, textures, fragrances, and temperatures, the centerpiece of which is a warm, crisp-tender, turmeric-tinted crepe punctuated with small shrimp and matchsticks of rich pork belly. To enjoy it, you tuck pieces of the sunny-yellow pancake inside a cool lettuce leaf along with lots of fresh, aromatic herbs and then dip the bundle into nuoc cham, a mixture of fish sauce spiked with lime juice, sugar, and chiles that contains sour, salty, sweet, umami, and spicy flavors. Often, do chua, a carrot and daikon pickle, is served on the side. Banh…