A Skillet with Skills
Testing Carbon Steel Skillets
Even if you’ve never heard of a carbon-steel skillet, you’ve almost certainly eaten a meal made in one. Restaurant chefs use these pans for all kinds of tasks, from searing steak to sautéing onions to cooking eggs. French omelet and crêpe pans are made of carbon steel, as are the woks used in Chinese restaurants. Even Julia Child had a few carbon-steel pieces alongside her familiar rows of copper cookware. In European home kitchens, these pans are hugely popular. Somehow, though, despite their prevalence in restaurants, carbon-steel cookware never really caught on with home cooks in the United States. Given their reputation for being as great at browning as they are at keeping delicate foods from sticking, we wondered if it was time that changed.
How to Make Quick Homemade Pickles
Quick pickles are an impressive gift that's easy to make and can be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a few weeks, eliminating the rigmarole of canning while keeping the wonderful pickle flavor. They're also a great way to use a bounty of summer produce. Our guide shows you how to turn a variety of summer vegetables into quick pickles with different flavor profiles.
Hearty Summer Salads
Lentil Salad with Olives, Mint, and Feta
The most important step in making a lentil salad is perfecting the cooking of the lentils so they maintain their shape and firm-tender bite. There turns out to be two key steps. The first is to brine the lentils in warm salt water. With brining, the lentil’s skin softens, which leads to fewer blowouts. The second step is to cook the lentils in the oven, which heats them gently and uniformly. Once we had perfectly cooked lentils, all we had left to do was to pair the earthy beans with a tart vinaigrette and boldly flavored mix-ins.
Ultimate Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts
by Andrew Janjigian
I’m always on the lookout for ways to get great skin on chicken. By that I mean skin that’s paper-thin, deep golden brown, and so well crisped that it crackles when you take a bite. Such perfectly cooked skin, however, is actually a rarity. A good roast chicken may have patches of it, but the rotund shape of the bird means that uneven cooking is inevitable and that some of the skin will also cook up flabby and pale. And even on relatively flat chicken parts, there’s the layer of fat beneath the skin to contend with: By the time it melts away during searing, the exterior often chars and the meat itself overcooks.