Brunch Gets an Italian Makeover
Roasted Red Pepper Sformati
Producing a plush, silky sformato meant starting with an egg-rich custard base; we used eight eggs and then further enriched the custard by substituting half-and-half for some of the milk in the béchamel. To ensure that the custard baked up silky but fully set, we cooked it to between 175 and 180 degrees and then let it rest in the ramekins for 20 minutes, by which point it had cooled and set up enough to release cleanly. To flavor the custard, we seasoned the béchamel with salty-rich Pecorino Romano as well as black and cayenne peppers and added fresh herbs and lemon zest to the custard. For a flavorful, texturally interesting garnish, we enhanced a classic Italian gremolata with butter-toasted panko bread crumbs and more cheese.
Budget-Friendly Favorites We Can't Live Without
We love learning about flashy, expensive kitchen gadgets as much as anybody, but just because pricey equipment exists doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune to outfit your kitchen. Lots of the most-trusted tools in the test kitchen can be bought on a budget, so this week we’re showcasing those that cost less than $100. You can make homemade waffles using our winning waffle maker or craft your own breads and pizzas with our top-rated baking stone. Prefer to set it and forget it? Our champion slow cooker brings the best performance—evenly cooked, juicy, and tender foods—at just under $100.
Spring Side Dishes
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives
To vary our pan-roasted asparagus recipe, we wanted to add other vegetables to the same skillet, even though the pan was already crowded. The answer was to divide and conquer. We cooked the accent vegetable first, removed it from the pan, and wiped the pan clean. The asparagus could then be cooked on its own in the now-empty pan, plated, and garnished with the other vegetables, giving us a variety of asparagus side dish recipes to enjoy.
Napa Cabbage Slaws
"While traditional green cabbage has long been the favorite for making coleslaw, napa cabbage is a great alternative. Its crinkly, thin leaves have a more tender texture and a sweeter flavor that can put a new spin on the picnic classic. While our traditional slaw recipes call for salting the cabbage to draw out excess liquid and soften the dense leaves, I wanted to retain napa cabbage’s delicate texture. I found that even a brief salting made the shreds too limp, so I decided to skip it. But simply tossing the shredded cabbage with dressing didn’t work either; I ended up with a waterlogged, bland slaw. It turns out that what gives napa cabbage its appealing tenderness—thinner, weaker cell walls—is also a liability."