Our Ugly Duckling Recipes from the SAVEUR Archives

Don't judge a book by its cover, right?

Our food photography process is pretty straightforward—we rummage through our prop closet to find the prettiest plates and silverware to style the photo, and we take the picture. Our goal: make the food look as delicious and evocative as possible. But if you dive into SAVEUR's 21-year-old archive of recipes, it's inevitable you'll come across one that looks...slightly less appealing. Maybe there's a drizzle of sauce that, on reflection, shouldn't have been drizzled just so. Sometimes a white asparagus isn't just a white asparagus.

So after combing through our database of 6,000 recipes, here are our 16 favorite ugly ducklings. They've been rigorously tested by our kitchen team, and have the potential to be beautiful. Just give them some love.

Marinated Vegetable and Herb Salad

Marinated Vegetable and Herb Salad
This Provençal salad combines young vegetables, full of flavor, with plenty of fresh herbs and a drizzle of olive oil as a finishing touch.Peter D'Aprix

Marinated Zucchini and Green Bean Salad

Marinated Zucchini and Green Bean Salad
This summer salad is a popular favorite in many ouzo bars around Athens.Antoine Bootz

Marinated Sardines

Marinated Sardines
This centuries-old dish was a favorite of Venetian sailors—frying the fish and marinating it in olive oil and vinegar meant it could last for weeks, and the vitamin C in the onions offered protection against scurvy.Roger Sherman

White Asparagus with Olive Oil Sabayon

White Asparagus with Olive Oil Sabayon
The cooking time for white asparagus depends on its age and thickness. Test for doneness as you go.Christopher Hirsheimer

Ham Spread and Olive Canapes

Ham Spread and Olive Canapes
This kitschy cocktail food of the 30' is back for the holidays.James Oseland

Salami and Chopped Egg Canapes with Fines Herbes Butter

Salami and Chopped Egg Canapes with Fines Herbes Butter
Topped with savory ingredients, these tiny bites are not only appeasing to the eye but delicious as well.James Oseland

Favas with Blood Sausage and Bacon

Favas with Blood Sausage and Bacon
This dish is traditionally made with the blood sausage called botifarra negra--it is unavailable in the U.S., but morcilla may be substituted.Ben Fink

Lima Bean Soup

Lima Bean Soup
This simple soup only calls for a few ingredients, letting the flavor of lima beans shine.Joyce Ravid

Tarta de Jamón, Huevo y Tomate (Ham, Egg, and Tomato Pie)

Ham, Egg, and Tomato Pie
A semolina crust encases a savory filling of ham, cheese, tomato, and eggs, perfect for a quick filling lunch.Landon Nordeman

Pickled Herring

Pickled Herring
Use salted (brine-packed) herring filets for this recipe.Russell Kaye

Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad
This sweet, festive salad gives off a lot of juice if it sits for a while, so it's best to assemble it just before serving.David Sawyer

Madame Carter's Provencal Herb Terrine

Provencal Herb Terrine
Chez Cartet, a small and very traditional Parisian bistro that has been in business since 1936, is renowned for its homemade pates and terrines. We adapted their recipe for this coarse, well-seasoned terrine that was named after the establishment's founder.David Sawyer

Sicilian Eggplant and Tuna Salad

Sicilian Eggplant and Tuna Salad
Eggplant is an extremely popular vegetable in Sicily, used in scores of ways, and sweet-and-sour flavors, as in this salad, are common to the island's cuisine.Antoine Bootz

Cucumber Salad with Black-Eyed Peas

Cucumber Salad with Black-Eyed Peas
This is one of the simplest recipes in Author Maya Kaimal's Aunty Kamala's repertoire, and it uses coconut three ways.Laurie Smith

Tom's Vladivostok Potato Salad

Potato Salad
This potato salad—flavored with crabmeat, salmon caviar, and garlic-laced mayonnaise—was created by Tom Hudgins when he lived in the Russian city of Vladivostok.James Oseland

Veal Cutlets with Avocado and Truffle Cream

Veal Cutlets with Avocado and Truffle Cream
This rich, saucy dish only calls for handful of ingredients. Top with extra avocados.Martin Schreiber