In 2011 we published over 400 recipes in the pages of SAVEUR — these are the editors’ absolute favorites.
Editor-in-Chief I knew of barbecued spaghetti before we featured it in our June issue, but it wasn’t until tasting it that I realized it’s the dream of what an American spaghetti dish can be, one that hits all the pleasure points: salty, faintly sweet, and smoky.
See the recipe for Barbecue Spaghetti » I’m a great lover of parsley, but this salad was revelatory: using it not as an herb but as a green, playing with the sharpness of the onion and the sweet citrusy vinaigrette. For me, it’s the ultimate side dish — and it’s a great sandwich condiment, too.
See the recipe for Parsley and Onion Salad » Onion rings have been a guilty pleasure for me since my first encounter with them at age 4 at an A&W;, but these are the best, the ur-onion ring: brittle, crackly, salty perfection.
See the recipe for Beer-Battered Onion Rings »
Executive Food Editor The Machbuss Rubian (Shrimp and Rice Pilaf) from our Ramadan story takes the top spot — this was one of those recipes where you’re in the kitchen, and the dish is done and you take a bite and you just think, “Goddamn, this is good.”
See the recipe for Machbuss Rubian » I’m also a huge fan of these simple Zacatecan enchiladas. They aren’t baked; the tortillas are dipped in the chile sauce, rolled in cheese, and they’re ready to go — and they’re fantastic at room temperature.
See the recipe for Enchiladas »
Executive Editor The banana pudding from the summer BBQ issue is the dessert’s platonic ideal: creamy custard, fresh bananas, homemade, airy whipped cream. Whenever I bring it to potlucks and picnics, people go crazy for it.
See the recipe for Banana Pudding » The Lexington Pulled Pork is a party staple at our house: it feeds lots of people, is insanely delicious, and it’s fun to serve it with a bunch of southern side dishes.
See the recipe for Lexington Pulled Pork » A third favorite is the Escarole Soup, which I make in huge batches. Escarole, with lots of chopped onions, makes the most delicious, nourishing broth, particularly when topped with lots of grated parm and pecorino.
See the recipe for Escarole Soup »
Website Director As far as I’m concerned, a summer potluck is just a cooking competition where your friends are the judges and only one dish can be crowned belle of the barbecue. I’ve participated in enough real bake-offs to learn that the People’s Choice award almost always goes to a sweet with either peanut butter or caramel. The genius of this winning pie is that it combines both of these crowd-pleasing flavor profiles–a caramelly, brown sugar-sweetened custard hides sandy peanut butter crumbles, all blanketed with cumulus peaks of whipped cream. Plus, it’s dead simple to make. See the recipe for Peanut Butter Pie »
Associate Editor Lesley Porcelli’s story “The Soft Approach,” an ode to taking vegetables far past the point of al dente, changed the way I cook. This south Indian recipe for carrots with mustard seeds, turmeric, paprika, curry leaves, and chiles is especially wonderful — even the cooked-carrot haters in my family love it. See the recipe for Carrot Kari»
Associate Food Editor Having never traveled to Egypt, I can’t elaborate on the popularity of koshary, but in my mind it’s nothing short of the best dish in the world. The pasta and rice topped with crunchy lentils, chickpeas, and fried onions and then covered in a spicy tomato sauce is carb heaven.
See the recipe for Koshary » I also fell for the maple syrup dumplings–an admitted hater of maple syrup, this dish converted me instantly. Basically a fluffy biscuit dough poached in liquid gold, these gut-warming dumplings reminded me of hot biscuits drenched in syrup, but without all the hard work.
See the recipe for Maple Syrup Dumplings »
Deputy Editor Folks who think tofu is boring should fire up their skillets right now and cook up a batch of black pepper tofu from our December issue. Chiles, garlic, shallots, ginger, and most of all, a sneeze-worthy amount of potent black pepper, turn the mild-mannered soy bean curd into the most exciting, brashest dish on the table. I can’t eat enough of it.
See the recipe for Black Pepper Tofu » But the recipe I make the most from our 2011 line-up — and I make it all the time, whenever someone stops by — is the Brown Derby cocktail from October’s story on American whiskey. You wouldn’t think grapefruit juice would pair so well with bourbon, but boy does it ever: the balance of the bright, acidic fruit juice and the sweet, oaky booze (buoyed by a honey simple syrup) is dynamite. It’s refreshing, sexy, and dangerously delicious. See the recipe for the Brown Derby »
At Mitzi’s in Winnipeg, Canada, these chicken fingers are served with crinkle-cut fries, coleslaw, and a honey-dill dipping sauce — they’re so good that even grown-ups line up for them. See the recipe for Mitzi’s Chicken Fingers »
Managing Editor My mom made these maple squares for us at her house in Mount Snow, Vermont, using local maple syrup. They made the entire house smell warm and delicious, and we all had a good laugh over how quickly we devoured them once they were out of the oven. Now when I make them at home, the smell brings me right back to the mountain and all the fun we always have up there when the entire family is together. See the recipe for Maple Squares with Walnuts »
Deputy Editor Yankee that I am, I’d never actually made pimento cheese myself before Rachel Wharton’s wonderful story and her beyond-easy recipe inspired me to do it. Having some on hand in the fridge, I find myself eating it on crackers, on toast, mixed into deviled eggs–potential vehicles for pimento cheese present themselves at every turn.
See the recipe for Pimento Cheese Sandwich » Squash Blossom Saute is one of those recipes that almost doesn’t need to be a recipe, it’s so basic and such an indisputably good use for squash blossoms when they’re in season. But I’m glad it is, because this dish will be part of my seasonal rotation forever.
See the recipe for Guiso de Flor de Calabaza (Squash Blossom Saute) » This recipe for Maizes Zupa is very special, because we learned to make it in the best possible way: when senior editor Gabriella Gershenson’s mother, Anna Gershenson–a phenomenal cook–came to the office to show us how it’s done. And such a surprising (to me) recipe! The nutty astringency of the rye in a sweet context–it’s a showstopper.
See the recipe for Maizes Zupa (Rye Bread Pudding) »
Assistant Web Editor As a lifelong fan of anything baked with pumpkin puree, I’ve been making a similar version of this cheesecake for years. But when I tried this recipe, my pumpkin-cheesecake dreams were forever answered, and I know I’ll serve this one at every Thanksgiving to come. The crunchy hazelnut and gingersnap crust (for which gluten-free gingersnaps worked just as well) lends an unexpected satisfying crunch to the creamy filling, whose richness is heightened by a generous dose of maple syrup. See the recipe for Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap and Hazelnut Crust »
Test Kitchen Director It was back in April that we made the Schmitter, a beloved mega sandwich from McNally’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania for our Sandwich issue. Essentially a tricked out cheesesteak, the Schmitter is a quick skillet flip of a sandwich piled high with spicy fried salami, roast beef, white American cheese, onions, tomato and swimming in a most special sauce. Serve with a pile of napkins! See the recipe for The Schmitter »
Senior Editor One of my favorites this year was the Speķa Pīrāgi — these bacon turnovers got me over my fear of making yeast dough and made the most delicious, rich little pastries that are perfect for brunch.
See the recipe for Speķa Pīrāgi (Bacon Turnovers) » Another winner was a dish I based on this salsa recipe from Roberto Santibanez (I had a few tomatoes so I roasted them too, and pulverized an avocado while I was at it). What’s amazing about his technique is he invites the cook to improvise, and it works out great.
See the recipe for Salsa de Tomatillo en Molacajete » I made a version of this strawberry compote to spoon over individual pavlovas. The cardamom and lime zest infuse the sugar syrup, and the strawberries become all the more fragrant for it.
See the recipe for Strawberry Compote »
Assistant Editor I’m a huge sucker for improved versions of trashy classics. My favorite recipe this year is the homemade French onion dip that ran in our November issue’s ode to onions. The dip’s robust flavor–with pureed, roasted onions, crisp-fried onions and bright, fresh scallions–dances circles around the dehydrated onion shards found in the version I grew up with. -Marne Setton, Assistant Editor See the recipe for Homemade French Onion Dip »