The Best Recipes of 2012

From poppy seed strudel to Amazonian pasta and shrimp casserole, this year at Saveur was rich with new revelations and rediscovered classics. Here's what we loved cooking best in 2012.

Shrimp Fritters
Shrimp Fritters

These simple fritters were a revelation for me, and I’ve been making them often since we published the recipe in our December issue. I’ll serve them with a salad for dinner and then–if there are any leftover–with fried eggs for breakfast the next day. They’re shockingly easy to make, and I love how they’re both earthy and briny at once. –Anna Stockwell, Assistant Web Editor See the recipe for Shrimp Fritters »

Poppy Seed Strudel
Mak Pirog (Poppy Seed Strudel)

I love this poppy seed strudel recipe for many reasons–it reminds me of my grandfather, who toiled to make the filling from scratch for his grandkids. And I have a very deep and soft spot for yeast dough pastry, a rustic staple of my childhood. This faithful rendition does justice to that underrepresented genre of baking, and it makes me think of home. –Gabriella Gershenson, Senior Editor See the recipe for Poppy Seed Strudel »

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter
Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

The first time I made Marcella Hazan’s devastatingly simple tomato-onion-butter pasta sauce, it was for a midwinter dinner with my Brooklyn roommates six years ago; we ate it sitting on the floor of our living room, plates propped up on the Ikea coffee table. That winter the recipe resurfaced probably a dozen times, and then for some reason I let it fall out of rotation. When we were compiling October’s 150th issue, it all came flooding back to me: the deep, bright, rich flavors that blend so flawlessly you’d never believe it’s just three ingredients, plus a pinch of sugar and a bit of salt. –Helen Rosner, Website Senior Editor See the recipe for Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter »

Venetian Tea Sandwiches
Tramezzini (Venetian Tea Sandwiches)

Every single one of the cicheti recipes in the March 2012 issue I adore, but particularly the tramezzini because they take me back to Venice where I made sure to charm myself just about every hour with a quick glass of wine and a nibble on a dainty-looking, but seriously flavor-forward, little sandwich. They’re so easy to whip up. The smallest twinge in my stomach, and I’m cutting off crusts and piling on capers and tuna, and just like inside a cicheti bar, snacking snacking snacking…Only, I’m at my kitchen sink. –Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor See the recipe for Venetian Tea Sandwiches »

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

My maternal grandmother was German-American, but her brother, who I knew as Uncle Charlie, loved to tease her because she married an Italian man; he complained that once she learned to cook Italian for her husband, she abandoned the food she had grown up eating. So Uncle Charlie was the only one in my family who cooked German delicacies like roast pork with bread dumplings, potato pancakes, and sauerbraten, which was personal favorite of mine. Unfortunately, he was not the type to write down recipes, and when he died, all of his beloved cooking methods died with him. When I had my own family, I tried sauerbraten recipes from various places, but none ever came close to my uncle’s–until I found this one. I would have been proud to serve this to him. And to his sister, too! –Greg Ferro, Managing Editor See the recipe for Sauerbraten »

Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken
Pollo al Horno (Chile-Spiced Grilled Chicken)

This was a recipe the test kitchen did not mind testing over and over as we all but licked the plate clean every time we made it. Personally, I can’t wait to use this marinade on a big pile of chicken wings for the Super Bowl! –Kellie Evans, Kitchen Director See the recipe for Polla al Horno »


Leave it to the potato-loving Irish to dream up colcannon, spuds mashed with finely chopped cabbage and enriched with lots of cream. There are as many versions of this classic dish as there are Irishmen: Some cooks add carrots or kale to the mix, others incorporate butter, bacon, and caramelized onions. Get the recipe for Colcannon »

Salade Niçoise

Traditionally made with local olives, oil-cured tuna, and anchovies, this protein-rich salad from Provence has become a staple of brasseries all over France. See the recipe for Salade Niçoise »

Chana Masala
Chana Masala

In our 150th issue this November, Suketu Mehta recounted memories of Chana Masala that made my mouth water and my imagination wander to the roadside stands and home kitchens of South Asia. The accompanying recipe, so simple, spicy and comforting, has become my go-to solution for beating the winter blues. –Felicia Campbell, Assistant Editor See the recipe for Chana Masala »

New England-Style Baked Beans
New England-Style Baked Beans

Little else warms up a room quicker than the smell of a savory, bubbling pot o’ just about anything. I first made these baked beans with my mother, after giving her a bean pot for her birthday. (Before you judge: as an avid home cook, she has just about every kitchen gadget in the book, sans bean pot. And nothing says “I love you, mom,” like a specialty pot.) The simplicity of the recipe belies the layers of flavor you get after simmering everything together, low and slow, for hours. Now that the real depths of winter are upon us, I’m looking forward to making myself another batch–or five. &mdas;Sophie Brickman, Associate Editor See the recipe for New England-Style Baked Beans »

Pasta and Shrimp Casserole
Camusclim (Pasta and Shrimp Casserole)

I first encountered this delicious dish when photographing “Passage to the Amazon,” a feature article about the foodways of Brazil’s Marajo Island. It’s essentially a tropical mac-n-cheese, with mozzarella replacing Velveeta and lime-juice-marinated shrimp lending extra savor. And, boy, is it delicious…it’s gooey, bold, creamy, sharp, and crusty. In short, it’s perhaps the most sophisticated–and adult–mac-n-cheese you will ever eat. –James Oseland, Editor-in-Chief See the recipe for Camusclim »

Tarte Flambee (Alsatian Bacon and Onion Tart)
Tarte Flambee (Alsatian Bacon and Onion Tart)

Heating a pizza stone for an hour before baking gives this savory tart a super crispy crust.

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