Max and Eli Sussman, two of this month’s featured chefs, share their thoughts on the five dishes every cook should master. Hint: they’re probably foods you eat all the time. Now it’s time to master them.
1. Medium-rare, please.
Whether it’s in a cast iron skillet or a grill, cooking steak to medium rare is essential to being a successful cook for the rest of your life
2. Soup up your cooking.
Add one cold and one hot soup to your repertoire. For cold, what about potato leek or gazpacho? For hot, what about miso or chicken soup? Whatever you choose, you’ll be ready for a BBQ or a hot summer night or something to keep you going through a frigid winter.
3. Dress to impress.
Salad is not simply throwing greens in a bowl and drowning it in Ranch. Salad should have complimentary components that elevate a plate of leafy greens into something much more. And try to experiment with making your own dressing. Endless spices, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, soy…maybe even some cheese or anchovies? Hot peppers, mustard, even fruits? Finding flavor combinations you didn’t think would work is part of the fun of making your own dressing at home.
4. Fresh, never frozen.
You should be eating more veggies than you already do. Puree them and make soups, chop them into salads, oven roast them to perfection with garlic and thyme, grill them outside with olive oil and sea salt, cook them with meats to soak up the pan drippings, stir fry them in a wok. Whatever you do with them is fine. Just eat more fresh and never frozen veggies.
5. Become a master of the (single) dessert domain.
Learn how to make a perfect pie crust. Now fill that pie crust. Fruit pies, chocolate pies, Peanut Butter pies, ice cream pies, free form tarts, individual turnovers. You now know how to make dozens of different kinds of desserts and all you had to do was master one recipe.
See delicious recipes from up-and-coming chef Max and Eli Sussman in our new book, This Is a Cookbook: Recipes for Real Life.