Instead of boiling corn on the cob, dot it with a little butter, salt, and black pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast (350 degrees) until tender. Caramelize a little honey in a sauté pan and, when the corn comes out, brush with the honey.
-Alex Guarnaschelli, Butter, New York; host of Alex's Day Off (Cooking Channel)
After you've breaded a piece of meat for panfrying (dip in flour, dip in a water-and-egg-white mixture, dip in bread crumbs), spray the breaded meat with a little water from a spritz bottle. The moisture will prevent the crumbs from absorbing too much oil while still preserving that crispy crunch.
-David Burke, David Burke Kitchen, New York
Make a Sandwich
Less is more. Proportion is key, making sure each element balances the next. I like a fresh slaw tossed in a light vinegar for some crunch and some acidity. Throw in the protein of your choosing, bearing in mind the salt that comes with cured or smoked meat. And when is adding a fried egg a bad thing? Butter the outside of your bread, griddle it, and that's a sandwich.
-Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami
Hold a Knife
Pinch the dull side of the blade with your pointer finger and thumb where the blade meets the handle. Wrap your other three fingers around the handle, leaving your thumb and pointer finger gripping the heel of the blade. Practice on a big bag of vegetables.
-Kelsey Nixon, host of Kelsey's Essentials (Cooking Channel)
For two eggs, add two tablespoons of water and two tablespoons of heavy cream, season with salt and fresh-cracked black pepper, and whip the hell out of them with a whisk until frothy. Melt some butter over medium heat and cook the eggs, not touching them until they are partially set. Then start some light stirring until they're almost finished, and turn the heat off. They will finish cooking because the pan is still hot.
-Randy Zweiban, Province, Chicago
Start with ripe, juicy fruit with a high moisture content. Lightly brush on all sides with melted butter or coconut milk. Make a dessert rub by combining one cup sugar with one tablespoon cinnamon. Set up your grill for direct grilling - a preheated grate over a hot fire: Brush the grate clean with a stiff wire brush. Oil it with a paper towel folded into a tight pad, dipped in oil, and drawn across the bars of the grate. Oiling prevents sticking and gives you killer grill marks. Dip fruit in rub to coat on all sides, shaking off excess. Grill the fruit long enough to turn the sugar and fruit juices into bubbling, golden caramel.
-Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible; host of Primal Grill (PBS)
Cook a Lobster
Use water that's as close to seawater as it can be - extremely salty or, better yet, seawater itself. And don't use much: Put three or four inches in the pot, and when the water is steaming like mad, add the lobster. A pound-and-a-quarter lobster takes about nine minutes. Afterward, don't shock it in ice water. That makes the meat tougher. Just let it cool down.
-Dave Pasternack, Esca, New York
Sear a Scallop
Make sure the scallop is totally dry - use a paper towel for this. Season it with salt. Get your (small) pan very hot and add cold oil. This way, the scallop will never stick. Once the scallop is in the pan, do not touch it. At all. It will caramelize. Flip it once and serve.
-Michael White, Ai Fiori, New York
Make a Spice Rub
Start with spices that are whole (as opposed to ground) and fresh (as opposed to sitting in your cabinet for three years). Black pepper always goes well with coriander and mustard seed. Cinnamon always goes well with clove, anise, and allspice. Cardamom is usually too strong. Toast spices in a dry pan on the stove over low heat for a couple minutes, then grind them. (You can use a clean coffee grinder.) Then rub it on whatever meat you're cooking.
-David Katz, Mémé, Philadelphia
Salt draws moisture out, so season just before sautéing meat or fish. If you salt too early, the surface of the flesh will become wet and will not get that nice golden crust. And if you marinate meat, remember to pat dry and season it just before you sear.
-Frank Stitt, Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham
Start with a cold pan, add olive oil, then garlic, and turn burner to low heat. Through the gradual increase of temperature, you'll infuse the oil with the flavor of garlic while it turns slightly brown.
-Marco Canora, Hearth, New York; author of Salt to TastePhoto Credit: Wesley Merritt
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