Fried Green Tomates - © Bon Appetit

How The Other Half Cooks… Bon Appétit Heralds Spring

Came across this listing of the top most clicked recipes at Bon Appétit when I was looking for something completely different. But I just kind of got stalled here. I think you’ll agree that the selection of recipes has a story to tell…

Qiiche Lorraine - © Bon Appetit

I have never been a member of the 1 percent. Not even the 25 percent. But I find it comforting to be reminded that the ultra-rich still have to eat like all the rest of us. And that, in many cases they like to eat what we like to eat.

Bon Appétit!

As one of the arbiters of the good life across the western world, Bon Appétit magazine (and website) are always under scrutiny. Folks want to see what the latest hot fashion is – in clothes, cars, even food. Now, Bon Appétit has revealed its 10 most-clicked recipes if this spring. And the content and pattern of those click-targets tells an interesting story.

Hold onto your spatulas…

Here are the top ten:

1. Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing

This perennial favourite tops the list of most-clicked Bon Appétit recipes this month. The preamble to the recipe says it all:

“Whipping up homemade Caesar salad dressing is easier than you might think—maybe easier than running out to pick up a bottle of your favorite store-bought version. But first, you must embrace the anchovy.”

Two rules must be observed: 1.) Do not let the idea of raw egg yolks intimidate you. 2.) You can’t beat this stuff too much.

2. Spring Orzotto

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Rizzotto: That creamy, cheesy rice dish that goes so well with fish, chicken and other light meats and seafood. Bow, there’s Orzotto It’s pretty much the same thing, but with Orzo – the tiny rice-shaped pasta that is so popular in soups and salads.

Cook the Orzo as you would Rizotto. Gently stir in your fave pesto and some fresh green peas. Serve cold or warm, as a salad or side.

3. Tuna Niçoise Salad

Another classic, that folks always think of in connection with summer in Amalfi. (That’s on the fshionable south-west sun coast of Italy, dont’cha know!)

Just add fresh Bread, a couple of bottles of chilled Rosé a big, bright colourful parasol and an afternoon of convivial companionship. The Italian way to relax…

4. Caprese Salad

Another eternal Italian classic. The original Tomato Salad. Use only the freshest Italian-style tomatoes: Romas, San Marzanos, di Pachinos, Pansanellos.

Use only the best fresh Mozzarella. Use only the choicest Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Garnish lightly (no so heavily as to obscure the flavour of the tomatoes) with fresh herbs of your choice.

5. Grilled Veggie Burgers

Folks who haven’t tried ’em yet are hurrying to make up for that oversight. There are, by my quick count, at least 4 or 5 major brands of veggie burger available in the supermarkets this spring. Most of them are based on pea starch with other  trademarked additions. Most have received pretty good reviews. But the big deal this season is ‘proprietary’ recipes such as the one in Bon Appétit

6. Pollo Asado

Simply ‘Grilled Chicken’, in English. What makes this new favourite recently ‘disciovered’ by folks outside Mexicao, is the marinade: Which relies on Naranja Agria (Central American Sour Orange) juice as its anchor flavour. Never seen Sour Oranges in your supermarket? You can fake it with a blend of regular Orange and Lime juice…

7. Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Thighs

Again, the secret’s in the marinade. And again, the marinade relies on Lime juice. Here’s a recipe that’s sure to please even the pickiest Vietnamese foodie. It’s somewhat less complicated than the Bon Appétit version. Maybe closer to the authentic, traditional version. Tips: Use skinless. boneless thighs unless you fancy ‘cleaning ‘regular bone-in thighs yourself. Don’t leave out the Fish Sauce (unless you are allergic to fish) just because it sounds creepy to you. As in so many other Vietnamese recipes, the unique qualities of Fish Sauce make the flavour!

8. Classic Soft White Dinner Rolls

One of the most carefully curated recipes in my culinary school recipe book is for classic soft white dinner rolls. These are the 2 in. / 10 cm square, two-bite rolls you so often find at sit-down catered occasions. Snowy white and pillowy soft inside. Everybody loves ’em. Some folks call them butter rolls. The click-magnet Bon Appétit version adds garlic and rosemary. You can’t eat just one…

9. Fried Green Tomatoes

For those who aren’t southern: Yes, fried green tomatoes dare a real deal. They’ve been a beloved savoury treat for a long time – well before the Depression, during which the original Fanny Flagg story and huge 1991 cinematic hit are set. Everyone has their own recipe. The big challenge is to make sure the crispy breading sticks on the tomato slices. Apparently, the Bon Appétit version has that eternal challenge beat, and boasts a flavour you’ll agree is more-ish.

I’ve made my own version a whole passle of times and it’s great. One secret in my version is to pat the tomato slices dry before breading. I also lay the slices out in a single layer, not touching, on a cookie sheet that will fit into my fridge. Then just before I place them in the frying pan, which has been brushed with med-high heat canola or olive oil, I run them through the breading station again to produce a double-dip, double crispy coating. Try this procedure on your breaded cutlets and other breaded dishes where the coating may not want to stick, too!

10. Quiche Lorraine

The Bon Appétit version looks great fresh out of the oven, with a well-set golden top and ample evidence of the bacon beneath. I don’t think even the Bon Appétit version can beat my own Quiche Lorraine. I’m not going to waste time arguing the point. But I will use the opportunity to pass on a couple of tips: Beat the egg mixture really well. Be sure to start the quiche at a high temperature (415 – 425 F) to set the crust so it won’t come out soggy. This is essential. Turn the oven temp down to 375 F after the initial 15 minutes and bake until a toothpick comes out clean (about another 45 minutes). Rule One: You can’t have too much cheese or too much crispy bacon in a Quiche Lorraine. Rule Two: Use only Swiss or White Cheddar Cheese.

And that’s the lowdown…

… On Bon Appétit’s most-clicked recipes this spring. I see a number of definite food fashion statements, here.

1. Salads are definitely leading the way this summer, and Mediterranean style salads in particular. This is a healthy trend and a great-tasting one, too.

2. Grilling is a natural for summer, and the two grill recipes in the Top Ten are definitely tending toward the tropics. The Mexican and Vietnamese chicken grills could be sisters separated at birth! Lime juice definitely provides the frame for these two zingy flavour portraits.

3. ‘Fresh’ is the byword uniting all the Top Ten choices special.

4. ‘Easy’ is also an important word in these menu highlighters. The toughest thing you’ll have to do is wait for the marinades to do their work. Tip: Get your guests involved (if only via conversation) when you’re slicing, dicing and julienning the ingredients for your salads! Let e’m get as involved as they wish!

You can take it from here!

And enjoy your summer lunches and suppers by the grill in high style just like the devoted readers of Bon Appétit magazine!

~ Maggie J.