In our kitchen, it’s the simplest little discoveries that feel the most revolutionary.
Each Short Stack edition has offered a discovery (or several) like this, as far as we’re concerned, starting all the way back with our first edition, Eggs. Ian Knauer changed the way we approach fried eggs completely.
He says “I love a perfectly fried egg: crispy edges, just-set whites, runny yolk. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cursed after breaking the yolk as I try to flip an egg in the skillet. It could be that I’m just a clumsy cook, but I can’t be the only one. So for all the other yolk-breakers out there, I’m sharing my secret: Instead of flipping the egg, I set the whites by transferring the skillet to the oven.”
Eureka! This theory is unbelievably basic, which is why it’s so crucial. Since publishing Eggs, we haven’t broken a single yolk in our frying pan.
And it got us to thinking about the other ways we might be overlooking our oven. There are many, it turns out. We’ve gathered some of our favorite techniques below.
Roux: Instead of sweating over your skillet, whisk in hand, try this almost entirely hands-off approach from Alton Brown. The roux cooks in the oven slowly over the course of 90 minutes (with a few stirs along the way), resulting in a gorgeously browned finished product every time.
Rice: Cooking a perfectly fluffy pot of rice shouldn’t be that difficult. And yet, we have had more batches of goopy rice than we care to admit. Kim Severson at The New York Times had similar rice agita, so set about finding a foolproof method. The secret? The oven, of course.
Bacon: Walk into any restaurant kitchen during brunch. You won’t see skillets full of bacon on the stove—they’ll be on baking sheets in the oven. It might seem counter-intuitive to “bake” your bacon, but doing so makes much less of a mess than frying strips stovetop, and the bacon comes out perfectly and evenly crunchy.