Genius Recipes

The 10 Most Overlooked Genius Recipes of 2018

And why they deserve your love.

December 26, 2018
Photo by Rocky Luten

Every week in Genius Recipes—often with your help!—Food52 Creative Director and lifelong Genius-hunter Kristen Miglore is unearthing recipes that will change the way you cook.

It’s time for my favorite annual tradition: resurrecting the 10 least popular Genius Recipes of the year—then theorizing how I misled you with a bad headline or ill-planned timing, and singing their praises once more.

They’re the ones that proved not to be as attention-grabbing as 10-minute pasta and Nigella sheet-pan chicken (really, what can be?), but all have their own life-brightening charms—allow me to point them out one more time.

Why you didn’t care: You weren't looking for something cheaper than onion dip (or you questioned my math).

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Top Comment:
“I also live for Nigel Slater so I disappoints me that both his genius recipe picks were overlooked this year :( MORE FOR ME I GUESS.”
— CaffeineSpasms

Why you should: There is a fascinating story behind chef Alex Raij's two-ingredient "dip," and it tastes as good with spicy radishes as it does with ruffled potato chips.

Why you didn’t care: The secret ingredient was so mind-boggling many of you didn’t believe me that it was edible.

Why you should: It very much is—and makes the fluffiest banana cake ever.

Why you didn’t care: This no-churn dessert looks and sounds so fancy (gelato cake? ooh la la), you couldn’t have known how simple it is. Also, it ran in early August with a photo that looked like a fancy winter party at midnight.

Why you should: Wow, this thing is easy and delicious. Plus, Nigella found it tucked away in a surprising place and translated it from Italian (and from obscure Italian booze) just for us. Let's show her some gratitude.

Why you didn’t care: I thought seeing "hot water cornbread" would excite the Southerners who already know about it, and intrigue the rest of you. I may have overestimated on both counts.

Why you should: Using hot water and crisping in a pan instead of baking means you get cornbread faster—plus Todd Richards puts popcorn in almost all of his cornbread recipes and has very compelling reasons why.

Why you didn’t care: Too Thanksgiving-specific without being turkey- or pie-specific. Also: vegetables are chronically overlooked.

Why you should: This salad will keep you awake and well-fed all the way through the bitter end of winter. And you will want to eat those spicy onions on everything.

Why you didn’t care: I angled for this smart, spicy new seasoning from chef Dale Talde to help you get through a glut of Easter eggs, which came and went.

Why you should: It’s so good for other things! Also: It's made from one ingredient that's already in your fridge.

Why you didn’t care: You may never forgive me saying I served toast as a dinner party dessert, but please don’t hold it against the toast.

Why you should: I stand behind the simple joys of cold, raspberry-streaked cream melting into warm toast. Even for a dinner party! Don't be mad!

Why you didn’t care: Too many things you love in one place—processing error?

Why you should: It's not like you're actually making all three different dishes, but grabbing the best parts of each to layer into one simple summer salad (and their Venn diagram is already mostly overlapping, anyway).

Why you didn’t care: Either I was being too vague with “frozen treat” or you were onto me that frozen treats inevitably take more than 10 minutes to freeze (even if they only take 10 minutes to get into the freezer).

Why you should: Kulfi—a dense, creamy Indian frozen treat—is soothing and delicious, and Meera Sodha's recipe is the lickety-split version.

Why you didn’t care: This went up May 16, when you were already over spring and ready for tomato season.

Why you should: Nigel Slater includes a handy DIY chicken stock that's deeply flavored fast (thanks, roasted chicken wings!) and pulls smart moves you could use to brighten any soup. Don't even worry about the wilted lettuce—it's great.

Got a genius recipe to share—from a classic cookbook, an online source, or anywhere, really? Please send it my way (and tell me what's so smart about it) at [email protected].

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From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Emily
  • CaffeineSpasms
  • Suzanne Bonilla
    Suzanne Bonilla
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
  • patricia sullivan
    patricia sullivan
I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Emily January 28, 2019
My wife & I made that Thanksgiving side and it was a total hit. So flavorful, colorful, and special! Will definitely make again.
CaffeineSpasms December 26, 2018
I made that ripple toast SO many times when I had access to farmer’s market raspberries. I also live for Nigel Slater so I disappoints me that both his genius recipe picks were overlooked this year :( MORE FOR ME I GUESS.
Kristen M. January 2, 2019
Yes, more for us! And thank GOODNESS we have Nigel and other trusted experts to come up with recipes that aren't just the chicken and pasta that get all the clicks. I'm so happy you love the ripple toast as much as I do!
Suzanne B. December 26, 2018
The bruschetta, panzanella caprese salad looks wonderful and one I want to try this summer when the tomatoes are good. Thank you.
patricia S. December 27, 2018
I lost count of how often I made it and am shocked that it's on this list.

Kristen M. January 2, 2019
So happy to hear you liked it, Patricia, and that you like the looks of it, Suzanne—it's wonderful!