Genius Recipes

The 10 Most Overlooked Genius Recipes of 2019

These recipes deserve your love, too.

December 25, 2019

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 the most wonderful time of the year: The one where I look back at the highs and lows of this column and unearth the ten Genius Recipes that were the least clicky, as some people in the biz probably say. A bad headline (written by me) or poor timing (also chosen by me) or a misunderstood ingredient that I failed to make understood are usually the culprits.

As we know, clicks aren't always a barometer for what's really truly good—just what appears good to the most people on first glance. So these are the ten diamonds in the rough that most of you missed the first time around (and I won't let that happen again).


The Most Overlooked Genius Recipes of 2019

Braised Chicken With Salami & Olives

Why you didn’t care: My headline was The Key to the Most Flavorful Braised Chicken on the Block—straightforward but awfully snoozy.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I didn't click on Karen DeMasco's amazing granola bar recipe on Food52 because I had already discovered it in the Genius Desserts cookbook. This is one of my favorite recipes from the cookbook, and I have made them many times for both family and friends. I love these bars with sour cherry jam. I have also tried blackberry and strawberry jam, which were also delicious. Must use lemon curd next time. Thanks for the suggestion, drbabs. Looking forward to making some of these recipes that I missed the first time! :)”
— cookinginvictoria
Comment

Why you should: This chicken is anything but. Chef Donald Link is thoughtful about salt, and here green olives and salami make for a more well-rounded "Why is this so good?" seasoning than straight kosher. Or you could just take it from Food52er weekend at bearnaise: "It was, hands down, one of the best things to ever come out of my kitchen.”

5-Ingredient Summer Squash Pizza

Why you didn’t care: Making pizza sounds hard?

Why you should: Making pizza is fun and rewarding, and Deb Perelman at Smitten Kitchen hand-picked this one from No-Knead Breadman Jim Lahey for us. Did you catch that it's five ingredients total, for both the topping and the crust?

15-Minute Creamy (Vegan!) Tomato Soup

Why you didn’t care: You saw creamy! and vegan! and the cognitive dissonance was just too much.

Why you should: Of all the clever recipes J. Kenji López-Alt has created in his career writing the Food Lab at Serious Eats, this 15-minute soup is one of his favorites, and the one he makes most often.

Buffalo Cucumbers

Why you didn’t care: I said "Buffalo sauce" and then showed you a salad. Fair enough.

Why you should: You could use this sauce the usual way and be the person with the extra, suspiciously good Buffalo wings. But, by adding in one extra ingredient (a boatload of roasted garlic), your sauce will taste even better with all the other things we could be Buffaloing. Like salad!

Juicier Turkey (or Chicken or Pork) Burgers

Why you didn’t care: I said "turkey burger," then showed you a salad (again!).

Why you should: Whether you serve it on a bun or next to a baked potato, lean meat needs a lot more help than we've been giving it. Here, inspired by traditional Parsi kebabs, cookbook author Niloufer Ichaporia King jams it full of moisture (and flavor) with a mess of herbs, scallions, ginger, and chiles.

Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars

Why you didn’t care: We tried a little experiment where we skipped the Genius article this week and put the whole story on the recipe page. As it turns out, that makes the recipe much harder to find!

Why you should: Pastry chef Karen DeMasco's one-bowl, any-jam, any-nut crumble bar is one of my very favorites from Genius Desserts, and from life. Once you make it, you'll memorize it.

Sneaky-Good Hawaiian Pizza

Why you didn’t care: Making pizza sounds hard (reprise). And this one is Hawaiian—controversial! It also probably didn't help that I wrote "haters" in the headline.

Why you should: Regardless of how you feel about pineapple and Canadian bacon, any homemade pizza can benefit from dough master Ken Forkish’s sneaky-genius trick of tucking a thin layer of bacon grease below the sauce. You won’t taste bacon, you will just taste good.

Not-Poisonous Carrot Greens Salad

Why you didn’t care: Maybe putting "poisonous" in the headline wasn't the best idea.

Why you should: But the thing is, not only are carrot greens not poisonous, they're delicious—and free with purchase of carrots! But you can also just make this wonder-dressing for other vegetables, tofu, or meats in the genre of cold salads known as liang ban.

Roasted and Pickled Radish Tacos

Why you didn’t care: Maybe you didn't know you wanted radish tacos.

Why you should: You do! Because you never know when you'll need a good vegetarian (and easily made vegan) main, and because this one was designed artfully by chef Anita Lo to work well for solo diners but scale well to feed many.

Potato Chip Tortilla Española

Why you didn’t care: We sent this out at the bottom of a fairly long newsletter the day before Thanksgiving. Adding a Spanish tortilla to the menu—even if you can make it out of little more than a leftover bag of potato chips—may not have seemed in the cards.

Why you should: Ferran Adrià's famous tortilla hack skips many of the traditional steps—no slicing or slow-frying potatoes and onions—for a near-instant power lunch, dinner, or a snack (and one of the more iconic Genius Recipes around).

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

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I'm an ex-economist, ex-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007. 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."

9 Comments

Karen P. January 9, 2020
The granola bars are fabulous and everyone loves them! Super easy, too.
 
Misfitwife December 29, 2019
The chicken with salami and green olives was delicious and seeing it reminded me to make it again soon! We could eat the sauce on cardboard...it was that fantastic!
 
FredB December 27, 2019
Yeah.....still not biting on any after the re-read. Sorry.
 
lisambb December 27, 2019
That summer squash pizza is so good. We make it a lot in the summer but I might need to do it soon now that I'm thinking about it.
 
Barbra F. December 26, 2019
I have made most of these and will make them again! I didn't try granola bars, we don't eat them or Hawaiian Pizza, not a fan. I love the chicken with salami and olives, the tomato soup makes frequent appearances in our menu, and the turkey burgers are also a favorite. I feel sorry for the people who missed them
 
cookinginvictoria December 26, 2019
I didn't click on Karen DeMasco's amazing granola bar recipe on Food52 because I had already discovered it in the Genius Desserts cookbook. This is one of my favorite recipes from the cookbook, and I have made them many times for both family and friends. I love these bars with sour cherry jam. I have also tried blackberry and strawberry jam, which were also delicious. Must use lemon curd next time. Thanks for the suggestion, drbabs.

Looking forward to making some of these recipes that I missed the first time! :)
 
caroberts77 December 26, 2019
I love the granola bar recipe, I've made it twice now. Once with pumpkin butter & pecans and then just a few days ago using a combination of strawberry jam, lingonberry jam, and walnuts. Both times turned out great. Can't wait to try the squash pizza one, that looks so good.
 
Ruth December 25, 2019
I don't know. Three of these are now among my lifelong go-tos (tomato soup, jam bars, summer squash pizza). But many of the others are things I would never try. Maybe just the mood one's in when the newsletter arrives?
 
drbabs December 25, 2019
Wow, I’m shocked. Those granola bars are the best— adaptable (fig jam, lemon curd, apple butter...) and super easy. And the tortilla espanola made from potato chips? Awesome, so easy, and so impressive when you have to throw an appetizer together at the last minute. (I prefer olive oil fried potato chips, skip the ham, peppers and thyme, and use salt, pepper and smoked paprika.)