This sauce is a secret weapon in more ways than you'd expect. First, it's a quick way of shuttling all of your faltering greens and herbs and desiccated nubs of ginger out of their holding pens and into the future. Squirrel the ice cubes away in your freezer and you can have a vividly flavored fried rice or stir-fry anytime without washing or chopping or peeling—or even defrosting. Though Cohen likes it best for dispatching lingering containers of take-out rice, "It's adaptable for any grain, really," she says—anywhere you want "a really big, bright green blast." Adapted slightly from Dirt Candy and The New York Times . —Genius Recipes
2, with plenty of leftover stir-fry sauce
Vegetable Fried Rice
trimmed and quartered brussels sprouts
chopped cremini mushrooms
leftover rice, loosely packed (about 1 large, quart-size carton or 2 small pint-size cartons)
Heat sesame oil and canola oil in a large pan or a wok over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the vegetables and stir constantly until they have started to soften and brown, about 4 minutes.
Toss in the rice, and use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the clumps. Some of the rice will stick to the pan, but don’t panic. The older and drier the rice, the longer this takes. If it starts sticking a lot, add a dash of rice wine vinegar or water. Keep stirring until the rice softens and becomes slightly translucent.
Add the frozen Stir-Fry Sauce cubes, and keep stirring as they melt and coat the rice. Transfer the rice into a bowl and season to taste with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, or hot sauce, or all four.
Secret Weapon Stir-Fry Sauce
Tear all the stems off the herbs and spinach. (No need to be exact, just rip off most of them.)
Blanch the cilantro, parsley, Thai basil, and spinach in a pot of boiling water for about 30 seconds. As soon as they turn bright green, take them out and drop them into a bowl of ice water.
Take the greens out of the ice bath and shake off excess water (but leave the greens wet). Put them into a blender or small food processor with the garlic and ginger. Blend until you have a smooth, dark green purée. If it’s too thick, add a little water to keep it moving, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Pour purée into an ice cube tray and pop it into the freezer. To use in fried rice, add a few cubes to the pan once the vegetables and any other protein are cooked and the rice is translucent; keep stirring as the cubes melt and coat the rice. Season and serve.
Genius recipes surprise us and make us rethink cooking tropes. They're handed down by luminaries of the food world and become their legacy. They get us talking and change the way we cook. And, once we've folded them into our repertoires, they make us feel pretty genius too. Watch for new Genius Recipes every Wednesday morning on our blog, dug up by Food52's Senior Editor Kristen Miglore.