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Best Recipes of 2015

Our food editors pick their favorite Test Kitchen dishes of the year

Margo True
1 / 20

Scrambled Eggs with Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde

An unusually gentle technique makes these eggs creamy and cloudlike. Drizzled with a luscious Italian-style sauce of olive oil, capers, parsley, and aromatic Meyer lemons, it’s an unforgettable brunch dish. All you need is toast.

Recipe: Scrambled Eggs with Meyer Lemon Salsa Verde

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2 / 20

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

So often, gnocchi are disappointingly heavy, like little bullets. Not these. Pillowy and tender, they’ll renew your faith in this classic Italian recipe. They do take a couple of hours to make, but the good news is, you can freeze them and boil them whenever the craving strikes.

Recipe: Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

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3 / 20

Brad's Homemade Bacon

Brad Lettau, executive chef at the Hitching Post II in Buellton, CA, started making bacon several years ago to give to special customers. Now his monster slices (cut half an inch thick from smoked slabs, then grilled until crisp-edged) are something of a cult item. He makes his bacon at home all the time, and here he shows us how.

Recipe: Brad's Homemade Bacon

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4 / 20

Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts

This recipe proves how delicious Brussels sprouts can be when treated with respect. They’re sliced thin, browned crisp, and tossed with nutty whole-wheat pasta; then a fried egg goes on top. It’s a great weeknight dinner for a chilly night.

Recipe: Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts

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5 / 20

Strawberry, Quinoa, and Ricotta Salata Salad

This refreshing, summery salad is an ideal Sunset recipe: it’s inventive, boldly flavored, and easy. Plus, it taught us a new way to cook quinoa so that it’s never gummy—just pleasingly fluffy.

Recipe: Strawberry, Quinoa, and Ricotta Salata Salad

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6 / 20

Spicy Matzo-Ball Soup with Trinity Vegetables and Hot Peppers

There’s definitely an art to making matzo balls, and this recipe shows you exactly how to make them light and tender. The soup itself, based on a rich roasted chicken stock, is packed with flavor. It’s Jewish tradition infused with Southern soul.

Recipe: Spicy Matzo-Ball Soup with Trinity Vegetables and Hot Peppers

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7 / 20

Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake

Can you bake cake at a campsite? Yes! You’ll be the campground hero when you dish up slices of this dark, moist marvel.

Recipe: Dutch Oven Double Chocolate Cake

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8 / 20

Boysenberry Danishes

Simple to make, these buttery danishes showcase one of the glories of the West—the huge, juicy, glossy boysenberry, bred from a raspberry and three different blackberry species. Fruit specialist David Karp calls it “a noble fruit, as distinct from a common blackberry as a thoroughbred is from a mule.” The recipe adapts well to other berries, too.

Recipe: Boysenberry Danishes

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9 / 20

Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Blistered Padrón Peppers

Grilled rib-eye steaks are topped with grill-toasted padron chiles and an enticing sauce of vinegar and honey. The flavor envelope stretches in all directions here.

Recipe: Grilled Rib-Eye Steaks with Blistered Padrón Peppers

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10 / 20

Grilled Potato, Onion, and Bacon Skewers

Cook them over charcoal or gas, or even broil them—these are unfailing crowd-pleasers, good with just about any main course.

Recipe: Grilled Potato, Onion, and Bacon Skewers

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11 / 20

Roasted Pepper, Feta, and Lamb Filo Pie

The Mediterranean burst into our Test Kitchen this summer in the form of this beautiful pie, with its meltingly soft roasted peppers, creamy feta, and savory lamb encased in flaky pastry. It makes a stunning centerpiece for an outdoor party. We’ve even thrown in a vegetarian version!

Recipe: Roasted Pepper, Feta, and Lamb Filo Pie

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12 / 20

Flounder with Elote Salad

In less than half an hour, you can put together this excellent combination of mild white fish and a spicy, creamy, crunchy topping inspired by Mexican street corn.

Recipe: Flounder with Elote Salad

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13 / 20

Oaxacan Chocolate Milk Shakes

The ingredients sound bodacious—in addition to bittersweet chocolate, there are two kinds of chile, cinnamon, and tequila—yet these little milkshakes taste refined and smooth. They are dangerously easy to drink.

Recipe: Oaxacan Chocolate Milk Shakes

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14 / 20

Goat Cheese, Artichoke, and Olive Bruschetta

We thought we’d tried just about every bruschetta under the sun, and needed try no more. Then these came along—suave, compelling, the perfect companions for Sauvignon Blanc. Now this artichoke recipe has joined our “keeper” file.

Recipe: Goat Cheese, Artichoke, and Olive Bruschetta

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15 / 20

Quince Shrub and Cocktail

True, quince are still a little obscure. But they reward the adventurous cook with subtle, warm flavors and a beautiful rosy-pink color once simmered or baked. This recipe is a two-for-one: a tasty syrup to use in either a spritzer or a sophisticated cocktail.

Recipe: Quince Shrub and Cocktail

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16 / 20

Butternut Squash Spice Cake

If you’re looking for an alternative to pie this holiday season, we strongly encourage you to consider this big beauty—warm, spicy, generous in every way.

Recipe: Butternut Squash Spice Cake

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17 / 20

Crunchy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce

There are countless versions of the classic Spanish dish known as patatas bravas. This is the best we’ve ever tasted. The potatoes stay rivetingly crunchy in a cloak of feisty sauce. Add the allioli—garlic mayonnaise—and you’re a goner.

Recipe: Crunchy Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce

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18 / 20

Chicory Salad with Persimmons, Pomegranates, and Walnuts

Simple but elegant, full of seasonal fruits and nuts, this is exactly the salad you want on your holiday table.

Recipe: Chicory Salad with Persimmons, Pomegranates, and Walnuts

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19 / 20

Dungeness Crab Bisque

Don’t throw away your crab shells from a cracked-crab feast! Freeze them and use them for bisque when you want an impressive first course. This version, rich and deeply flavorful, has become a favorite in our Test Kitchen.

Recipe: Dungeness Crab Bisque

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20 / 20

Elsa’s Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Chewy, moist, intense—these are, quite simply, the perfect coconut macaroons.

Recipe: Elsa’s Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

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