Have I talked to you guys about Food 52 yet? Started by two New York Times food writers as a project to create the world’s first “crowd-sourced cookbook,” the site is a pretty fantastic resource for recipes, handy cooking tips, and equipment reviews. Think Cooks.com meets Serious Eats with an Gourmet aesthetic and you’ve kind of got the idea.
They have this feature that I am totally in love with called Genius Recipes. The basic idea is that they’re supposed to come from the stars of the food world and really change the way you think about cooking. What I like about them, however, is how shockingly easy so many of them are – which I guess DOES subvert the idea that for something to be great cooking it needs to be complicated. Many of the entrees appear to fall under the “five ingredients or fewer” category, which makes them ideal for a busy weeknight.
However, I didn’t get around to trying any of them until I saw this one. What was so special about it? Well, for one thing, I just bought the book that it came from, Judy Rodgers’ Zuni Cafe Cookbook, this summer at the flea market. I bought it because it was a dollar, and because it contains inside it one of the most magical recipes for chicken I’ve ever enjoyed, as prepared for me by good friend and excellent cook Eric Lintz. And yes, I made that chicken and yes, it was amazing, and yes, I will share that recipe with you one day, but not today, because today is all about the applesauce.
Which gets to the other reason that this was the Genius Recipe that finally got me cooking – I’d bought 10 lbs of apples for $7 at the Farmer’s Market, and there are only so many pies a lady can bake.
The apples were Ginger Golds from Kimball’s Fruit Farm, and they made such a good pie that I knew they’d make great applesauce, and this recipe seemed to be the one to go with – simple, letting the apple flavor shine through.
These were tossed with the tiniest amount of sugar and dotted with butter slivers. Into the oven they went!
Easily the best applesauce I’ve had in my life. The roasting gave a caramelized, toasty flavor to the sauce that, combined with that little bit of buttery richness, was borderline addictive. And it all took about 45 minutes, mostly right in the oven. Truly genius!