If you've ever flipped through the channels and landed on one of Food Network's many hit shows, you probably know Bobby Flay. The famous chef, restaurateur, and television personality has had a storied career in the food industry. He's won a ton of accolades, including Restaurant of the Year, three James Beard Awards (like Rising Star Chef of the Year), and five Daytime Emmy Awards for his cooking shows. He was also one of the original contestants of "Iron Chef" and a mainstay on the show for nearly 17 years until he surprisingly quit in 2018.
It's safe to say Flay has a lot of great ideas when it comes to cooking up delicious food at home. The New York chef has provided countless advice to people of all skill levels through his many Food Network appearances, online recipes, and YouTube clips. We've compiled a list of 20 of his best cooking tips here, so keep reading to up your game in the kitchen.
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Add Potato Chips To Your Burger For A Satisfying Crunch
One of Bobby Flay's signature recipes (it's literally called the Signature Burger) is the house special at his burger joint — Bobby's Burger Palace. The Crunchburger, as it's also called, contains ground beef, cheese, romaine lettuce, and tomato and adds one delicious highlight: a stack of potato chips for a big crunch with every bite. According to Flay himself, chips on sandwiches aren't just a crazy concoction invented by kids — they're a legitimately delicious way to upgrade burgers.
"Oozing melted cheese becomes a part of the chips, and those crunchy chips become a part of the burger — delicious," he says via Food Network. "I love getting a mouthful of juicy burger and salty, crispy potato chips in one bite; it's a way to get a true contrast of textures into your cheeseburger." Flay's not all talk. If you head over to Bobby's Burger Palace, not only can you order the Crunchburger, but you also have the option to "crunchify" any other burger on the menu for no additional cost.
He doesn't specify what kind of potato chips to use, so it's up to you to choose your favorite. It's nice to get confirmation from a world-class chef that adding chips to your sandwiches is perfectly acceptable.
Use A Towel To Tighten Your Rolled Omelet
For the average chef, throwing together a simple omelet isn't the hardest task in the world. But creating a fluffy, perfectly rolled, world-class French omelet is a different story. Bobby Flay has cooked countless eggs in his life and came up with a fantastic (and easy) hack to help roll omelets so they look like a professional chef just made them.
If you've ever tried to cook an omelet before, you know everything might be going fine right up until the end when you need to delicately flip it onto your plate. This can be especially true if you pack your egg dish with fillings that burst out the seams. If your omelet isn't as tight and picture-perfect as you'd like once you plate it (or if it has spilled out completely), all you need to do is grab a kitchen towel and lay it over the omelet. Then simply tuck in the sides like you're rolling a burrito or a roll of sushi and give it a squeeze. This little "restaurant trick," according to Flay, is a failsafe way to make sure your omelets look great every time.
Cook Bacon In The Oven
Everybody loves bacon — and that includes world-class celebrity chefs. Bobby Flay has his share of bacon-related tips to not only make it more delicious but less of a mess as well. He says that even though he grew up with his mom throwing bacon into a skillet and pan-frying it, that's not the best way because the bacon will cook unevenly (not to mention all of the grease that splatters everywhere).
His simple tip is to cook bacon in the oven. He advises putting some parchment paper down on a baking tray so it's easier to clean later, then adding your bacon slices next to each other on the tray, and sliding the whole thing into the oven. Let the bacon cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes until it's nice and crispy. Keep an eye on your bacon to make sure it reaches the texture you want. You'll get evenly cooked bacon with a fraction of the messy cleanup that comes from pan-frying it on the stovetop.
Step Up Your Bacon Game With A Maple Syrup Glaze
Bacon is amazing on its own, but that doesn't mean you can't upgrade it to reach even new heights. Bobby Flay says a simple way to make bacon even more delectable is to create glazes that add sweet and spicy flavors. Some examples he gives are honey with some heat or molasses infused with chili peppers. In one Food Network video, he makes a glaze by mixing maple syrup and Dijon mustard along with some salt and pepper.
Shortly after the bacon is cooked (with his preferred method on a sheet tray in the oven), he pats the bacon dry and then brushes on the maple syrup glaze while it's still warm. As the bacon cools, the glaze melds into the meat to become what he calls "a piece of bacon candy in the very best way." To Flay, that bacon candy is reminiscent of a happy accident at brunch. "Don't you love that moment when you're eating the pancakes, and there's some bacon on the plate, and then the maple syrup spills into the bacon?" Yes, Bobby, yes, we do.
Use A Food Processor To Make Fresh Pasta Dough
For most people, making pasta from scratch can be pretty intimidating. Sure, it might be a bit of extra work, but the incredibly tender, delicate, and rich taste of fresh pasta pairs so well with homemade pasta sauces. It usually takes some elbow grease to get your ingredients into shape, but Bobby Flay has a trick to quickly get his dough formed: use a food processor. In a cooking demo where he makes squid ink fettuccine, Bobby adds his eggs, flour, and squid ink (optional for you, of course) to his food processor and pulses the ingredients together just until the dough forms. Then Flay kneads the pasta by hand for another minute before wrapping it up to allow it to rest before he eventually rolls it out.
The powerful blades of a food processor can mix the flour and eggs much faster than kneading the dough by hand. With this easy tip, you can have freshly made pasta dough ready in just minutes.
Peel Your Shrimp And Use The Shells For A Delicious Stock
Yes, peeling your own shrimp can be a pain. But the benefits far outweigh the effort, according to Bobby Flay. Not only can you save money from buying shrimp with the shells left on, but those discarded shells can also create an incredibly deep and flavorful stock. Once you remove the shells from your shrimp, add them to a pot, cover them with water, then simmer.
In one particular demonstration for a pasta sauce, Flay also adds onion, tomato paste, and bay leaf to the shells, then allows everything to simmer for a half hour. Afterward, he strains the mixture and adds a half cup of tomato sauce or clam juice for an extra layer of flavor. One more tip? Flay says he leaves the tail on the shrimp when cooking so it will hold its structure better, contributing to the final presentation of the dish.
Flavor The Water You Boil Your Shrimp In
Continuing on the theme of shrimp here, Bobby Flay has another great tip when preparing them. Boiling the shellfish is already a quick and easy way to get your meal on the table, but Flay recommends seasoning the water first with simple household ingredients to add a huge punch of flavor.
In his shrimp cocktail recipe, Flay advises filling a saucepan with cold water, then mixing in salt, peppercorns, coriander, and plenty of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil for five minutes to allow the flavors to get to know each other. Then shut off the heat, add the shrimp, and cover with a lid for 15 minutes. The shrimp will cook through while absorbing the essence of everything you added to the water. It's a simple trick to boost the taste of your shrimp dishes with minimal extra effort.
Cut Avocado Flesh Into Diamonds For Even Chunks
Avocados are a super tasty, healthy fat that complements endless dishes — but they aren't always the easiest to separate from the skin. If you don't know what you're doing, dealing with avocados can be messy. People often go at the flesh of an avocado with a spoon, but that can lead to big lumps that are difficult to spread on whatever you're adding them to.
Here's what Bobby Flay does when he uses avocados. First, he'll slice the fruit (yes, avocados are considered fruits) in half around the pit and splits the two sides. After removing the pit with his knife, he cuts lines crosswise into the flesh of the avocado. Once each half is (carefully) scored, scoop out the flesh with a spoon. This ensures it comes out in even chunks, perfect to spread on toast, mix into a salad, or mash into guacamole. Flay prefers his avocado in thicker chunks when he adds them to his dishes, but you do you.
Pour Your Salad Dressing Around The Side Of The Bowl — Not Right On Top Of Greens
When making something as simple as a salad, it's the little things that create the best possible dish. Bobby Flay has a few straightforward salad tips that might seem obvious in hindsight but are actually pretty genius if you don't already do them. For one, Flay suggests seasoning all of your vegetables and salad greens with salt and pepper before you add dressing to the bunch. This helps draw out the natural flavors of everything in your bowl.
More importantly, Flay says it's crucial that you don't put your dressing directly on top of the delicate greens as a heavy vinaigrette can easily break them down. Instead, pour dressing around the outer edge of the bowl. Then dive in with your hands, and gently coat the veggies with dressing, Flay advises. You'll find that you'll only need to use a fraction of the dressing, and your veggies won't come out limp and lifeless.
Make A Big Batch Of Your Own Spice Rub In Advance
Nothing is more time-consuming (and annoying) than grabbing five of your favorite spices, unscrewing their containers individually, seasoning your meat with them one by one, flipping the meat, washing your dirty hands, and then seasoning the other side with each spice. Bobby Flay's got a simple fix for this issue: create your own favorite spice rub ahead of time.
Make a big batch that is versatile enough to work with everything from beef to chicken to fish to veggies. Store it in an airtight container, and it should last for about three months. This way, you won't be fumbling with a bunch of bottles on grilling day and instead will have more time to enjoy the fun parts of cooking. Having a quality spice rub is also a great way to build a flavorful crust on meats, so having your own personal mixture is crucial for grilling season.
Rub Spices Into Your Favorite Veggies Before Cooking
When it comes to veggies, Bobby Flay thinks they don't get the attention they deserve when it comes to spices. In his opinion, any vegetables you're cooking should be treated like a good steak — liberally rubbed in a flavorful seasoning. There are three reasons why Flay loves preparing his vegetables this way: rubbing in seasonings gives a huge blast of flavor, it helps build a flavorful crust, and it doesn't take as long as a marinade does — you can start cooking right away.
So what goes into Flay's favorite rubs? Coriander and paprika usually serve as the base of any quality combination. In his recipe for spice-crusted carrots, he also adds salt, pepper, sugar, cumin, and English mustard powder. If your spice rack isn't as well-stocked as his, Flay tells Bon Appetit you can use a "cheat" spice like harissa "because it's made with so many incredible ingredients, including chiles, olive oil, and a variety of North African spices."
Pre-Make And Freeze Basic Barbecue Sauce, Then Add Extra Flavors Later
In addition to making your spice rub ahead of time, Bobby Flay advises preparing a basic barbecue sauce out of everyday home staples and keeping it ready to go for barbecue season. Although many people buy store-brand sauces, mixing your own at home is actually a lot easier and more accessible than you think. All you need for a basic barbecue sauce is something with a tomato base (ketchup does great here), brown sugar, vinegar, and water. From there, you can get crafty with whatever seasonings you have, like paprika, Worcestershire sauce, or dry mustard. If you like your barbecue spicy, you can add some hot sauce like Crystal or Frank's.
Flay likes to make a big batch of barbecue sauce and then portion it out into freezer-safe containers. That means when grilling time comes around, you're always prepared. Then depending on your mood, you can add extra flavors like molasses, pineapples, or habanero peppers to match whatever you're cooking.
Steam Or Boil Lobster Before Grilling
If you're going to splurge on lobsters, you better make sure you're cooking them correctly. There's nothing better than a beautiful lobster tail coated in garlicky butter and grilled with flavorful char, but when you're spending that much on your meal, it can be intimidating to prepare. Luckily, Bobby Flay shares how to make sure you perfectly cook your lobster every time.
The biggest tip here is to par-cook the lobster before you throw it on the grill. You can do this by boiling or steaming the lobster for a few minutes just until the meat is a bit firm. This step is crucial because it helps relax the meat before grilling. "If you just put it on the grill raw, what happens is the meat just kind of seizes up, and then it gets tough," Flay shares in a cooking video for Good Morning America. After steaming the lobster, Flay cuts the body into two halves, drizzles each meaty side with oil, then seasons with salt and pepper.
Next, he places each lobster half onto a hot grill shell-side down, then flips it onto the flesh side to get the smokiness of the grill infused with the buttery meat as it finishes cooking. The great thing is you can par-cook the lobster ahead of time, and then finish it on the grill just before it's time to eat.
Cook With Two Oils At The Same Time
Just about everyone keeps a cooking oil handy in their kitchen, but Bobby Flay says you should go a step further. Not all oils are created equal, so always keep two different oils ready — a light oil with a higher smoke point like canola oil to use when cooking and a high-quality olive oil for finishing dishes. He says he avoids cooking with extra-virgin olive oil. Many olive oils are better-suited for adding flavor to a dish. One option is to ditch the sauce and instead make a vinaigrette with good olive oil and vinegar. It'll taste great and save you time in the kitchen.
It's also important to note cooking oils don't last forever. Be aware of their taste and smell to ensure they haven't gone bad. Oils past their expiration date will usually have a bitter or chemical-like aroma rather than their natural nutty smell and should be tossed immediately.
Soak Corn In Water Before Grilling To Get Juicy, Crunchy Goodness
Nothing says summer backyard barbecue more than freshly grilled corn with a beautiful char and a buttery glaze. Bobby Flay shares three simple steps to ensure corn comes out juicy and crisp every time. The first step is to peel down the husk without detaching it so you can take out all the thread-like silks. Flay takes care of the juiciness with the next step: Pull the husk back up over the corn, and then soak it in cold water for about 20 minutes. Lastly, place your corn -- with the husks still on to protect the kernels -- on the hot part of the grill for about 20 minutes.
It can be tempting to simply throw your corn directly on the grill after removing the silks, but taking the extra time to soak them in water ensures you get juicy bites every single time.
Cut Foods For Grilling Into Big Pieces So They Don't Fall Through The Grates
There's nothing worse than putting in the work to chop bowls full of vegetables for grilling only to have the pieces slip between the grates, prompting a mad scramble to save them from burning to a crisp. For this, Bobby Flay has a simple piece of advice: Don't cut your foods so small when grilling. If your vegetables are chopped into larger pieces or even left whole, they're easier to handle on the grill. Just remember you can always slice up your vegetables after you grill them.
Gone are the days of carefully tinkering with every tiny tidbit. If you have some foods that are already naturally small (think cherry tomatoes or shrimp), grab some wooden skewers, soak them in water, and load them up with bits of food. Skewers make flipping and transferring foods on the grill a breeze.
Use A Ramekin For Perfect Fried Eggs
A perfectly fried egg is one of the most beautiful and accessible foods you can make, but it's not always easy to get it right. There's a simple tip Bobby Flay uses every single time. After dropping in some butter and olive oil in a nonstick pan, he doesn't add the egg directly into the pan. Instead, he carefully cracks it into a ramekin first.
Flay admits he breaks egg yolks as often as anybody else, so the ramekin trick saves a ton of trouble if there's breakage. After the egg with its yolk intact is safely in the ramekin, he holds the dish closely over his pan and gently pours in the egg. If you don't have a ramekin, a small bowl works just as well. Sure, you might have an extra dish to clean afterward, but using this clever restaurant trick ensures success with your sunny-side-up egg every time.
Add Creme Fraiche For Richer Scrambled Eggs
Scrambled eggs are one of those dishes that seems incredibly easy to make but difficult to master. Anyone can throw a couple of eggs into a hot pan, but without proper care, they'll come out rubbery, gray, and unappetizing. Bobby Flay's process of making scrambled eggs is pretty simple — and he even shares his secret ingredient.
To start, Flay always uses a non-stick pan. In a live demo where he cooks a breakfast on Food Network, he says, "I don't care what skill level you are, do not try to be a hero when it comes to cooking eggs. ... Every professional chef I know uses a nonstick pan." Once the pan's warm, he adds in butter and his secret ingredient, creme fraiche. For the uninitiated, creme fraiche is like a rich sour cream. He then pours in the whisked eggs and cooks them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly to retain that creamy, smooth texture. Flay advises salting the eggs once they're nearly cooked, which also ensures the texture stays nice and rich.
Remove Your Eggs From The Pan As Soon As They Are Done Cooking
Bobby Flay mentions a common mistake many people make when it comes to eggs: overcooking them. Controlling the temperature of your pan is crucial. If you're looking to make a delicate and fluffy scramble, it's important to keep the heat on medium-low while constantly stirring and keeping the egg mixture in motion.
Once the eggs hit the hot surface, Flay warns not to leave the pan at any point. "The one thing about eggs is that they will continue to cook until they're stone cold," he says in a Food Network demo. "They cook really quickly, so you want to be able get them out of the pan and onto a plate as soon as you can." Flay goes on to say when he was young, his mom tended to overcook scrambled eggs by leaving them to sit in the pan, making them much too firm. Don't be like Flay's mom — keep your scrambled eggs custardy soft and get them away from heat as soon as they're ready to serve.
Grate Your Eggs Onto Avocado Toast
Avocado toast is more than just a millennial trend — it's become a staple breakfast for people all over the country. One of the great things about the quick and easy breakfast dish is that you have a blank canvas to add whatever your heart desires, from bacon to smoked salmon to a multitude of vegetables. Naturally, Bobby Flay has a unique and delicious way to top his avocado toast: with grated hard-boiled eggs. He says chopping eggs is fine, but using a cheese grater is much faster and gives a better texture.
If you want, you can simply grate the hard-boiled eggs on top of your avocado toast, or you can make an egg salad as Flay does. For the mixture, he adds Dijon mustard and creme fraiche along with chopped shallots and dill. To assemble the perfect avocado toast, Flay spreads a thin layer of avocado that's been combined with lime juice, cilantro, and green onion onto a toasted piece of bread. He then adds some radicchio, followed by the egg salad and an extra sprig of dill for presentation. Who knew avocado toast could be so creative?
Read the original article on Mashed.