- Tuna. You'll never run into the issue of overly dry tuna if you stick to searing the outside, while keeping the inside a little pink. Just be sure to buy extremely fresh, sushi-grade fish if you plan on the inside being completely rare.
- A burger. There's nothing better than a hamburger patty that's so perfectly-cooked that it melts in your mouth. Chalk that up to the right amount of fat (at least 20 percent), as well as the doneness of the beef. Our choice: medium rare. Just be sure the beef's of high quality and has been ground fresh.
- Scallops. To those of you who hold disdain for the texture of scallops, here's a news flash: they shouldn't be rubbery! In my experience, the most tender-tasting mollusks are those that have been pulled from heat a minute before they're cooked all the way through, to achieve a tender, translucent quality almost evocative of pâtes de fruits.
- Eggs. Whether they're alongside bacon, atop pizzas, or served slow-scrambled, the only rule for the new egg trend is that they be served with the yolk still soft and runny for added creaminess.
- Lamb chops. I've found that lamb chops have the liveliest flavor and the most succulence when they're cooked medium to medium rare.
- Lobster. Gauging doneness with quick-cooking shellfish can be difficult — and it was Lidia Bastianich who taught me that lobster's always better a little undercooked than overdone. When crustaceans are overcooked, they become tough, not as sweet, and less flavorful.
At what doneness do you like your favorite foods?