Monthly Archives: July 2022

Caprese Salad with a Twist

Large, juicy, ripe heirloom or beefsteak tomatoes and fresh picked corn on the cob are two heavy hitters that shine from mid- to late-summer in our neck of the woods. For those few fleeting months we try to take advantage of the produce preparing them in a myriad of different ways. Often, the simple approach is just as tasty as a more complicated recipe such as a corn sauté or an heirloom tomato tart.

You may have enjoyed Caprese Salad before, but have you ever topped it with some grated lemon zest? This twist on the preparations adds a wonderful bright note that compliments the other flavors. Sun-ripened farmers market tomatoes are layered with creamy mozzarella and topped with aromatic fresh basil, sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar, and that aforementioned floral lemon zest.

To complete the meal, we boiled fresh ears of corn, and grilled a cedar-planked salmon with a North African spice rub—both of which took about the same amount of time to cook. Deliscioso!

Caprese Salad with Lemon Zest

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 large heirloom or beefsteak locally grown tomatoes
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1⁄4 cup packed fresh basil strips
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. high quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Zest from half a lemon
  • Cracked black pepper


  1. Cut tomatoes and mozzarella in even slices. Sprinkle evenly with kosher salt.
  2. Arrange tomato and mozzarella slices on a platter. Sprinkle evenly with basil strips.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
  4. Using a microplane grater, grate lemon zest directly over tomato platter.
  5. Garnish with cracked black pepper.

Bulgur Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms

To bring more diversity to grain sides, Milk Street swapped out rice for bulgur, a form of wheat grain that’s been parboiled and dried so it cooks fast yet still retains all the benefits of whole grains. Earthy mushrooms pair well with the hearty grain and packs even more of a nutritional punch. For big mushroom flavor, choose widely available cremini mushrooms plus a ¼ ounce of dried porcini, to add nice depth.

Just a dash of soy sauce boosts the mushroom’s umami flavor even further and gives the dish a rich mahogany color. Sauté the mushrooms with an onion, then add the bulgur and the cooking liquid (a combination of water and broth) and simmer it until tender.

After removing the pot from the heat, place a dish towel underneath the lid (which helps absorb moisture) and let the bulgur steam gently for 10 minutes, which results in perfectly tender, chewy grains.

NOTES: When shopping, don’t confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which has a much longer cooking time and will not work in this recipe. Use vegetable or mushroom broth instead of chicken stock if you want to keep it vegetarian.

Bulgur Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • ¼ oz. (7grams) dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. cremini mushroom, stemmed and quartered if small or cut into 6 pieces if large
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup medium-grind bulgur, rinsed
  • ¾ cup homemade chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley

Our bulgur pilaf became the companion dish for Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.


  1. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion, porcini mushrooms, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook until onion is softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in cremini mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, cover, and cook until cremini mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, about 4 minutes.
  3. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in bulgur, broth, water, and soy sauce and bring to simmer. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until bulgur is tender, 16 to 18 minutes.
  4. Remove pot from heat, lay clean folded dish towel underneath lid, and let bulgur sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff bulgur with fork, stir in parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Recipe from Americas Test Kitchen

Southern-Style Shrimp Boil

What’s a summer without at least one clam bake or shrimp boil? Upon receiving our latest Food & Wine magazine, their cover image was a tempting looking Shrimp Boil, so we decided there and then to make one. This shrimp boil is a one-pot summer feast for a crowd. However, their recipe served eight (at a minimum) and with only the two of us it made sense to cut it in half.

In it, sweet, plump Gulf shrimp, corn, potatoes, and andouille sausage, come together in a flavorful cooking liquor. It is recommended to use large shrimp in the shell, which helps prevent overcooking and imparts its own flavor to both the shrimp and broth. Add dense ingredients like potatoes and corn first, then sausage, then shrimp. Just before serving, the boil is finished in a garlic spice butter. Yummy!

Like “Barbecue,” “Shrimp Boil” is both a noun and a verb. While all of the flavors are important, the real flavor from a boil comes from a potent cooking liquor. This broth takes it aromatic flavors from alliums, lemon and spices; while a bottle each of white wine and clam juice add heft.

Not having a large enough pot with a fitted strainer, we omitted the strainer altogether, except at the end to drain the food into. Additionally, the amount of liquids were reduced to make sure everything would fit our smaller pot.

For authenticity, you may want to line your eating surface with newspaper or butcher paper and serve the shrimp, corn and potatoes splayed out on the table. Of course, a more formal/civilized approach is to serve from a platter. Whatever style you choose, make sure to have plenty of paper towels handy because the food is meant to be eaten with your hands.

Southern-Style Shrimp Boil

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 lemons
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning or Old Bay seasoning, plus more for serving
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tsp.)
  • 5 Tbsp. plus 1/8 tsp. fine sea salt, divided
  • Hot sauce (such as Tabasco), to taste
  • 11 qts. water
  • 1 750-milliliter bottle dry unoaked white wine (such as Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 8-oz. bottle clam juice (such as Bar Harbor)
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered lengthwise, root intact
  • 2 garlic heads, halved crosswise
  • 8 dried bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning
  • 2 lbs. small yellow, red, or gold potatoes
  • 8 8-oz. shucked ears fresh corn, halved crosswise
  • 3 lbs. fresh or smoked sausages, preferably andouille
  • 4 lbs. unpeeled raw large wild shrimp
  • Dipping Sauce, optional, for serving (See Step 5 for making your own.)
  • Whole-grain mustard, for serving 


  1. Grate zest from 1 lemon to measure 2 teaspoons. Set grated zest aside. Cut zested lemon and remaining lemon into quarters; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low. Stir in Cajun seasoning, minced garlic, 1/8 teaspoon salt, hot sauce to taste, and reserved lemon zest. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. 
  2. Place a 24-quart pot on an outdoor propane burner. Add 11 quarts water, wine, clam juice, onion, garlic heads, bay leaves, thyme, quartered lemons, and remaining 5 tablespoons salt to pot; cover and bring to a boil over high flame. Stir in crab boil packets; cover and cook 10 minutes. Place a fitted strainer inside pot.
  3. Add potatoes to strainer in pot; cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir in corn and sausages; cover and cook until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of sausage registers 155°F (or until heated through if using smoked sausages), about 10 minutes. Stir in shrimp; cook, uncovered, until shrimp are pink, opaque, and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Lift strainer from pot, letting liquid strain back into pot, and transfer shrimp boil mixture (potatoes, corn, sausage, and shrimp) to a large heatproof bowl; discard onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, lemons, crab boil packets, and strained liquid inside pot. Add reserved butter mixture to shrimp boil mixture; toss to coat. (If you don’t have a large enough bowl, you can do this step in batches, tossing half of the shrimp boil with half of the butter mixture at a time.) Arrange coated shrimp boil on a platter or a covered table. Season with additional Cajun seasoning or Old Bay. Serve with cocktail sauce and mustard, if desired.
  5. To make the dipping sauce: Stir together 1 8-ounce jar cocktail sauce, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce in a small bowl. Store, covered, in refrigerator up to 5 days. Grate fresh horseradish on top for serving, if you like.

Adapted from a recipe by Hunter Lewis for Food & Wine Magazine

Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs

These luscious kebabs are an adaptation of the mishkaki from “Feast: Food of the Islamic World” by Anissa Helou, reinterpreted by Milk Street. Mishkaki are grilled skewers of marinated meat from Zanzibar, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, just off the coast of Tanzania. So transport yourself to another land while in the comfort of your own home and enjoy a laid-back feast of Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs.

Zanzibar’s cuisine represents a fusion of the people and cultures—Persian, Portuguese, Arabic—that once colonized or settled in the area. Chunks of chicken are marinated in an aromatic mixture of their spices including ginger, garlic, tomato paste and lemon juice before they’re skewered and grilled.

Don’t worry if the cut pieces of chicken are irregularly shaped. As long as they’re similarly sized, shape isn’t important. Don’t crowd the skewers on the grill grate. Allow some space between them so heat circulates and the chicken cooks quickly and without steaming.

While it was suggested to serve with warm naan and plain yogurt for drizzling; we paired ours in combo with another Mediterranean dish Bulgar Pilaf with Cremini Mushrooms. Suffice it to say, we fell in love with this tasty meal. And the leftovers were just as good!

Ginger-Curry Grilled Chicken Kebabs

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, plus lemon wedges to serve
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces


  1. In a large bowl, stir together the oil, tomato paste, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, curry powder, turmeric, cayenne, 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
  2. Add the chicken and mix with your hands, rubbing the seasonings into the meat, until evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes while you prepare the grill or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  3. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute evenly over the grill bed; open the bottom grill vents. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes, then clean and oil the grate.
  4. While the grill heats, thread the chicken, alternating with the pepper and onion pieces, onto 6 to 8 metal skewers. Place the skewers on the grill. Cook without disturbing until lightly charred on the bottom and the meat releases easily from the grill, 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Flip the skewers and cook, turning every few minutes, until charred all over and the chicken is no longer pink when cut into, another 8 to 9 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a platter and serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe compliments of Milk Street

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese and Honey

These addictive fig bites from Fat Rice chef Abraham Conlon are very simple, so it’s crucial to use the best ingredients, from true Spanish ham to ripe, juicy figs, crunchy marcona almonds (a fave of mine) and best-quality olive oil.

Unable to source jamón ibérico or serrano, we had to resort to prosciutto. And the original recipe indicated a whole almond should be place on top as a finish. But we decided that was not practical. How would the nut stay adhered to the piece? Instead, we placed the almond on top of the goat cheese, then wrapped each piece in a slice of the prosciutto with a mint leaf as garnish.

Or better yet, crush the almonds and mix them into the goat cheese mixture. Quite a decadent little bite!

Prosciutto Wrapped Figs with Goat Cheese and Honey

  • Servings: 16 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 8 fresh figs, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup ruby port
  • Black pepper
  • 4 ounces fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced dry-cured ham, such as jamón ibérico, serrano or prosciutto torn into 16 long strips
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 16 Marcona almonds, lightly crushed
  • Small mint leaves, for garnish


  1. Arrange the figs cut side up on a plate. Drizzle with the port and season with black pepper. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, using a fork, blend the goat cheese with the honey, scallion, crushed almonds and a pinch of flaky sea salt.
  3. Dollop small spoonfuls of the goat cheese on the fig halves. Wrap each cheese-topped fig half in a strip of ham and transfer to a platter. Drizzle the figs with olive oil, top with the mint and sea salt and serve.

Adapted from a recipe by Abraham Conlon for Food and Wine

Ground Lamb Pulao

The aroma of fresh mint and spices permeates this bright, turmeric-painted pulao made with basmati rice and ground lamb. This recipe, which has origins in the ground meat pulaos of India, is quite flexible and open to additions: a handful of fresh dill, a generous sprinkling of fried peanuts or other nuts, or crispy, fried onions tossed in just before serving.

It also works well if you substitute beef for the lamb, and really needs no sides, except maybe some raita, creamy plain yogurt or a salad. And we did just that, a simple side salad completed our meal.

We had plenty leftover with only the two of us for dinner. The extras were refrigerated and a day later reheated and enjoyed for lunch.

Ground Lamb Pulao

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 1 ½ lbs. ground lamb or beef
  • 1 tsp. ghee, unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
  • 2 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp. garam masala
  • ½ tsp. red chile powder
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6), trimmed and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves

  1. Check the rice and discard any debris. Place the rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under running water until the water runs clear. Place the rice in a bowl, cover with water by 1 inch, and soak for 30 minutes.
  2. As the rice soaks, cook the lamb: Place a medium saucepan with a heavy lid or a Dutch oven over medium heat. When the saucepan is hot, break the lamb into chunks, and cook until the fat renders, about 2 minutes. Drain most of the fat, leaving behind 1 to 2 tablespoons, and continue to cook the lamb until it browns, another 2 minutes.
  3. Add the ghee and heat over medium until it melts, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Add the garam masala, chile powder, black pepper and 1 teaspoon salt and sauté until the spices are fragrant, 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon lime juice and stir until the flavors come together, about 1 minute.
  5. Transfer the lamb mixture to a large bowl and keep warm. (To do so, you could transfer it to a 250-degree oven.) Clean the saucepan and wipe dry.
  6. Drain the soaked rice. Add to the same saucepan and cover with water by 1 inch. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, the turmeric and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover, and reduce heat to simmer until the rice absorbs all the water, about 10 minutes. (Do not stir the rice as it cooks, or the grains might break.) Remove the saucepan from heat, and let sit, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir the rice into the cooked lamb mixture, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice. Fold the scallions and mint into the rice, and serve immediately.


Adapted from a recipe by Nik Sharma for NYTimes Cooking

Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

Some days you just want to have breakfast for dinner—and this quiche makes it more than all right. The making of this mushroom and cheese quiche is a labor of love, but it really is a treat well worth the effort, no matter what time of day you choose to eat it.

The smoky cumin-flavored caramelized onions enfolded in a delicately textured custard set in buttery, tender, and crisp crust may tempt you into eating far more than you should. Serve with a side salad and call it a day (or night)!

Making a quiche can be a longish process, although it doesn’t ask for fancy techniques or equipment. With a little patience, you’ll have a 9-inch pie that is one hundred percent worth the bake. To streamline the process further, you could purchase a pre-made pie crust, but this blog instructs you from start to finish.

NOTE: Keep your dough cold. It’s the golden rule for making a flaky crust. So, if the butter is melting when you’re cutting the flour, slide the whole thing in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. 

Mushroom and Cheese Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Pastry Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (127 grams)
  • 1⁄2 cup salted butter (113grams), chilled, cut into small cubes.
  • 3-4 Tbsp. water, ice cold

Mushroom Filling

  • 2 large onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt to taste
  • 10 oz. cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced

Custard Filling

  • 4 eggs
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. fresh/dried thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 oz. grated Gruyere OR Fontina cheese OR a mix of both, divided
  • 1-2 Tbsp. scallion, only the green part, finely chopped (save the whites for your side salad)


Pastry Crust

  1. Start by cutting chilled, cubed pieces of butter into the flour using just your fingertips (this prevents the heat from the rest of the hand from melting the butter). You can also use a pastry cutter or two knives.
  2. When you have a coarse bread-crumb-like texture add ice-cold water one tablespoon at a time and bring the dough together.
  3. You don’t have to knead it. Using only the heel of your hand push the dough away from you. Then bring it back with your fingertips till smooth.
  4. If the dough feels dry add in more chilled water. 
  5. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten it slightly, cover in cling wrap and then refrigerate until it is firm and easy to handle, about 15 minutes.

Blind Baking The Pastry Crust

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°. Keep a 9″ pie dish handy.
  2. On a very lightly floured surface (you don’t want excess dry flour), roll out the dough to an approximately 12″ circle. 
  3. Pick it up gently and place it in your pie dish. Push the dough inwards along the edges and the base with a very firm hand. You can also wrap the dough around your rolling pin and then transfer it to your pie dish.
  4. After you’ve made sure the dough fits the pan well, trim the dough that’s hanging over with a sharp knife and chill for another 20 minutes.
    The Hubs used the extra dough and added it around the perimeter and notched it with the end of a knife to crimp the edges. This helps the crust from shrinking.
  5. Prick the bottom of the chilled pie shell with a fork.  
  6. Line the shell with parchment paper and weigh it down with baking beans, dry red kidney beans, or chickpeas.
  7. Bake the crust for 15-16 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  8. Remove the parchment paper and the beans and return the pie to the oven for another 7-8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes.

Mushroom Quiche Filling

  1. While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.
  2. Thinly slice the onions and cook them in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter on low heat along with a sprig of fresh thyme and cumin powder. 
  3. As the onions are softening, after 5 minutes, add the balsamic vinegar.
  4. Stir occasionally, and sauté the onions until they are soft and brown, 8-10 minutes total. Add salt to taste right at the end. Discard thyme sprigs and transfer to a bowl and keep aside.
  5. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the mushrooms in the same pan, until they are softened and cooked, about 8 minutes.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, fresh/dried thyme, salt, and pepper. You can use any seasoning you prefer.


  1. Spread the caramelized onions on the pie crust.
  2. Top this with most of the sautéed mushrooms (save 8-10 for the top) and some green onion.
  3. Sprinkle 2/3 of the grated cheese and pour over the egg cream mixture. Top with remaining 1/3 grated cheese and the remaining mushrooms.
  4. Bake this at 350° for 40-45 minutes until the center is set and the quiche, golden.
  5. Let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Very loosely adapted from a recipe by Natasha Minocha

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

This light, delicate weeknight curry comes together in less than 30 minutes and is defined by its deep miso flavor. Miso is typically whisked into soups toward the end of the recipe, but sweating it directly in the pot with ginger, garlic and a little oil early on helps the paste caramelize, intensifying its earthy sweetness.

Unfortunately, I misread the instructions and didn’t add the miso until after the coconut milk had been boiling for several minutes, missing out on the nice caramelization—mea culpa. While the overall flavor is on the mild side, adding a tablespoon of red Thai curry paste at the same time as introducing the miso to the pot, will provide a more pronounced touch of heat and deepen the overall color.

Adding coconut milk creates a rich broth that works with a wide range of seafood. Salmon is used here, but flaky white fish, shrimp or scallops would all benefit from this quick poaching method. A squeeze of lime and a flurry of fresh herbs keep this curry bright and citrusy. For a hit of heat, garnish with sliced fresh jalapeño or serrano chile peppers.

Coconut-Miso Salmon Curry

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. safflower or canola oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/2-inch thick (about 2 cups)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼ cup white miso
  • ½ cup unsweetened, full-fat canned coconut milk
  • 1 1/2-lb. salmon fillet, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 5 oz. baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges for serving
  •  Steamed rice, such as jasmine or basmati, for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion, ginger and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add miso and cook, stirring frequently, until miso is lightly caramelized, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add coconut milk and 3 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in salmon, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in spinach and lime juice.
  5. Divide rice among bowls. Top with salmon curry, basil and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top.

Adapted from a recipe by Kay Chun for NYTimes Cooking

Saffron-Spiked Crispy Rice with Chicken and Lemon Zest

Tahchin is a traditional Persian dish of basmati rice mixed with saffron, yogurt and egg yolks, then baked into a cake. Here however, a tahchin morgh, or tahchin with chicken is made with a shortcut by simply layering uncooked pieces of seasoned chicken thighs into the rice so they bake right into the grains.

You will need a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate for this recipe. The glass not only conducts heat well so the rice forms a nice bottom crust, it also allows you to monitor browning. For make-ahead convenience, Milk Street says the rice can be put into the pie plate, covered and refrigerated for up to eight hours. When you’re ready to bake, drizzle on the melted butter, cover with foil and bake as directed.

I wasn’t so sure that I’d be bowled over by this recipe, but after a few bites I realized just how good it was! We omitted the currants, but kept everything else the same. Even though it is a one pan meal, it uses numerous bowls and containers to prep the ingredients, so make sure you have a dish washer on hand 😉

NOTE: Don’t use a metal baking pan or a ceramic pie plate. Neither will brown and crisp the bottom crust as well as glass. Also, be sure the oven rack is in the lowest position, as proximity to the heating element will assist with browning.

Saffron-Spiked Crispy Rice with Chicken and Lemon Zest

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 Tbsp. boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1- to 1½-inch pieces
  • 3 tsp. grated lemon zest, divided
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 Tbsp. dried currants
  • 2 Tbsp. salted butter, melted
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to serve
  • Roughly chopped roasted pistachios, to serve


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the rice with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Set aside at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up 12 hours. Drain the rice in a fine-mesh sieve, then rinse under cool running water and drain again.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the saffron and boiling water; set aside. Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the lowest position. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish glass pie plate with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon of the lemon zest, the garlic, ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of the saffron water. Stir until the chicken is evenly coated; set aside at room temperature.
  4. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the yogurt, egg yolk, remaining 2 teaspoons lemon zest and remaining saffron water; whisk until well combined.
  5. When the water reaches a boil, stir in the rice and 2 tablespoons salt. Return to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes; it will not be fully cooked. Drain the rice in a fine-holed colander or large fine-mesh sieve, shaking to remove excess water. Add the rice to the yogurt mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
  6. Add about 1½ cups rice mixture to the prepared pie plate, gently pressing it into an even layer over the bottom and about halfway up the sides. Stir the chicken mixture and the currants into the remaining rice mixture, then transfer to the pie plate and distribute in an even layer; do not compact the rice mixture. Drizzle the melted butter evenly over top. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour. Carefully remove the foil and continue to bake until the bottom is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  7. Run a silicone spatula around the edge to loosen the rice from the pie plate. Invert a serving platter over the pie plate. Holding the platter against the pie plate, carefully invert the two together. Carefully remove the pie plate. Sprinkle with parsley and pistachios.

Adapted from a recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

Based on a classic Mexican fish dish pescado en salsa poblano, or fish in poblano sauce, this recipe is a shrimp version. To make the creamy, vibrantly hued sauce that cloaks plump, gently cooked shrimp, poblano chilies, with their earthy flavor and moderate heat, are puréed with cilantro, alliums and Mexican crema, a rich cultured cream similar to, but milder than sour cream.

If crema isn’t available—and it wasn’t for us—sour cream works in its place. To make a more substantial meal, serve with warmed tortillas and rice and beans; over steamed rice; or as in our case, polenta cooked in shrimp stock.

Don’t be afraid to use the cilantro stems. Unlike parsley, cilantro has stems that are tender and will readily break down in the blender.

Shrimp in Poblano Chili and Cilantro Sauce

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 2 medium poblano chilies, stemmed, seeded and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced, plus more to serve
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 lbs. extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tTbsp. lime juice, plus lime wedges to serve
  • 3 cups lightly packed fresh cilantro, plus more to serve
  • 1/3 cup Mexican crema or sour cream


  1. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until barely smoking. Add the chilies and cook, stirring occasionally, until charred in spots, 2 to 4 minutes. Reduce to medium and add the garlic, onion, ¼ cup water and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; set aside.
  2. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a blender; reserve the skillet. To the blender, add the cilantro, crema and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Blend on high until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the puree into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring often, until opaque throughout, about 3 minutes.
  4. Off heat, taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with additional cilantro and sliced onion; serve with lime wedges.

Adapted from a recipe for Milk Street

Cherry Tomato and White Bean Salad

Have a potluck or picnic coming up? Then this simple salad is a perfect choice because it travels well and can be made ahead. It makes a bright, tangy companion to grilled meat or fish. Marinating the red onions and garlic in the vinaigrette for 15 minutes not only diffuses their flavor but also softens their bite.

The salad is also supremely versatile, and can be dressed up with any soft herb like basil, tarragon or mint, and chile, in almost any form. We doubled the recipe for a recent picnic and practically every morsel disappeared.

While we had never tried the SweetPops brand of grape tomatoes, they were so sweet and delicious. Make sure you use Parmesan shavings as opposed to grated parm.

Cherry Tomato and White Bean Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • ¾ cup very thinly sliced red onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
  • 1 ½ tsp. minced garlic (about 1 large clove)
  • 2 pints cherry/grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup shaved Parmesan (about 2 ounces)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir in the red onion and garlic and set the dressing aside to marinate for 15 to 30 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Place the tomatoes, white beans and parsley in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well, then gently fold in the Parmesan.
  3. Serve at room temperature using a slotted spoon.

Recipe by Lidey Heuck for NYTimes Cooking