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.
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
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.
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.
Add the ghee and heat over medium until it melts, 30 to 45 seconds. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Does a Mediterranean diet appeal to you? Then these two recipes might be worth a try. The first from Cook’s Country, Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon dish will grab your attention. Cooking the orzo pilaf-style gives it extra flavor and allows you to control the slightly creamy consistency.
To keep this meatless, use seafood/shellfish stock as opposed to chicken broth. Also, if the broth you use is on the bland side, use 4 cups of the stock and omit the water. If, like our homemade shellfish stock, it is intense, dilute it with two cups of water.
Adjust the amounts of olives and feta to suit your own preferences. One version of the recipe indicated only a half cup of Kalamatas and only 2 ounces of feta, while the list below indicates double of each.
Because we cooked our meal in a 10-inch-wide nonstick pan, the shrimp took an extra two minutes to become opaque. Keep that in mind if using less than a 12-inch skillet.
The second recipe, Baked Shrimp and Orzo with Feta and Tomatoes, is another Mediterranean-inspired shrimp dish similar to the Orzo with Shrimp, Feta and Lemon above, however this version gets started on the cooktop and then baked in the oven. It only calls for 1 pound of shrimp but we had 1 1⁄2 pounds and decided to use it all. The 12-inch skillet was brimming full. Our other change was incorporating homemade shellfish stock for the chicken broth.
To build in plenty of Mediterranean flavor, start by sautéing chopped onion and red bell pepper, to soften them before adding in minced garlic and oregano. To guarantee perfectly cooked shrimp and pasta, sauté the orzo in the aromatics to unlock its toasty notes. The crumbled saffron threads, though not traditional, introduce a sunny hue and warm, complex flavor.
Chicken (or shellfish) broth and the drained juice from a can of diced tomatoes are then stirred in; as the orzo cooks to al dente, its releases starch (similar to a risotto) creating a sauce with a subtly creamy texture. To prevent the shrimp from overcooking, stir them right into the orzo, along with the reserved tomatoes and frozen peas, and transfer the skillet to the oven to cook through gently. A sprinkling of feta before baking reinforces the dish’s Greek flavors and promises an appealing browned, cheesy crust.
Make sure that the orzo is al dente, or slightly firm to the bite; otherwise it may overcook in the oven. If using smaller or larger shrimp, the cooking times may vary accordingly. You can leave the shrimp tails on, if desired. The small amount of saffron makes a big difference to the flavor and look of the dish, so be sure to include it. You will need a 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet for this recipe.
1 lb. extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
2 cups (12 oz.) orzo
Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
3 cups chicken or shellfish broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
½ cup frozen peas
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
2 scallions, sliced thin
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Pat shrimp dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper; cover and refrigerate until needed.
Heat oil in 12-inch oven-safe nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in orzo and saffron and cook, stirring often, until orzo is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
Stir in broth and reserved tomato juice, bring to simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until orzo is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.
Stir in shrimp, tomatoes, and peas, then sprinkle feta evenly over top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until shrimp are cooked through and feta is lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Remove skillet from oven (skillet handle will be hot). Sprinkle scallions over top and serve with lemon wedges.
This recipe for sous vide pork loin roast with a garlic herb rub produces the juiciest, most flavorful pork roast you’ve ever had! Just 3-5 hours at 140 degrees F for a perfect medium roast.
FYI, if you purchase a roast bigger than 4 pounds, it is recommend you cut it in half to make it easier to work with. You can freeze the other half or vacuum seal them in different bags and cook them together.
As the water bath warms up, the pork loin gets prepped with the garlic rosemary paste and spread all over the meat. The roast is then placed in a vacuum-sealed bag and clipped to the side of the water bath container with the immersion blender.
This table below shows the time pretty much remains the same, but the temp needs to be regulated for your preferred end result. We like ours medium, so when it reached 140° out it came for the final searing treatment. Instead of trusting our not-so-popular broiler, we opted to accomplish the sear in a carbon-steel skillet, making sure to include browning the end caps. A pair of tongs comes in handy to hold the meat steady.
Preheat a water bath to your desired temp with an immersion circulator. 130F for medium rare, 140F for medium, 150F for medium-well, 160F for well done.
Prepare the rub by adding garlic cloves, rosemary, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to a food processor (or large mortar and pestle) to make a paste. If it needs to be thinned out a bit, add olive oil and continue to process.
Rub this mixture all over the pork loin roast.
Vacuum seal the pork loin roast, or use another air removal method if desired.
Add to water bath and cook for 3-5 hours.
When the roast is done, preheat a large cast-iron or carbon steel skillet. Remove the roast from the water bath and the bag, saving the liquid, and place roast in the skillet. Sear for several minutes on all sides, including the ends, until deeply golden brown.
In a bowl, whisk together the liquid from the bag, lemon juice, parsley, and flaked sea salt.
Slice the pork roast into thick slices and serve with sauce.
A glorious meat-free dish that contains four types of mushroom and two types of cheese which lend it the most satisfying, and savory intensity. They claim there’s a fair amount of heat in this Spicy Mushroom Lasagna, but we beg to differ, we could barely detect any heat. However, if you feel the need to tone it down a bit, reduce the amount of pepper and omit the chili altogether.
The mushrooms are the star here and their flavor truly shines. Those layers of flavor and umami build on each other with each delicious bite. Yes, quite a LOT of time and effort is necessary, as it is prep- and ingredient-intense, yet the result is well worth your effort. To get ahead, build the lasagna one day, chill, then bake the next.
One reviewer wrote “The umami factor here was really off the charts. To me it was one of those rare recipes in which all the ingredients sound good by themselves and smell wonderful when cooking, but when brought together, the finished product is head and shoulders above the individual parts.” We have to agree…
You will be dehydrating the fresh mushrooms and rehydrating the dried mushrooms, then mixing them altogether to obtain a very tasty, meaty consistency. While the original recipe called for only two plum tomatoes, we decided to double that and added in 4 large. Paired with a side salad and a glass of wine, it was the perfect Sunday evening meal.
1 oz. dried wild mushrooms or dried porcini mushrooms
2 dried red chili peppers roughly chopped (seeded if desired)
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. hot vegetable stock
For the filling
1 onion, peeled and quartered
5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and quartered
6 Tbsp. olive oil
4 medium plum tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. table salt
1 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper plus more as desired
3 1/3 cups water
9 Tbsp. heavy cream (just a touch more than 1/2 cup)
2/3 cup pecorino, finely grated
2/3 cup Parmesan, finely grated
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus 1 tsp.
12 oz. oven-ready dried lasagna sheets (about 14 sheets)
Roast the fresh mushrooms
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, working in 3 or 4 batches, add the button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms and pulse each batch until finely chopped (or finely chop everything by hand). Avoid filling the processor bowl more than halfway so that the mushrooms are finely chopped and not over processed.
In a large bowl, toss the chopped mushrooms with the oil and salt. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet.
Roast near the top of the oven, stirring 3 or so times throughout, until the mushrooms are golden brown and have reduced in volume significantly, 30 to 45 minutes. Let cool.
Decrease the oven temperature to 425°F.
Rehydrate the dried mushrooms
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine all the dried mushrooms, the chiles, and hot stock, and let soak for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid into another bowl, squeezing as much liquid from the mushrooms as possible to get just under 1 1/2 cups—if you have any less, top up with water.
Very roughly chop the rehydrated mushrooms (you want some chunks) and finely chop the chili peppers. Set the stock and mushrooms aside separately.
Make the filling
In the food processor, combine the onion, garlic, and carrot, and pulse until finely chopped or finely chop everything by hand.
In a large sauté pan or pot over medium-high heat, warm 4 tablespoons oil. Once hot, add the onion mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8 minutes.
In the food processor, pulse the tomatoes until finely chopped or finely chop by hand and then add them to the pan along with the tomato paste, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes.
Add the rehydrated mushrooms and chiles and the roasted mushrooms and cook for 9 minutes, stirring only once during the cooking. Resist the urge to stir more frequently; you want the mushrooms to be slightly crisp and browned on the bottom.
Stir in the water and reserved stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until you get the consistency of a ragù, about 25 minutes.
Stir in 7 tablespoons of the cream and simmer for 2 minutes more, then remove from the heat.
In a small bowl, combine both cheeses, the basil, and 1/2 cup parsley.
Spread 1/5 of the sauce in the bottom of a round 12-inch baking dish or a 9-by-13-inch rectangular dish, then top with 1/5 of the cheese mixture, followed by a layer of lasagna sheets, broken to fit where necessary. Repeat these layers 3 more times in that order. Finish with a final layer of sauce and cheese; that’s 5 layers of sauce, 5 layers of cheese, and 4 layers of pasta.
Drizzle with 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon olive oil, then cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil, increase the temperature to 450°F, and bake for 12 minutes more, rotating the dish halfway through.
Turn the oven to the broil setting and broil until the edges are brown and crisp, about 2 minutes.
Set aside to cool for 5 minutes or so, then drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon cream and 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon parsley and finish with a good grind of pepper. Serve immediately.
Intrigued with this odd combination found in a recent Fine Cooking Magazine, we were pleasantly surprised at the results. Despite two large jalapeños and some chili powder, it was only slightly spicy. Of course, if you did want to ramp up the heat, don’t discard the jalapeño seeds.
Our meatballs did stick to the foil, so we suggest using parchment or coating the baking sheet with an oil spray such as Pam. Also, to thicken the sauce, we added about 2/3 of the shredded Gouda to the cream cheese/milk mixture, then sprinkled the remainder on top.
If you have leftovers, top with some milk and/or olive oil to add moisture before popping in the microwave.
2 lbs. uncooked ground turkey breast or ground turkey
⅓ cup finely chopped onion
¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 14-16 oz. package dried multigrain, whole wheat or regular spaghetti
6 oz. packages cream cheese
2 cups milk
4 oz. Gouda cheese, shredded
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. In bowl stir together egg whites, oil, milk, chili powder, 1 tsp. black pepper, and 1/2 tsp. salt.
In large bowl combine turkey, onion, bread crumbs, jalapeños, and chopped cilantro. Fold egg white mixture into turkey mixture; mix well. Shape turkey mixture in 1-1/2-inch balls. Place on a foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake 20 minutes or until no longer pink (170 degrees F).
Meanwhile, cook spaghetti, with 1 tablespoon salt added to water, according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.
In same pan used for pasta melt cream cheese over low heat. Add milk. Cook, stirring, until bubbly. Return spaghetti to pan; toss to coat with cream cheese mixture.
Serve spaghetti with meatballs, cheese, and cilantro.
If you’re not familiar with Beef Braciole(I had never heard of it until I moved out East in my early twenties),it’s a classic Italian dish with many variations. It can be made with thin, individual slices of beef such as round or as one large roll using flank steak. It can also be made with pork and it always has a savory filling. But first, get the pronunciation right: [brah-chee-oh-ley, brah-choh-; Italian brah-chaw-le].
For this take on stuffed beef rolls, Cook’s Illustrated chose flank steak rather than top or bottom round because its loose grain makes it easier to pound thin and its higher fat content means that it emerges from the oven tender and moist. And that it did!
This filling is on the bold side, with the inclusion of umami-rich ingredients such as prosciutto; anchovies; and fontina, a good melter that also brings much-needed fat to the dish. In addition, a gremolata-inspired mix added to the filling provides a jolt of flavor and freshness. Right up our alley! Finally, beef broth is added to the tomato sauce to integrate the beef and the sauce into a unified whole.
This is not your quick weeknight meal. It takes the better part of 4 to 5 hours before you will be serving it on the dinner table, so plan accordingly.
And below is a bonus Roasted Broccoli Rabe recipe to accompany the main dish; this recipe hailing from Milk Street. It takes about 30 minutes max, so you can make it just as the braciole is getting done.
NOTES: Before you begin, cut sixteen 10-inch lengths of kitchen twine. You can substitute sharp provolone for the fontina, if desired. For the most tender braciole, be sure to roll the meat so that the grain runs parallel to the length of the roll. Serve the braciole and sauce together, with pasta or polenta, or separately, as a pasta course with the sauce followed by the meat.
⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus extra for serving
⅓ cup plain dried bread crumbs
3 oz. fontina cheese, shredded (3⁄4 cup)
1 (2- to 2½-pound) flank steak
8 thin slices prosciutto
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 large onion, chopped fine
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ cup tomato paste
¾ cup dry red wine
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
Your choice of pasta, optional
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
Stir 3 tablespoons oil, half of garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies together in medium bowl. Add ⅓ cup basil, parsley, Pecorino, and bread crumbs and stir to incorporate. Stir in fontina until evenly distributed and set aside filling.
Halve steak against grain to create 2 smaller steaks. Lay 1 steak on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge. Holding blade of chef’s knife parallel to counter, halve steak horizontally to create 2 thin pieces. Repeat with remaining steak.
Cover 1 piece with plastic wrap and, using meat pounder, flatten into rough rectangle measuring no more than ¼ inch thick. Repeat pounding with remaining 3 pieces. Cut each piece in half, with grain, to create total of 8 pieces.
Lay 4 pieces on cutting board with grain running parallel to counter edge (if 1 side is shorter than the other, place shorter side closer to you). Distribute half of filling evenly over pieces. Top filling on each piece with 1 slice of prosciutto, folding to fit, and press firmly. Keeping filling in place, roll each piece away from you to form tight log. Tie each roll with 2 pieces kitchen twine to secure. Repeat process with remaining steak pieces, filling, and prosciutto. Sprinkle rolls on both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown rolls on 2 sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer rolls to plate.
Add onion to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in pepper flakes and remaining garlic; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomato paste and cook until slightly darkened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Return rolls to pot; bring to simmer. Add parchment paper to cover the entire pot opening, then cover tightly and transfer to oven. Braise until meat is fork-tender, 2½ to 3 hours, using tongs to flip rolls halfway through braising.
Transfer braciole to serving dish and discard twine. If there is a lot of fat on the surface of the sauce, skim off as much as you can with a large spoon.
Meanwhile, if serving pasta, cook according to package directions.
TIP: If your sauce reduced too much (ours did), add up to a cup of the pasta water to thin it. Stir remaining 2 tablespoons basil into tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over braciole and serve, passing extra Pecorino separately.
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
The high heat renders the stems and florets tender while the leaves crisp around the edges, like kale chips with a spicy broccoli bite. Make sure not crowd the pan or everything will steam rather than roast. In the end, they may not look real pretty, but they are fantastic in the taste category!
If possible, use whole toasted fennel seed then grind it down yourself either with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. There was a sweet-and-sour mint dressing that was also part of this recipe, but we omitted it. And in a word, the rabe was “Delish!”
Roasted Broccoli Rabe with Fennel and Chili Flakes
Chiringuitos are humble seaside establishments that are to the Spanish coast what clam shacks are to New England; thus the name of this recipe. According to Anya von Bremzen’s cookbook “The New Spanish Table” there is usually a pretty terraza with a view of the sea and a menu that revolves around salt-baked fish, fried baby squid, clams, and invariably a simple mixed seafood paella like this Chiringuito Seafood Paella recipe.
Well, it was Christmas eve in our Bucks County home, so there was no terraza with a seaside view, let alone salt-baked fish or baby squid. But, The Mr. has made many a paella on both his outdoor paella grill and on the stovetop, which happened to be our only choice on that particular night. Yes, the Winter holidays have come and gone, but no need to wait for a major holiday to treat yourself with this elegant meal.
You know my mantra, use homemade stock if at all possible. If you can manage to make a stock from shrimp shells (save them in a plastic bag in the freezer when you peel shrimp), it is even better. But bottled clam juice diluted with some water, can work too.
The original recipe called for monkfish and baby squid, neither of which we included (I can’t stand squid). However, eight large sea scallops made the ingredients list, and I love them! The rest of the seafood consisted of shrimp, little neck clams (half of which did not open much to Russ’s chagrin), and a sprinkling of crabmeat leftover from our starter course of Crab Louie, recipe below.
TIP: If you’re making the recipe for a dinner party, you can prepare it up to the point just before you transfer the paella to the oven; just remove it from the heat and leave it on top of the stove up to a half hour, until you’re ready to proceed. That leaves you with 15 minutes baking time after you press the seafood into the rice and 10 minutes for it to rest.
5 cups homemade shellfish broth, OR make from diluting 3 1/2 cups bottled clam juice with 1 1/2 cups water
1/4 tsp. saffron
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
Sea or kosher salt
8 large dry-packed sea scallops
8 medium garlic cloves, crushed with a garlic press
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half and grated on the medium holes of a box grater, skins discarded
1 1/2 tsp. sweet (not smoked) paprika
1 3/4 cups short-grain rice such as Arborio or Bomba
1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
12-18 small clams, such as Manila or littlenecks, scrubbed
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
2 lemons, cut into wedges
Heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the shellfish broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Crumble the saffron between your fingers and drop it into the broth. Keep it at a slow simmer until you’re ready to use it.
Place 3 tablespoons of the oil in a 15- or 16-inch paella pan set over a burner and heat on medium heat until it starts to smoke. Add the scallops and cook until barely seared, 1 to 2 minutes, seasoning it lightly with salt. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a bowl and set aside. Add the shrimp to the pan, stirring, until just seared, about 2 minutes, seasoning it with salt. Transfer shrimp to the bowl with the scallops and cover with foil.
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the center of the pan. Add the crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, less than 15 seconds. Add the tomatoes to the center of the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring the tomatoes several times, until they are thickened and reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Season lightly again with salt. Add the paprika and stir for a few seconds.
Add the rice to the paella pan and stir it gently to coat with the pan mixture. Pour in 3 1/2 cups of the simmering stock (5 cups if using Bomba rice), keeping the remaining stock simmering in case it is needed later. Stir in the parsley and a sprinkling of salt, and shake the pan gently to distribute the rice evenly. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Periodically move and rotate the pan so that the liquid boils evenly.
Press the clams into the top of the rice and cook until the cooking liquid is almost level with the rice but the rice is still rather soupy, another 2 to 3 minutes, again moving and rotating the pan periodically to keep the liquid boiling evenly. If the liquid is absorbed too fast and the rice still seems too raw, sprinkle on some more stock. (NOTE: At this point you can turn off the heat and set it aside for up to half an hour, if you like.)
Transfer the paella pan to the oven and bake until the clams open and the rice is tender but still a little al dente, about 15 minutes. Check the paella a few times and sprinkle more stock over the rice if it seems too al dente. Remove the paella from the oven and discard any clams that have not opened. Distribute the shrimp and scallops over the paella, cover the pan with aluminum foil, and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and let stand for another 5 minutes (the rice gets better as it stands).
To serve, arrange the lemon wedges around the edge of the paella pan and decorate the top with the shrimp. Serve the paella straight from the pan, along with allioli if desired, for stirring into the rice.
Here’s a lighter version of Eggplant Involtini that focuses on the eggplant. Baking instead of frying allows you to skip the salting and draining step, since the eggplant’s excess moisture evaporates in the oven, and it means that the eggplant’s flavor and meaty texture are not obscured by oil and breading. This was sooo good, we can’t wait to make it again!
Swapping the usual ricotta-heavy filling for one that’s boosted with a generous dose of Pecorino Romano means we can use less filling without sacrificing flavor. Lastly, make a simple but complementary tomato sauce in a skillet, add the eggplant bundles to it, and finish it under the broiler, which decreases the number of dishes required—always a plus in our book!
Of course we put our own spin on the dish, first by utilizing the pieces of eggplant cut away before planking them. What a waste it would be to discard all of that—about 3 cups worth! So we cubed those leftover pieces into about a 3/8″ dice and sautéed them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil until softened before adding the tomatoes to the same skillet.
Now here comes the real twist. We added very thin slices of prosciutto on top of the eggplant slices before spooning on the cheese filling. Of course this step makes it no longer vegetarian, but that extra ingredient added even more depth of flavor. And we served ours with a side of gemelli pasta, which negates the low-carb factor, if you’re not concerned with that aspect.
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, hand crushed coarsely in their juices
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
8 oz. whole-milk ricotta cheese
1 ½ oz. grated Pecorino Romano cheese
¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 oz. very thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half crosswise (optional)
Slice each eggplant lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick planks (you should have 12-15 planks). Trim rounded surface from each end piece so it lies flat.
Cut up those leftover rounded pieces into a 3/8″ dice and sauté them in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil in your large skillet until softened, about 5 minutes.
Adjust 1 oven rack to lower-middle position and second rack 8 inches from broiler element. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and spray generously with vegetable oil spray. Arrange eggplant slices in single layer on prepared sheets. Brush 1 side of eggplant slices with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Flip eggplant slices and brush with 2 1/2 tablespoons oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Bake until tender and lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using thin spatula, flip each slice over. Heat broiler.
While eggplant planks cook, add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the diced eggplant in same broiler-safe skillet over medium-low heat until just shimmering. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in hand crushed tomatoes and their juice. Increase heat to high and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cover and set aside.
Pulse bread in food processor until finely ground, 10 to 15 pulses. Combine bread crumbs, ricotta, 1/2 cup Pecorino, 1/4 cup basil, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl.
With widest ends of eggplant slices facing you, place a half slice of prosciutto, if using, on the wide end of each plank. Next, evenly distribute ricotta mixture on bottom third of each slice. Gently roll up each eggplant slice and place seam side down in tomato sauce.
Bring sauce to simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven and broil until eggplant is well browned and cheese is heated through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Pecorino and let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil and serve.
Sweet-tart white balsamic vinegar and tangy Peppadew peppers bring flavor and color to this weeknight chicken dish found on Milk Street. White balsamic, which is not cooked and aged as long as regular balsamic vinegar, has a mellow acidity that complements the peppadews, a variety of small, sweet peppers from South Africa.
Peppadews add slight heat and additional sweetness, as well as a vivid splash of red. Find them (or not) jarred at most grocery stores, and sometimes loose at the olive bar. Unable to locate peppadews, we substituted cherry peppers. And for some odd reason, there were no plain pitted green olives (no open olive bar during COVID) and all the jarred versions were pimento stuffed. Frustrating yes, but in the end… FRIGGIIN’ delicious!!
Packed with Flavor
Don’t rush rendering the fat from the skin on the chicken thighs. The skin should be golden brown and feel crisp. When reducing the sauce before serving, add water if the liquid is less than 1 cup. It took us extra time to get the sauce reduced to one cup, more like 6 minutes,
The sauce was just bursting with flavor and the chicken retained crispy exteriors and juicy interiors. Some serving suggestions are with roasted sweet potatoes—our choice—boiled baby red potatoes or spinach pasta tossed with butter and poppy seeds.
3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 medium shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
¾ cup white balsamic vinegar
¾ cup low-sodium chicken broth
⅓ cup pitted green olives, chopped
4 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon, divided
⅓ drained peppadew peppers, chopped
Heat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the middle position. Season the chicken on all sides with salt and pepper.
In a 12-inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high, heat the oil until smoking. Add the chicken, skin down, and cook until fat is rendered and the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. (You will probably have to do this in two stages as you don’t want to crowd the pan and steam instead of crisp the skin.)
Transfer the chicken skin up to a plate. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet. Stir in the garlic and shallot and cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 1 minute.
Add the vinegar and broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chicken to the skillet, skin up. Transfer to the oven and bake until the chicken reaches 175°F at the thickest part, or a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken, skin up, to a deep platter and return the skillet to the stovetop (handle will be hot) over medium-high. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook until reduced to about 1 cup, 2 to 3 minutes (or longer if necessary).
Stir in the olives, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Off heat, stir in half the tarragon, then spoon the sauce around the chicken.
Although summer produce season was nearing its end, we easily scored some fresh corn and zucchini to make this flavorful Spiced Chicken with Corn, Mushrooms and Zucchini. It’s a one pan meal that’s ready in a total of 45 minutes. Cooked in a skillet, the spiced chicken takes on a brick-red hue with a moderately spicy kick. (You can adjust the amount of heat by adding or eliminating the amount of cayenne.)
Here gochugaru—Korean red chile flakes—imbues this one-skillet chicken and vegetable supper with its deep, savory flavor, gentle heat and a hint of smokiness. But don’t fret if you can’t find gochugaru, just substitute ancho chile powder, regular chili powder or chipotle chile powder (or choice) for a delicious but different taste profile. Add more cayenne or eliminate it to adjust the level of heat, which is moderate as written. (Gochugaru can be found at Asian markets, well stocked supermarkets or online.)
I got carried away and pounded the chicken breasts down to a 1/4″ instead of the indicated 1/2″. Not a problem as long as the meat is not overcooked and dried out. Adjust the cooking time so that the poultry registers 160°, then move to a plate and cover with foil.
The amount of chicken we made was over 1 1/2 pounds, which when hammered down made 4 large cutlets, and therefore had to be cooked in 2 batches. Once the veggies are done, pour the accumulated chicken juices into the pan and stir to distribute.
Yes, you can make this meal with frozen corn, but you will suffer from a loss of flavor. This summer was THE BEST corn season we’ve experienced in a long time. And this last batch in particular was astoundingly sweet and juicy!
2 Tbsp. canola oil or another neutral oil, divided
8 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms or a mix of mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster and/or cremini, sliced
2 to 3 Tbsp. water, plus more as needed
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and light green parts, plus dark greens for garnish
1 Tbsp. minced or finely grated fresh ginger
1 medium zucchini (8 ounces), trimmed, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/2-inch thick
3-4 ears of corn, kernels sliced from cob
In a small bowl, combine the gochugaru, 1/4 teaspoon salt, the granulated garlic and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture onto both sides of the chicken, rubbing it in a little with your fingers.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. Add the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan, followed by the mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the water if the pan seems dry, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and begin to brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the scallions and ginger and cook until they soften, about 1 minute.
Add the zucchini, corn and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the vegetables are tender, 3 to 5 minutes. If the pan seems dry, add more water as needed, a couple of tablespoons at a time.
Pour any accumulated juices from the chicken into the pan with the vegetables, and then slice the chicken into strips.
Serve the vegetables with the sliced chicken on top or on the side.
Stir-frying is the name of the game when you want something quick and healthy. And making it yourself ensures you know exactly what’s in it, as compared to many Asian take-out places loaded with unwanted fat and calories. Cook’s Illustrated found that marinating pork tenderloin in a simple soy-sherry mixture and cooking it quickly (about two minutes) in batches over high heat kept the meat tender and beautifully seasoned. In place of the sherry, we substituted Shaoxing wine which is fermented from rice.
Because different vegetables cook at different rates, batch-cook the vegetables and add aromatics (like ginger and garlic) at the end so they are cooked long enough to develop their flavors but not long enough to burn. Chicken broth gives the sauce some backbone, and cornstarch slightly thickens it so that it lightly cloaks the meat and veggies.
We increased the amount of pork tenderloin from the original 12 ounces to one pound. And because of that, we doubled the soy sauce and sherry that gets mixed with the pork strips (which is all noted below). Keep in mind that pork tenderloin is easier to slice if it is partially frozen. *Freeze the tenderloin until firm but not frozen solid, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Then cut the tenderloin crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the slices into 1/4-inch strips.
Stir-frying isn’t rocket science, and that’s what’s so great about it. It doesn’t require lots of fancy equipment. Instructions indicate to cook in a skillet, however we feel most stir-fries benefit from being cooked in a flat-bottomed wok. It helps to have a stir-fry spatula which fits the contour of the wok and has a long handle (to keep distance from the intense heat).
Stir frying is advantageous over other methods of cooking as it requires very little oil, which is healthier than deep frying or pan frying, and it also retains the nutrients present in the food being stir fried. As the name indicates, the food is constantly stirred while you cook it. Make sure to use an oil with a high smoke point such as peanut, canola, safflower, soybean, etc.
Stir-Fried Pork, Green Beans and Red Bell Pepper with Gingery Oyster Sauce
2 inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 2 tablespoons)
3 Tbsp. peanut oil or vegetable oil
12 oz. green beans, cut on bias into 2-inch lengths
1 large red bell pepper (about 8 ounces), cut into 3/4-inch squares
3 medium scallions, sliced thin on bias
Jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions (or brown rice if you prefer)
Combine pork, soy sauce, and 1 Tbsp. + 1 teaspoon sherry in small bowl. Whisk remaining 1 tablespoon sherry, chicken broth, oyster sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, white pepper, and cornstarch in measuring cup.
Combine garlic, ginger and 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in small bowl.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until smoking; add half of pork to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up clumps, until well-browned, about 2 minutes.
Transfer pork to medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 1/2 teaspoons peanut oil and remaining pork.
Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to now-empty skillet; add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes; transfer to bowl with pork.
Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to skillet; add bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until spotty brown, about 2 minutes.
Clear center of skillet, then add garlic/ginger mixture to clearing; cook, mashing mixture with spoon, until fragrant, about 45 seconds, then stir mixture into peppers.
Add pork and green beans; toss to combine. Whisk sauce to recombine, then add to skillet; cook, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and evenly distributed, about 30 seconds.
Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with scallions and serve over hot jasmine rice.
Spicy Grilled Pork with Fennel, Cumin and Red Onion, just the name gets my juices flowing. Imbued with spices that char at high heat, this aromatic pork recipe is a snap to throw together — exactly what you want for a night of summer grilling.
If using wooden skewers, don’t forget to soak them in water for an hour before grilling, so they don’t flare up. And, NYTimes where we got the recipe, suggested if you’re broiling and you don’t want to bother with skewers at all, just spread the pork cubes out on a rimmed sheet pan, turning them halfway through cooking with tongs or a spatula. Always good to have a Plan B for inclement weather.
Our side dish of Smashed Cucumber Salad with Peanuts, Scallions and Cilantro was just the ticket to compliment the pork and make for a low-carb dinner. The lime and heat in both recipes ensured a unity of tastes. I see making this by itself as a lunch, and would be great to bring to a picnic, potluck or dinner invitation.
While I basically stuck to the pork kebab recipe, I made a few changes in how I handled the cuke salad from Milk Street. Besides cutting the recipe in half, I left the salted cucumber slices in the colander for an hour as opposed to 15 minutes to make sure most of the moisture would be removed. And instead of several cans on the inside plate while draining the slices, I added weight by filling a smaller heavy bowl with water.
A meat mallet came in handy for both smashing the cucumbers and the roasted peanuts, but you may have another preference.
Spicy Grilled Pork with Fennel, Cumin and Red Onion
¼ cup cilantro or basil, leaves and tender stems, plus more for serving
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
1 jalapeño or other green chile, seeded if desired
1 tsp. honey
1 ½ tablespoons fennel seeds
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
1 small red onion, sliced, for serving
Season pork lightly with kosher salt and put it in a bowl or resealable bag.
Juice the lime into a blender or food processor and add cilantro, fish sauce, garlic, jalapeño and honey. Blend until the jalapeño and garlic are puréed, then add fennel, cumin, coriander seeds and pulse four or five times to bruise the spices and mix them in.
Pour mixture over the pork, tossing to coat the pieces. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes while you heat the grill, or up to 24 hours. (We marinated for 24 hours to make sure all of that great flavor permeated the pork.)
When ready to cook, heat the grill or broiler with a rack positioned 4 inches from the heat source.
Thread the pork onto skewers, leaving a little space between cubes. Grill over the highest heat possible, or broil on high, for 2 to 5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned all over and charred in spots. It should be just cooked through: A little pink is OK, but there shouldn’t be any red spots.
Serve the pork with cilantro sprigs and onion slices on top, and lime wedges on the side for squeezing.
Don’t use regular cucumbers; they contain a large amount of seeds that will quickly water down the salad, even if first salted to remove excess moisture. And don’t forget to peel the cucumbers. The skins will block the salt from drawing out the maximum amount liquid of from the watery flesh.
2 Medium garlic cloves, finely grated
2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger
4 Tbsp. lime juice
1½ tsp. sriracha
½ tsp. white sugar
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 English cucumbers, trimmed and peeled
½ Cup roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped
4 Scallions, thinly sliced
1 Serrano chili, stemmed, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
½ Cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped
In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, ginger, lime juice, Sriracha, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt. Set aside. Place the cucumbers on a cutting board. With the flat side of a chef’s knife or a rolling pin, hit the cucumbers until they split and crack. I used a meat mallet which worked great!
Slice the cucumbers ½-inch thick on the diagonal and transfer to a large colander set over a large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons salt and toss. Top with a plate smaller than the diameter of the colander; weigh down the plate with 2 or 3 cans. Let stand until liquid has pooled in the bowl, about 15 minutes. Discard the liquid, then rinse and dry the bowl.
In the same large bowl, combine the cucumbers, peanuts, scallions, chili and cilantro. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
I first posted a blog on this Grilled Veal Rib Chops with Mediterranean Herb Paste recipe 5 years ago. Back then, we only had veal loin chops, but now we got to revisit with actual rib chops. We loved it the first time, and cemented the love affair with this reiteration.
All of the herbs were just picked from our organic, raised-bed garden giving us the freshest taste possible. In fact, since the past winter was mild, most of our herbs returned, and with aplomb. Just look at those stunning sage leaves. Now that’s a WOW factor—we hated to chop them!
And how about a side of grilled tomato skewers? Pretty darn simple and a wonderful pairing with the chops. Remove the top core, slice them in half lengthwise, and thread them onto metal skewers alternating with a fresh bay leaf* on the cut side. Brush with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
When you move the veal chops over to the cool side of the grill for 10 minutes, place the tomato skewers on the hot side, turning once half way through. They’ll take about 8-10 minutes total to get a nice char. Carefully remove them from the hot metal into a bowl and drizzle on a bit more EVOO. Six roma tomatoes (and 12 bay leaves) makes enough for 3-4 servings.
*Speaking of those bay leaves, it’s best to get fresh ones. If all you can get your hands on are dried, soak them in water for about 10-15 minutes so that they become pliable and won’t crack as you thread them on the skewers.
Grilled Tomato Skewers
As I mentioned, we were in Heaven over this meal! And the bonus was getting to gnaw the bone 😉
Grilled Veal Rib Chops with Mediterranean Herb Paste
3 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (1 tablespoon)
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp. minced fresh sage leaves
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
2 tsp. minced fresh oregano leaves
1 lemon, cut into wedges, for serving
If you don’t have all the herbs, feel free to add additional amounts of what you do have to compensate.
Preheat grill with all burners turned to high and lid down until very hot, about 15 minutes. Use grill brush to scrape cooking grate clean. Leave one burner on high and turn other burner(s) down to medium.
Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper to taste.
Mix oil, garlic, and herbs together in small bowl; rub herb paste over chops.
Grill chops, covered, over hotter part of grill until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. (If chops start to flame, slide them to cooler part of grill for moment and/or extinguish flames with squirt bottle.) Move chops to cooler part of grill. Continue grilling, turning once, until meat is still rosy pink at center and instant-read thermometer inserted through side of chop and away from bone registers 130 degrees, 10 to 11 minutes.
Remove chops from grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with lemon wedges.