Tag Archives: side dish

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

Looking for a swoon-worthy side dish? Crispy on the outside and soft in the center, these tubers are buttery, cheesy, herby and completely addictive. They also require only one pan, less than 10 ingredients, and just about an hour to make. You had me at potato…

According to the chef Robin Miller, Italian seasoning is a good medley of oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary. Add these herbs individually (about 1 teaspoon each) or substitute your favorites from the spice rack. Other options include adding garlic powder, or onion powder instead. Paprika would be a nice addition for folks who put paprika on everything. For a spicy version, add cayenne pepper or your favorite fiery spice blend.

Once your potatoes are halved, use a small, sharp knife to “score” the flesh, which just means to slice vertically and then horizontally, about ⅛-inch into the flesh, making a crosshatch pattern. This simple yet crucial step allows the butter, cheese and herbs to seep into the nooks and crannies, ensuring maximum flavor all the way to the center of the spud.

Since the main flavor of these crispy potatoes is Parmesan, choose a good-quality cheese. That doesn’t mean you need Italian cheese with a pricy label, any grated cheese made with real Parmesan will suffice.

Our only issue had to do with the amount of potatoes. The recipe called for 2 pounds, which would have been way too much for the pan. We found that 1 pound was the perfect quantity to fit our enameled cast iron pan (although we did not cut back on the remaining ingredients). We believe if you use a half-sized rimmed baking sheet, you should fit most of the halved two pound spuds and the other ingredients.

Crispy Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, unsalted
  • 1 ½ to 2 lbs. of small red and/or gold potatoes, washed and patted dry, scored
  • ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. of grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil, for brushing the potatoes
  • Chopped fresh parsley or chives, optional for serving

Directions

  1. Place butter in a 13×9-inch baking pan. Place the pan in the oven and turn the oven on to 400 F to preheat. When the butter is bubbly, remove the pan and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, halve each potato and score the flesh by making a crosshatch pattern about ⅛-inch deep.
  3. In a small bowl, combine ½ cup Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix well and to the pan. Mix with melted butter to form a paste and spread in an even layer on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Nestle the potatoes cut side down into the cheese and butter mixture. Brush the skins of the potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Place the pan in the oven to bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender with a crispy crust.
  6. Remove potatoes from the pan and allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the cheese to set. Top with parsley or chives, if you like, and serve.

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Parsnip Purée

Sometimes we desire something a bit more upscale than plain mashed potatoes (which I dearly love). So when I ran across this Parsnip Purée recipe from Ina Garten, I knew instantly that we had to make this side dish. And it is about as easy as a side dish gets, seriously (just take a look at the abbreviated ingredients list).

Parsnips are really delicious and so under-appreciated. The versatile veggie is the essence of parsnip-ness with just a little butter that generates that sigh of pure satisfaction. A sensational, silky-smooth, slightly assertive side that you’ll be pairing with any number of main dishes. The first time out of the gate, it accompanied a seared sirloin steak, but we are imaging all of the other possibilities such as roast chicken, pork loin, salmon, leg of lamb…

Make sure to put it on your short list!

Parsnip Purée

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1½ lbs. parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, diced
  • Chopped fresh chives for garnish, optional

Directions

  1. Place 1½ pounds parsnips, scrubbed, sliced ¾” thick, in a medium pot, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and add enough water to cover the parsnips. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, then uncover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the parsnips are very soft when tested with a small knife. Don’t drain the pot!
  2. With a slotted spoon or small strainer, transfer the parsnips to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse to chop the parsnips. Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup and pour ½ cup down the feed tube. Purée the parsnips, adding more cooking liquid (about 1 cup total) through the feed tube until the parsnips are creamy and almost smooth but still have some texture.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced, and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and purée until combined. Taste for seasonings, sprinkle with fresh chives and serve hot.

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Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten

Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro

This time of year, squashes have their moment(s) in the sun. Here, the roasted squash shines when using spicy, tangy ingredients to banish one-note flavors. Lime, garlic and chilies add kick; while brown sugar creates a glaze-like coating with molasses notes that enhance the earthy-sweet squash.

Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin with mottled green edible skin and dense, slightly starchy orange flesh. Acorn squash, with thin skin that doesn’t require peeling, also is a terrific option. With no kabocha to choose from, we opted for the acorn squash.

This recipe would make for a nice side dish on your Thanksgiving table. Just sayin’… OR, pair it with Pan-Seared Bone-in Pork Chops, a fabulous cool weather meal.

Roasted Winter Squash with Lime, Chili and Cilantro

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lime zest, plus ¼ cup lime juice, plus lime wedges, to serve
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 lb. kabocha squash OR two 1¼-lb. acorn squashes, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 or 2 serrano OR Fresno chilies, stemmed and sliced into thin rings
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed fresh cilantro

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the upper-middle position. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lime juice and sugar until the sugar dissolves.
  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the squash with half of this mixture, 2 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Arrange the pieces cut side down and roast until browned on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Using a wide metal spatula, flip each piece, drizzle with the remaining oil mixture and sprinkle with the garlic and chili(es). Roast until the squash is deeply caramelized and a skewer inserted into the largest piece meets no resistance, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a platter, pouring over any juices. Top with the lime zest and cilantro and serve with lime wedges.

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Recipe by Courtney Hill for Milk Street

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Butter Sauce

Tangy orange-butter sauce gives Brussels sprouts a wake-up call in this recipe and paired well with our Citrus Rosemary Chicken entrée. The key is using real maple syrup and a good quality balsamic vinegar for the best flavor.

It is easily cut in half if serving 4 or less people. Truly yummy! In fact, all of our guests claimed they were the best Brussels sprouts they have ever eaten!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange-Butter Sauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. small Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, toss Brussels sprouts with olive oil and salt; arrange in an even layer on prepared baking sheet, cut side down.
  3. Transfer to oven and roast until brown and tender, 15 to 18 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking; transfer to a large bowl.
  4. In a small saucepan, mix together vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest; heat over medium heat until heated through but not simmering. Remove from heat and whisk in cold butter, a few pieces at a time, until smooth and creamy.
  5. Pour vinegar mixture over Brussels sprouts and gently stir until liquid is absorbed and mixture is well combined; serve immediately.

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Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato

Prepared Mediterranean-style, this nutty Toasted Orzo Pasta Recipe with Garlic, Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomatoes will steal the show next to your favorite protein. You can even serve it as a quick and easy vegetarian meal on its own; it will feed 4 people as a vegetarian main and about 6 or so as a side dish. 

It was a superb complement to our top sirloin and veggie kebabs. In fact, this orzo recipe jumped to the top of the list and one we’ll make time and again!

Leftovers? Lucky you. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days in a tightly closed container. Warm over medium heat.

Toasted Orzo with Parmesan and Sun-dried Tomato

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup oregano, chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan, or more to your liking

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil over medium-high. Add the orzo and cook, tossing around, until toasted to a beautiful golden brown.
  2. Add at least 7 cups of boiling water to the saucepan and season well with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Cook the pasta in boiling water to al dente according to the package instructions (about 7 to 8 minutes).
  3. Just before the pasta is fully cooked (after about 5 minutes), remove 1 cup of the starchy pasta water and set it aside.
  4. In a large pan, warm 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and season with a pinch of kosher salt and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook, tossing regularly, until just fragrant. Add the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Raise the heat if needed to bring to a boil. Add the parsley and oregano.
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and add it to the pan and toss to combine. Season with kosher salt and black pepper. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and a 1/4 cup of the grated parmesan. Toss to combine. If needed, add a little more of the pasta cooking water.
  6. Finish with more Parmesan and red pepper flakes, if you like.

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Adapted from a recipe for MediterraneanDish.com

Spice-Crusted Oven-Roasted Potatoes

I’m a huge fan of potatoes no matter how they are made, be it mashed, smashed, roasted, french fried, twice-baked, scalloped, or au gratin. This Spice-Crusted Oven-Roasted Potatoes recipe elevates spuds to a new dimension and earns top honors in my plethora of potato recipes.

The mix, known as “suya” in Nigeria has a kick to it, but it’s also got an earthy and nutty taste to it as well, making it a favorite side dish for many entrées. A food processor makes the assembly of the mixture a breeze. Though suya is typically a powder when used on meats, adding a bit of oil produces a paste that adheres better to skin-on potatoes.

It is paired with a refreshing tomato-shallot recipe to spoon over the top, or even used for dipping. While it is not necessary, it adds a bright note to the side dish and complimented our grilled lamb loin chops.

Making them is a bit messy when you try to adhere the spice rub to the potato halves. Some of the mixture on the baking sheet will likely occur and char, but don’t worry because the cooking spray prevents it from sticking to the sheet.

Spice-Crusted Oven-Roasted Potatoes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
  • 2 tsp. hot or sweet paprika
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp. packed light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 2 lbs. small Yukon Gold or red baby potatoes
  • 3 plum tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 serrano chili, stemmed. seeded and finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. lime juice

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position.
  2. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  3. In a food processor, combine peanuts, paprika, ginger, garlic, sugar, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Process until finely ground.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and pulse until evenly combined, scraping the bowl as needed.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the remaining oil and 1⁄4 teaspoon salt. Add the nut-spice mixture and use your hands to toss and press the seasoning onto the potatoes so it sticks.
  6. Scrape the potatoes and any residual seasoning onto the prepared baking sheet, then distribute in an even layer.
  7. Roast until well-browned all around and a skewer inserted in the potatoes meets no resistance, 20 to 25 minutes, turning the potatoes about halfway through.
  8. OPTIONAL: While the potatoes roast, in a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes, shallot, chili, parsley, lime juice and a 1⁄2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  9. When the potatoes are done, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with salt. Serve with the tomato relish on the side, if using.

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Adapted from a recipe found in Milk Street Magazine

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing

With the last gasps of the unofficial summer calendar closing in on us, let the season’s bounty shine on the plate. And to that end, this lively salad of corn, scallions, jalapeño and avocado tossed with a tangy buttermilk-feta dressing is like summer on a plate. The sweetness of peak-summer corn and the richness of creamy avocado balance out the tartness of the dressing.

While this recipe from NYTimes Cooking could be a side dish or a vegetarian main, we opted to add a protein to give it more heft as an entrée. In that vein, we grilled some chicken breasts with a Japanese 7-spice rub, but grilled shrimp or salmon would work wonderfully also. And to save time on dinner day, we grilled the chicken the day before while barbecuing other items.

The directions below are for the full recipe which allows for 4 to 6 portions. But with just the two of us, we cut most of the recipe in half, while altering quantities of other ingredients as we saw fit. After eating two healthy servings, we still had some leftover for lunch the following day.

Grilled Corn, Avocado and Chicken Salad With Feta Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, rubbed with spices of your choice (optional)
  • 6 ears corn (about 3 lbs.), shucked and silk removed
  • 1 bunch scallions, trimmed
  • 1 jalapeño, stemmed and halved lengthwise
  • 3 Tbsp.olive oil
  •  Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest plus 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • ¼ cup sliced fresh chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
  • 2 avocados, sliced

Directions

  1. If a protein is desired, grill chicken (or shrimp, salmon) until done. This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high. Brush corn, scallions and jalapeño with the oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Arrange on the grill and cook, turning occasionally, until corn kernels are browned in spots, 6 to 8 minutes, and the scallions and jalapeño are charred all over and tender, 9 to 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer vegetables to a cutting board and let cool slightly.
  5. In a medium bowl, using a whisk (I used a pestle), mash the feta into a coarse paste. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest and juice and garlic, then stir in chives and parsley.
  6. Finely chop the charred jalapeño and stir it into the feta dressing; season with salt and pepper.
  7. In a large bowl, toss lettuce with half the feta dressing and arrange on a platter. Cut corn kernels off the cob and slice scallions into bite-size pieces. Arrange avocado slices, corn and scallions on top of the lettuce.
  8. Serve with remaining dressing.

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Adapted from a recipe by Sue Li for NYTimes Cooking

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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Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  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.

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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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Ingredients

  • 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.

Directions

  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.

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Recipe from Americas Test Kitchen

Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus and Mustard

An interesting twist that elevates humble cabbage into something special. Softened butter is rubbed on edges of a cut head and then sprinkled with a fragrant combination of citrus zest, garlic and coriander. As the wedges roast, the exterior leaves become deeply browned and crispy, while the interior remains silky, sweet and tender. A bright, citrusy dressing completes the dish.

This side dish was born out of necessity. We were a few short days away from leaving for vacation, thus trying to use up any food that might spoil before we got back home. In our auxiliary refrigerator was a half-head of savoy cabbage which prompted us to look in our copy of Milk Street’s Vegetables cookbook for an appropriate recipe.

We had every ingredient on hand except for the hazelnuts (which is omitted in the list below) and decided to make it anyway, forgoing any nuts altogether. Since the half-head was just shy of 2 pounds, we kept all of the other staples at full value. As far as the herbs, we used a combination of chives and tarragon freshly picked from the garden.

NOTES: Don’t forget to allow the butter to soften. Make sure to line the baking sheet with foil (which I forgot to do).

Butter-Roasted Cabbage with Citrus and Mustard

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp. coriander seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. grated grapefruit OR lemon zest, plus a 1/2 cup of its juice
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and softened
  • 2-lb. head of savoy OR napa cabbage, tough outer leaves removes, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp. whole grain mustard OR Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon OR fresh chives OR fresh flat-leaf parsley OR a combination

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the coriander, garlic, zest and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  3. Using your hands and 1 tablespoon of butter per cabbage wedge, rub the butter on all sides and into the layers. Sprinkle the wedges evenly with the spice mixture, rubbing it in to adhere, reserve the bowl.
  4. Place cabbage wedges cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and roast until a skewer inserted into the thickest part meets little resistance, 20 to 30 minutes.
  5. Uncover the baking sheet and roast until the cabbage is deeply browned on all sides, about 15 minutes more, flipping halfway through.
  6. Meanwhile in the reserved bowl, whisk together the citrus juice, mustard, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.
  7. Place wedges on a platter and drizzle each with 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and serve with any remaining sauce on the side.

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Adapted from a recipe in Milk Street’s “Vegetables” cookbook.

Corn Sauté with Miso and Scallions

To create this corn side dish with rich, toasted flavor, strip the corn from the cobs when they are raw and then cook the kernels in a nearly smoking skillet. It is important not to stir the corn for a few minutes to give it a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, mix in plenty of salty, savory ingredients to balance the sweetness. Finally, an acidic component rounds out the dish.

Because fresh corn can vary in sweetness, the recipe calls for seasoning with a range of rice vinegar. We made it twice so far, and prefer the version with just 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar. When browning the corn kernels in a nonstick skillet, we found it took longer to get that caramelization, nearly three times longer! But so worth it because it was delicious and paired well with our grilled baby back ribs.

Corn Sauté with Miso and Scallions

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 scallions, white parts minced, green parts sliced thin on bias
  • 1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp. white miso
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 ears corn, kernels cut from cobs (4 cups)
  • Salt
  • 1 Tbsp. mirin
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

Directions

  1. Melt butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add scallion whites and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until scallions are softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer scallion mixture to large bowl and whisk in miso and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Wipe out skillet.
  2. Heat oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add corn and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, without stirring, until corn is browned on bottom and beginning to pop, about 3-5 minutes. Stir and continue to cook, stirring once or twice, until corn is spotty brown all over, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  3. Add mirin and cook until evaporated, about 1 minute. Transfer corn to bowl with scallion mixture.
  4. Stir in scallion greens. Season with salt and remaining vinegar to taste. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

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Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated

Frijoles Charros (Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles)

Quite possibly the best baked beans we’ve ever eaten! Invited to a Cinco de Mayo party, we were assigned a couple of side dishes to make, one of them being “Cowboy Beans”. The Hubs found this Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles by J. Kenji Lopez-Alts for Serious Eats and knew these were the ticket.

The ideal potluck or cookout dish is one that is easy to make in bulk, inexpensive, and doesn’t degrade with extended heating or reheating. We found the frijoles charros—Mexican cowboy beans cooked with onions, garlic, tomatoes, salted pork, and chiles—as the superb potluck dish. It meets the criteria and they’re extremely delicious. Dried beans are lightweight; while onions, garlic, chiles, and fresh or tinned tomatoes last a long time at room temperature.

We made two exceptions to the ingredients. The first was substituting cranberry beans in place of the pinto beans, which we think have more flavor. Secondly, the jalapeños were sautéed and kept as a garnish because we knew one guest was allergic to any type of chile. WOW, the beans got rave reviews!

*Epazote is a Mexican herb that can be found in Mexican specialty shops. If fresh epazote is unavailable, use a large pinch of dried in its place, or omit.

Mexican Pinto Beans With Bacon and Chiles

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. dried pinto beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs epazote, optional*
  • 12 oz. diced bacon
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (about 8 oz.)
  • 2 serrano chiles or 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs if you prefer less heat)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 14-oz. cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Large handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems

Directions

  1. Place beans in a large bowl and fill with enough cold water to cover by at least four inches. Add 2 tablespoons (18g) kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, add beans, stock, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, heat bacon in a 12-inch stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until fat is rendered and bacon is just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chiles and cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and the mixture begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes.
  4. Remove lid from Dutch oven, add bacon-tomato mixture, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beans are completely creamy and liquid has thickened into a rich, creamy broth, about 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Discard bay leaves, stir in cilantro, and serve. Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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Recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alts for Serious Eats

Braised Asparagus with Lemon and Chives

Here, braising coaxes asparagus’s gentler side into the spotlight. It’s not the typical crisp-tender, not browned, nor vibrant green—but it may end up being one of your favorite ways to cook the spears. The vegetable is vigorously simmered in a copious amount of liquid, allowing the braising liquid to evaporate, leaving behind a light glaze that coats the asparagus.

As Cook’s Illustrated mentions, the crisp bite gives way to silkiness; the fresh vegetal flavor evolves into more-complex sweet nuttiness, and the braising liquid can travel into the spears, seasoning them inside and out.

The dish is finished with a less-is-more approach adding just a splash of acidity and a handsome sprinkle of fresh herbs to accentuate the vegetable’s sweet flavor.

FYI, this recipe is best with asparagus spears that are at least ¾ inch thick. We bought ours picked fresh at a local farm market. The benefit of thicker spears is you can peel off their firm, waxy skin without whittling them down to toothpicks.

Braised Asparagus with Lemon and Chives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. thick asparagus
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp. table salt
  • ¼ tsp. grated lemon zest plus 1 tsp. juice
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh chives, divided

Directions

  1.  Trim bottom inch of asparagus spears; discard trimmings. Peel bottom two-thirds of spears until white flesh is exposed.
  2. Bring water, broth, oil, and salt to simmer in 12-inch skillet over high heat. Add asparagus in even layer. Reduce heat to maintain vigorous simmer and cover. Cook, gently shaking skillet occasionally, until asparagus is tender and can be easily pierced with tip of paring knife, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Remove lid and continue to cook, shaking and swirling skillet, until skillet is almost dry and asparagus is glazed, 1 to 3 minutes longer.
  4. Off heat, add lemon zest and juice and half of chives and toss to coat.
  5. Transfer asparagus to platter, sprinkle with remaining chives, season with salt to taste, and serve.

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Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Aioli: the ultimate roasted potato side dish. Incredibly crispy, superbly spiced, and served with a downright addictive dipping sauce; although we opted to forego the aioli this time around.

The combination of bold spices and a garlicky dipping sauce really brings the humble potato to life. While this method involves boiling, smashing, and then roasting, you won’t believe how crispy the potatoes get for being roasted rather than deep-fried. Smashed potatoes are the perfect alternative when you’re craving crispy potatoes, but want something a bit more wholesome than French fries.

They paired beautifully with our Crispy Chicken Under a Brick, and a side of silky Braised Asparagus.

Paprika-Parmesan Smashed Potatoes

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1.5 lbs baby yellow potatoes
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil (sub avocado oil)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (or avocado oil mayo)
  • 2 Tbsp. plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF. Place garlic cloves in a piece of a foil and drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap the garlic in foil and place in the oven while it preheats. Continue roasting garlic while you boil the potatoes.
  2. Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with one inch of cold water. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, set the timer for 15 minutes. At this point, the potatoes should be just past fork-tender. Drain potatoes in a colander and let sit for 5 minutes to allow water to completely drain off. Remove garlic from the oven and set aside. (Keep oven temperature at 450ºF)
  3. In a small bowl, combine smoked paprika, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix well. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil on your largest baking sheet, making sure to coat all corners. Arrange potatoes on baking sheet, making sure to leave about 2 inches of space in between each one.
  4. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or a potato masher to gently “smash” each potato down until it is around 1/2-inch thick. Brush remaining 2 tablespoons oil over tops of potatoes and sprinkle with spice mixture. Roast potatoes for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove garlic from foil and roughly chop. Use the flat side of your knife blade (preferably a chef’s knife) to mash the garlic until it forms a paste. Add garlic to a bowl, along with mayonnaise, yogurt, 1 tablespoon. chopped chives, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  6. Remove potatoes from the oven and sprinkle each one evenly with Parmesan. Place back in the oven for 5 more minutes.Transfer potatoes to a platter and garnish with extra chopped chives. Serve with garlic aioli.

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Adapted from a recipe found on dishingouthealth.com

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za’atar

This may be a new cool weather side dish favorite. A recipe from Milk Street, it combines roasted butternut squash and red onion, then finishes them with a tahini-lemon-garlic sauce and a dusting of za’atar—a Middle Eastern herb, spice and seed blend.

Before roasting, the squash and onion are tossed with olive oil and honey to encourage browning. After sprinkling on the za’atar, you scatter on chopped parsley or basil chiffonade for color and fresh, herbal notes.

Don’t worry if the pieces of squash are in different shapes; this is unavoidable. But when cutting the squash quarters crosswise, be sure they’re no thicker than ¾ inch and that the chunks don’t measure larger than 1½ inches in any dimension or they’ll take too long to roast.

We had less than half a red onion on hand, so we threw in a small shallot to help compensate. But the onion was so good roasted, that I want to make sure to have a large whole one when we make it again.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Tahini and Za'atar

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded and cut crosswise ¾-inch thick
  • 1 medium red onion, root end intact, cut into 1-inch wedges
  • 2 Tbsp. tahini
  • 4 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 tsp. za’atar
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped, or lightly packed fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 475°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, the honey and ½ teaspoon salt. Add the squash and onion, then use your hands to rub the mixture over the vegetables until well coated.
  2. Distribute in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Using a wide metal spatula, flip the vegetables, then roast until nicely browned and a skewer inserted into the squash meets no resistance, 12 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon water; the mixture should have the consistency of thin yogurt (if too thick, whisk in additional water 1 teaspoon at a time to thin). Set aside.
  4. When the vegetables are done, transfer them to a serving platter. Drizzle with the tahini-lemon mixture, then sprinkle with the za’atar and parsley.

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Adapted from a recipe from Milk Street