How do I love thee, Thai food? Let me count the ways.
Thai food has enjoyed an immense surge in popularity in the U.S. over the past few years, and Leela Punyaratabandhu—a Bangkok native—shares her favorite recipes in her new cookbook, Simple Thai Food. Punyaratabandhu's simple instructions and information on special Thai ingredients (and easy-to-find substitutions) can give any home cook the tools for tackling "Thai make-in instead of Thai take-out."
CRISPY DUMPLINGS (Gold Purses)
MAKES 18 DUMPLINGS
Trim off and discard the roots of the green onions. Cut each onion into 2 pieces, separating the white bulb end from the green blades. Slice the white parts crosswise ¼-inch thick and reserve for the filling. Set the green blades aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a 14-inch skillet over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onions, aromatic paste and mushrooms and stir-fry for about 2 minutes, until the onions and mushrooms have softened. Add the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, sugar and water chestnuts and stir with a spatula, breaking up the chicken as finely as you can with the blunt end of the spatula. Continue to stir-fry for 5 to 8 minutes, until all of the chicken is cooked through and all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and let the filling cool to room temperature.
To blanch the “strings” for tying the bags, fill a 1-quart saucepan half full with water and bring the water to a boil. Place a bowl of iced water next to the stove. When the water is boiling, add the green onion blades, pushing them down gently with a spoon to submerge them in the water. After 30 seconds, transfer the onion blades to the iced water. Within 1 minute, the onions should be cool enough to handle. Remove them from the water and, with your fingers or the tip of a paring knife, split each blade in half lengthwise; set aside.
To assemble the dumplings, lay a spring roll skin flat on a work surface and put 1½ tablespoons of the cooled filling in the center. Gather together the corners of the skin and adjust the dumpling so it takes on a round, rather than flat, profile. Using 1 piece of onion blade, tie it around the gathered corners twice to secure them. With a pair of kitchen shears, trim off the dangling blade ends. Repeat with the remaining spring roll skins and filling.
To fry the dumplings, pour the oil to a depth of 3 inches into a wok, Dutch oven or deep fryer and heat to 325°F. To test if the oil is ready without a thermometer, stick an unvarnished wooden chopstick into the oil; when the oil is hot enough, a steady stream of tiny bubbles will rise from the tip of the chopstick. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and place it next to the stove.
Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower 3 or 4 filled pouches into the hot oil and deepfry for 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown all over. Using the slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to the towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dumplings are cooked.
Do not serve the dumplings right out of the oil, as the filling will be much too hot to eat. Let them cool down to slightly warmer than room temperature, then arrange them on a platter and serve with the sweet chile sauce.
We're ringing in the month of May with Marc Forgione's recipe for one of his signature "multicomponent masterpieces" from our Top Pick in Cookbooks, Marc Forgione: Recipes and Stories from the Acclaimed Chef and Restaurant. The acclaimed New York chef and star of "Iron Chef America" offers a lineup of his most spectacular dishes alongside details of his rise in the culinary world and the challenges he faced along the way. Are you ready to take Forgione's dare to become fearless in the kitchen? Then roll up your sleeves and take on this Chili Lobster + Texas Toast.
CHILI LOBSTER + TEXAS TOAST
This has become a dish that, along with the Chicken Under a Brick (see page 213), we’ve sort of become known for. But it didn’t become wildly popular until Sam Sifton, the dining critic for the New York Times at the time, wrote his review of the restaurant, devoting a whole paragraph to Chili Lobster, and adding it to his list of recommended dishes. After that, Chili Lobster got on everyone’s radar and has since remained one of our most popular offerings on the menu. On any given night, we go through anywhere from 30 to 50 lobsters, and when you’re doing 130 covers, 30 to 50 is quite a big chunk!
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the tails from the lobster bodies and cut the tails into 1-inch pieces while they are still in their shells. Remove the claws and place them in the pot of boiling water. Simmer for 4 minutes. Transfer the claws to an ice bath. Once cool, remove the meat from the claws and knuckles and set the meat aside. (See page 134 for instructions.)
2. Bring the Lobster Stock to a simmer and add the sriracha and soy sauce. Piece by piece, using a hand blender or a whisk, whisk in 6 tablespoons of the butter until emulsified. Finish with the lime juice and season with salt. This sauce may seem too spicy at first but the sweetness from the lobster will help balance it out.
3. Season the lobster tails with salt on both sides. In a wok or a large sauté pan set over high heat, heat just enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Just before it starts to smoke, add the lobster tails, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 1 minute, undisturbed. Add the ginger and onion and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the lobster stock emulsion and deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Turn the heat down to low and cook for 1 more minute or until the lobster is cooked through. Remove the lobster meat from the sauce and distribute it among 4 plates.
4. Add the claw and knuckle meat and reduce the remaining sauce until it thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. While the sauce is reducing, butter the bread slices with the remaining 6 tablespoons butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut each bread slice diagonally—you should wind up with 8 triangular slices. Toast the bread in a toaster oven until toasted and golden brown.
5. Taste the lobster sauce and add more salt and pepper, if needed. Add the claw and knuckle meat to each bowl. Finish with the mint chiffonade and sliced scallions. Divide the sauce evenly among the four bowls and serve the lobster with Texas toast on the side—you will want it all to mop up the sauce afterward.
MAKES ABOUT 4½ CUPS
This recipe will also work to make crab or shrimp stock; just substitute the respective shells for the lobster shells.
1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF; position the rack in the middle. Add enough oil to a roasting pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Add the lobster heads and toss to coat them in the oil. Roast for about 20 minutes or until the bones are well caramelized.
2. Place the roasting pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Crush the bones with a wooden spoon. Add the onions, celery, and fennel, and deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the wine and 4 cups of cold water.
3. Transfer everything to a large stockpot set over medium heat, and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour and 40 minutes.
4. Remove from the heat, add the thyme, tarragon, and bay leaf, and allow the stock to infuse for 20 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl and let cool slightly. Transfer to an airtight container or containers and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. The stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Prolific writer, food critic and chef Michael Ruhlman's latest cookbook uniquely centers around a single key ingredient: the egg, or as he so poetically describes it, a “singularity with a thousand ends." Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World’s Most Versatile Ingredient contains more than 100 egg-cellent recipes ranging from Aged Eggnog to Eggs in Puttanesca Sauce, and Ruhlman provides easy to understand instructions along with a practiced chef's eye for precision. This bright and citrusy Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping looks stunning, and it uses eggs in three different ways.
Key Lime Tart with Almond Crust and Meringue Topping
Makes 1 (9-inch) tart
I was planning to do a yolk-based lemon tart but had recently been in Key West, so I decided to do a lime version. I love this preparation because it uses the egg in three different ways. The yolks enrich and help set the custard, while the white both helps bind the crust and is the basis for the meringue garnish. You can use a standard pie plate if you don’t have a tart mold.
Preheat the oven to 350˚F/180˚C. Position a rack in the center of the oven.
To make the crust, combine the almond flour and all-purpose flour in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, lightly whip 2 of the egg whites with 3 tablespoons of the sugar to dissolve the sugar. Add the egg white mixture and the melted butter to the flour mixture. Stir till it all comes together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch/23-centimeter tart pan.
Bake the crust till it looks appealingly golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the filling, whisk together all 5 egg yolks, the sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture into the cooled tart crust.
Bake until the center is set but still moves a bit when the pan is nudged, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool completely.
Before serving, make an Italian meringue with the remaining 3 egg whites (equal parts egg white and sugar by weight, cooking the sugar to 250˚F/120˚C). Pipe or spread the meringue onto the cooled pie and broil the top to brown it lightly or hit it with a blowtorch for color. Serve.
Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby want to help home cooks achieve "big flavor without big effort" with their new cookbook, The Big-Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes. Today's recipe is for Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan, a super quick and flavorful side dish that just might steal the show at your next outdoor BBQ.
Super-Basic Grilled Corn
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the grill for 4 to 5 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Rub the corn ears all over with the oil and sprinkle them with the salt and pepper. Put the ears on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around to ensure all of the sides are getting some attention from the fire, until they are golden brown all over, which should take 4 to 6 minutes. Remove the corn from the grill, place the ears in a large bowl (along with some butter if you like) and serve.
| Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish |
Grilled Corn with Basil and Parmesan
With super fresh corn and basil right out of the garden, this dish has the unmistakable flavor of summer—but then we throw in some cheese, because after all, why not get that complexity and richness?
While the fire heats up, get these ingredients ready but keep them separate in small individual containers:
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Corn on page 206.
When the corn comes off the grill, put it in a big bowl, add all the other ingredients one after another and toss so the corn gets well coated.
For those of us pining away for a Parisian vacation, Greg Marchand's first cookbook of nouvelle vague bistro fare may be the next best thing. Frenchie is our April Top Pick in cookbooks, and Marchand's recipe for this light and sophisticated dessert is the perfect example of why his innovative, light-handed French fusion is garnering international attention.
Chamomile Panna Cotta and Citrus Soup
4 servings / Wine pairing: Sake
This delicate panna cotta is made with less gelatin than many recipes call for, so be sure to allow enough time for it to set. Infusing the cream with chamomile gives it slight notes of hay, and the panna cotta and citrus fruit soup are an exciting combination, both floral and wild, acidic and sweet. I like to serve this dessert with a good sake.
For the panna cotta
For the citrus soup
The panna cotta
1. With a small knife, split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds; reserve the pod and seeds.
Combine the cream, sugar, chamomile, and vanilla seeds and pod in a small nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 20 to 30 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl.
2. Meanwhile, put the gelatin in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
Drain the gelatin and squeeze out the excess water. Heat the milk in a small saucepan, just until warm, then add the gelatin and stir to dissolve it. Pour the milk into the infused cream and stir well. Pour into four 4-ounce timbale molds (about 2 inches high and 2 inches wide) or 4-ounce ramekins.
3. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
The citrus soup
1. Juice one of the grapefruits and both oranges; reserve ½ cup of each type of fruit juice.
Quarter the kumquats lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
2. With a sharp knife, peel the remaining grapefruit and the clementines, removing the skin and all the bitter white pith. Then cut between the membranes to remove the citrus segments. Combine with the kumquats in a bowl.
3. Put the gelatin sheet in a bowl of cold water and let stand for 10 minutes, or until softened.
4. Combine the orange and grapefruit juice, cinnamon and honey in a small nonreactive saucepan and heat until warm. Drain the gelatin, squeeze out the excess water and add to the juice, stirring to dissolve it. Let cool to room temperature.
5. Pour the cooled juice over the fruit segments and refrigerate until chilled.
To unmold the panna cottas, briefly place each one in hot water, then invert into a shallow bowl. Pour the citrus soup around (discard the cinnamon stick) and garnish with mint leaves.
Springtime is officially here! The sun is shining and the weather is finally warming up, so it's time to drag your grill out of the garage and show it some love. This two-part recipe for Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce comes from The Big Flavor Grill: No-Marinade, No-Hassle Recipes by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby, who make grilling "radically easy, without marinating, brining or using fancy equipment."
Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips
| Serves 4 to 6 |
Build a two-level fire in your grill, which means you put all the coals on one side of the grill and leave the other side free of coals. When the flames have died down, all the coals are covered with gray ash, and the temperature is medium-hot (you can hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 3 to 4 seconds), you’re ready to cook.
Put the steak tips in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper and mix until the tips are evenly coated.
Put the tips on the grill directly over the coals and cook, rolling them around frequently so they get well browned on all sides, until done to your liking, about 8 to 10 minutes for medium rare. To check for doneness, cut into one of the chunks and see if it’s done just a bit less than the way you like it. (Remember that it will continue to cook after being taken off the heat.) Remove the steak tips from the grill, cover them with foil and allow them to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Steak Tips with Homemade Korean Barbecue Sauce
Check out your local Asian store, and you’ll likely find prepared ingredients that you’re not familiar with but which can quickly and easily add a ton of flavor to your food. The fermented red pepper paste known as gochujang, essential to many Korean dishes, is a perfect example.
While the fire heats up, combine in a small saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 12 minutes—you just want it heated up and well combined:
Now take it off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
Follow the recipe for Super-Basic Grilled Steak Tips on page 33 (listed above).
When the steak tips come off the grill, put them into a large bowl, add the barbecue sauce and toss well.
Toss together in a bowl and then sprinkle the steak tips with:
Easter is coming up soon, and this week's recipe for Easter Swiss Chard and Ricotta Pie could bring a uniquely Italian element to your holiday menu. The perfect combination of savory, flaky and creamy, this pie comes from Michele Scicolone's latest release, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook. Not sure where to find Swiss chard? Try it with other leafy greens like spinach or arugula!
Easter Swiss Chard and Ricotta Pie
At Easter time, this savory tart is traditional in Liguria, but it has become so popular that you can now find it year-round. Some cooks make it with just one vegetable, while others use a mix like chard, spinach, arugula, beet greens and/or artichoke hearts. Originally the tart was made with 33 layers of dough, representing the years of Jesus’ life, but this is a streamlined, contemporary version with just two layers enclosing the vegetable and cheese filling. The crust for the pie is made with olive oil instead of butter or shortening, which gives it a melt-in-your mouth tenderness and great flavor. A vegan friend taught me a great trick: Freezing the oil to a slushy consistency makes the crust easier to handle.
To make the crust
Place the olive oil in a small container in the freezer until it is slushy around the edges, 30 to 60 minutes.
In a food processor, pulse the flour, baking powder, and salt. (The dough can also be made with an electric mixer.) Add the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the water and pulse to blend, adding the remaining water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed to make a smooth, soft dough.
Remove the dough from the machine and cut it into 2 pieces, one twice as large as the other. Shape the pieces into disks. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
To make the filling
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the Swiss chard and 2 teaspoons salt and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the chard is tender. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Let cool completely. Wrap the chard in a kitchen towel and squeeze well to extract as much liquid as possible. Place the chard on a cutting board and chop into ½-inch pieces.
In a medium skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil until tender and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chard and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the ricotta, marjoram, ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the Parmigiano and the chard mixture until blended.
To assemble and bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Oil a 9-inch tart pan.
Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 14-inch circle. Transfer the dough to the pan and fit it into the bottom and up against the sides. Trim off all but ½ inch of dough around the rim.
Scrape the filling into the pan.
Roll out the smaller disk of dough to a 10-inch circle and place it over the filling.
Roll the edge of the bottom crust up over the top and pinch together to seal. With a small knife, cut 6 small slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
Place the pan on a large baking sheet to catch any drips. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pastry is browned. Cool the tart in the pan for 10 minutes.
Remove the rim of the pan and cut the tart into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Jeff Koehler, a proud Barcelona resident for over 15 years, offers "an expert guide" to the intriguing and sophisticated flavors of Spanish cuisine in his cookbook, Spain: Recipes and Traditions from the Verdant Hills of the Basque Country to the Coastal Waters of Andalucía. Koehler tells a well-informed story of the country itself through his collection of 200 recipes, highlighting the most essential ingredients along with their cultural significance. This recipe for Chicken with Shallots and Orange and Cinnamon Sauce is a great introduction to the combination of sweet and savory so prominent in Valencia.
Chicken with Shallots and Orange and Cinnamon Sauce
The central market in Valencia is one of the most spectacular in the country, with soaring cupolas, ceilings that reach 100 feet/30 m, and ample windows that infuse it with Mediterranean light. And that is only the architecture! Nearly 1,000 food stalls offer the spectacular makings of Valencia's rather baroque cuisine. The city was under Muslim rule for five centuries (until 1238), and that legacy can clearly be tasted. One prominent influence is the frequent combination of sweet and savory. This chicken dish is one such example, and is adapted from a small book that the stall holders put together a few years ago.
1. Remove the skin and trim the excess fat from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry. Season with salt and white pepper.
2. Peel the shallots. Finely chop two of them and set aside.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C/gas mark 5.
4. In a cazuela, heavy casserole, large saute pan or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Lightly dredge the chicken in flour and brown in single-layer batches that don’t crowd the pan, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.
5. Add the whole shallots to the cazuela and cook until golden, 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer with a slotted spoon to the platter with the chicken. Add the chopped shallots and cook until tender and golden, about 2 minutes. Stir in the 1 teaspoon flour and then add the orange juice and cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, stirring continually. Remove the pan from the heat.
6. In a large baking dish or roasting pan, arrange the chicken without overlapping the pieces, scatter around the whole shallots and pour over the sauce. Loosely cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is done and just starting to separate from the bone.
7. Spoon the sauce into a saucepan and reduce by about ¼ over high heat into a thickish glaze, about 3 minutes. To serve, place a drumstick and a thigh with some whole shallots on each plate and ladle over some sauce.
This divinely simple pasta recipe comes from The Italian Vegetable Cookbook by Michele Scicolone. The mostly meatless cookbook focuses on the vibrant use of fresh fruits and veggies in the tradition of la cucina Italiana, and Scicolone's Orecchiette with Potatoes and Arugula makes for a stunning one-pot supper.
Orecchiette with Potatoes and Arugula
Arugula is ideal as a salad green, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good cooked. In Puglia, it is used in soups and pasta sauces and sauteed as a side dish. This recipe pairs orecchiette, little ear-shaped pasta, with arugula and potatoes. For the sauce, the potatoes turn creamy as they cook in the same pot with the pasta, and the pasta and vegetables get an added lift from sauteed garlic and a hint of hot pepper.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a skillet large enough to hold all of the ingredients, cook the garlic and red pepper in the oil over medium heat until the garlic is golden and fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Add the potatoes to the boiling water. When the water is boiling again, stir in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the pasta is al dente. Stir in the arugula. Scoop out some of the cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
Place the skillet over medium heat, add the pasta and vegetables and toss well. Add a little of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry. Drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve immediately.
Today's hearty recipe for Italian Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole comes from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook by Alexe van Beuren and Dixie Grimes. Van Beuren's story of unexpected Main Street revival in her town of Water Valley, Mississippi, is captivating, and our cooking columnist calls Grimes' collection of Southern recipes, "Creative comfort at its best."
Italian Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Casserole
Reasons to make a breakfast casserole: Your in-laws are in town, and you need to spend the early morning vacuuming. High school boys are spending the night, and it’s better to serve them something contained rather than getting roped into standing next to the stove for a solid hour making pancakes to order. Someone needs sustenance in the way of food and the whole neighborhood knows it, which means the recipients of largesse might have 18 lasagnas and nothing for breakfast.
This particular casserole is savory enough for dinner, but the eggs make it breakfasty. Teenage boy approved.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 × 13-inch baking dish with butter. In a skillet set over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, until browned throughout—10 to 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Discard all but 1½ tablespoons of the grease in the pan. Add the fennel and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until the fennel is soft, 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vermouth, oregano, nutmeg, salt and pepper. In the bottom of the prepared baking dish, spread half of the bread, and top with half of the cooked sausage, half of the fennel mixture, and half of the grated cheese; repeat the layers with the remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic from the dish and bake until the casserole is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Excerpted from The B.T.C. Old-Fashioned Grocery Cookbook by Alexe van Beuren and Dixie Grimes. Copyright © 2014 by Alexe van Beuren. Photographs by Ed Anderson. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter Publishers, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Read our review of this book.