Jane Coxwell's Fresh Happy Tasty shares light, lively, luscious meals that have been inspired by her many trips around the world. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls Coxwell's love of food "truly infectious," and with recipes like this one, we're inclined to agree.
I love the idea of a crust or topping on a fish like this, but I don’t like the thought of that crust being filled with bread crumbs and butter, so this is my healthier version. Eating fish is good for you, and using quinoa in this recipe makes the dish even healthier. This is another one of those dishes that looks like a lot more effort than it is. The first time around, you’ll need to follow the pictures and read through the recipe, but afterward you’ll whip it up quickly. It’s great for a dinner party because you can prep the fish hours in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator. Just bring it out about 20 minutes before you put it in the oven so that it’s not fridge-cold.
2 minutes, until lightly browned. Watch carefully so that they don’t burn.
2. Cook the quinoa in boiling water for about 15 minutes and drain. Place it back in the dry saucepan over low heat and stir for 1 minute to remove excess water. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Add the quinoa to a blender with the garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest, ¼ cup olive oil, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend until it forms a smooth paste. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary (see photos, pages 153–154).
4. Lay some plastic wrap flat on a clean work surface and spoon the mixture onto the plastic wrap. Top with another layer of plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture into a rough rectangle that’s about ¼ inch thick. This will be your crust. Place it on a plate in the fridge to stiffen up for about 30 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
6. Remove the crust from the fridge and place it on the work surface again. Peel off the top layer of plastic wrap and discard it. Then, using a knife, cut out 4 pieces of the crust to match the size of your fish. Rub the fish in a bit of olive oil. Use a spatula to pick up the crust pieces and place them on top of the fish.
7. Season the bottom of a baking sheet with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil and place the pieces of fish on the sheet.
8. Bake the fish for about 5 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Serve on top of Tomato and Leek Sauce.
Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls live fire cooking "a craft that’s a step up from laid-back grilling and backyard barbeque."
So, why not? Step up your cookouts this summer by playing with some live fire, and let Michael Chiarello's Live Fire be your guide. Chiarello will make you a believer.
Forget shucking raw oysters. If you place whole closed oysters on the grill, not only do they open easily, but you add a little drama to the party. If you have already-shucked oysters, you can grill them too: just wipe the grill with olive oil, and grill the naked oysters for a bare 2 minutes. Kumamotos and Bluepoints are both good choices for grilling. I love our local Hog Island oysters, which you can order by mail, or seek out great oysters from a fishmonger near you. A traditional mignonette (a classic vinaigrette for oysters) calls for shallots, but I like the bolder flavor of red onion with the grilled prosciutto. Substitute 3 tablespoons of diced shallots for the red onion if you prefer a more subtle flavor. Ask your butcher for a whole piece of prosciutto (not cut into thin slices the way it is normally). You’ll grill the prosciutto chunk and then cut it into strips for the top of each oyster. A brunoise dice is a restaurant kitchen technique in which the onion is diced into tiny, neat squares.
24 oysters in their shells
FOR THE MIGNONETTE: Whisk together the oil and parsley in a bowl. (If you combine the herbs and oil first, the herbs don’t brown as quickly.) Add the onion, lemon juice and zest, chile paste, salt, and pepper. Cover and place it in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Turn a gas grill to high or ignite charcoal. For both gas and charcoal grills, when the grill is hot, clean your grill rack. For a gas grill, decrease the temperature to medium-high, and brush or wipe a little olive oil on the grill rack.
With tongs, lay the chunk of prosciutto on the grill and cook until the bottom shows distinct grill marks, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn and grill the other side until marked, about 2 minutes. Remove the prosciutto from the grill and allow it to cool while you grill the oysters.
Make sure the gas grill is hot or that your charcoal has burned to a hot pile that shows some red glow beneath gray ashy coals.
Wipe each oyster with a towel and place the shell directly on the grill rack. When all 24 oysters are on the grill, close the grill lid. Allow the oysters to cook just until you hear them popping open, 3 to 4 minutes.
With tongs take the oysters off the grill, and snap off and discard the top shell, taking care not to lose the liquid inside the shell. Using an oyster knife, gently scrape the bottom shell to release the oyster, without spilling any liquid if you can help it.
Cut the prosciutto chunk into strips, each about 1/4 inch thick and 3/4 inch long. Fill several serving dishes (unless you have one big enough for 24 oysters) with crushed ice and sprinkle peppercorns over the ice for contrast.
Transfer the oysters, still on their half shells, onto the bed of ice, and top each oyster with a few strips of grilled prosciutto. Spoon mignonette over each oyster, and pour the remaining mignonette into a small serving bowl, which gets passed around the table.
Remember a few weeks ago, when all-bacon San Francisco restaurant Bacon Bacon was forced to close because it smelled too strongly of bacon? Well, if you're like me, and you think that's insane and immediately wanted a bacon restaurant to open in your own neighborhood, then Peter Kaminsky and Marie Rama's new cookbook, Bacon Nation, is for you.
Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt: "In 125 recipes, these resourceful chefs, who believe that 'everything is better with bacon,' demonstrate that it’s a real gastronomic star and that a little bacon can 'turn a dish from blah to beautiful.'"
Now, everybody knows that a BLT has mayonnaise, but we thought there had to be another way, and then a visit to Ted & Honey, a lovely sandwich shop in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, caused a little lightbulb to shine in the bacon part of our brains: avocado. It has the fat and creaminess of mayo and its own nutty and fresh flavor that makes for an even more healthful BLT—or, as we like to think of it, BLAT. To make up for the vinegar in the mayo, a squeeze of lemon juice adds a bright, tart fruitiness. When only mayo will do for your BLT, we suggest going whole hog (!) and slathering your sandwich with Bacon Aioli (recipe follows).
Combine the avocado, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and hot sauce, if using, in a small bowl and mash the avocado with a fork until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding more salt and/or hot sauce as necessary. Set the avocado spread aside. Rinse the romaine lettuce leaves and pat them dry with paper towels.
Place 2 of the slices of bread on a work surface. Spread each slice with half of the avocado spread. Layer the lettuce, tomato, and bacon over the spread, dividing the ingredients evenly between each sandwich. (If the bacon slices overlap the bread, simply cut or fold them in half to fit within the bread’s edges.) Top each sandwich with the remaining slice of bread, then cut the sandwiches in half and serve immediately.
The Chefs Collaborative spearheaded the discussion of food sustainability, so you know their cookbook, The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook, will be “gorgeous and good for you and the planet.”
Enjoy this summery recipe.
When the summertime option of pairing green beans with tomatoes and onions is no longer possible, this combination of shallots, herbs, and pistachios is an equally delicious preparation for later-season beans.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large shallow sauté pan. Add the shallots, herbs, and pistachios and cook together over medium heat, seasoning with salt and pepper after several minutes.
When the water for the beans comes to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of
salt to the water. Add the beans and cook until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Taste them as they are cooking to determine when they are ready. Drain and turn out onto a clean dry towel to soak up the excess water.
Put the beans in a bowl and toss them with the shallots, herbs, and nuts. Taste for salt, season with black pepper, and serve immediately.
The Chefs Collaborative is a national chef network that started the conversation on food production and sustainable, environmentally friendly food. The Chefs Collaborative Cookbook "celebrates the positive effect their message continues to have with a collection of 115 local, seasonal and sustainable recipes from some of our best chefs."
Gorgeous food that's good for the planet? Count me in.
The carrots that begin showing up at farmer’s markets in early spring—especially the smaller heirloom varieties—add surprising natural sweetness to custard fillings like this one. This tart is a lovely way to make use of local produce at a time of year when rhubarb and other harbingers of spring have yet to make an appearance.
Serves 8 to 10
Working quickly and using the heel of your hand or a dough scraper, smear the dough across the floured surface a little at a time to incorporate the butter. This French technique, called fraisage, is the key to a tender, flaky crust.
When all of the dough has been smeared, gather it together in a mass and gently form a flat disk that’s 1½ inches thick. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour or freeze for up to 1 month. If using the dough right away, after an hour, remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit out for 10 to 15 minutes, to make it easier to roll.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 14- to 15-inch circle that’s ¼ inch thick. Fold the dough in half and carefully lay it in a 10-inch tart pan with a false bottom and fluted edges. Lightly press the dough into the corners and fold the outer edge of the pastry into the sides, pressing to create an even wall that extends just beyond the top of the pan. Pinch off excess pastry and reserve the extra dough. Prick the shell with a fork and freeze for at least 15 minutes.
To make the filling, combine the carrots and heavy cream in a small nonreactive saucepan. Split the vanilla bean half, scrape the seeds, and add them to the pan along with the pod. Simmer the mixture, covered, over low heat until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes. Cool completely, remove the vanilla pod, and purée with an immersion blender or in a regular blender until very smooth.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and salt until well combined. Add the cool carrot purée and buttermilk. This mixture can be made and refrigerated 2 days ahead.
Heat the oven to 325°F. Bake the tart shell for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bottom is lightly golden. If the dough begins to bubble up, use a clean dry towel to gently press the it down.
Pour the filling into the partially baked shell and then bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the edges puff slightly. The tart will be jiggly in the center and appear to be underbaked—this is okay. Cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then chill until set, about 2 hours.
Remove the tart from the pan and serve at room temperature the day it is baked or chilled the following day.
The esteemed editors of the Italian classic The Silver Spoon have compiled 50 regional Sicilian recipes and more than 150 full-color photos of countryside and kitchen in Sicily, a "tribute to this storied, sun-drenched land and its vibrant, varied table." Writes Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt, "This is a great book for travelers, cooks and dreamers, armchair and otherwise."
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Boil the pasta in salted water until it is al dente, drain, dress with the butter and 2-3 tablespoons then stir in the aggrassatu sauce and season with freshly ground pepper.
Take a little of the mixture and roll it in you hand to form a small fritter. Place on a plate sprinkled with Parmesan and continue until the mixture is used up. Sprinkle the fritters again with parmesan and keep under a weight for 30 minutes. Heat plenty of oil in a frying pan and fry the fritters until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with the sauce of your choice.
Tie the veal into a neat round with kitchen string. Melt the butter with the oil in a pan, add the onions and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the veal, increase the heat to medium and cook, turning it several times and drizzling occasionally with water, for about 10 minutes, until evenly browned. Add the clove, season with salt and pepper, half cover the meat with water and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding the water if necessary, for 1 hour, until the sauce has thickened.
Remove the mea from the pan and reserve for a second course. Transfer the cooking juices into a small pan. Mix the cornstarch to a paste with 1.2 cup water and stir it into the cooking juices. Set the pan on low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until reduced and thickened.
Mad Hungry Cravings: 173 Recipes for the Food You Want to Eat Right Now by Lucinda Scala Quinn transforms all those favorite takeout foods into tastier, healthier and much less expensive recipes you can do at home.
Save this recipe for a gorgeous summer day!
Summer rolls are a healthful way to satisfy an Asian food craving. They are fresh room-temperature rolls, not deep-fried. Here, julienned veggies (see page 83), blanched shrimp, herbs, and thin noodles are wrapped in rice papers and served with a flavorful dipping sauce. Set up an assembly line to make them—it’s a great family activity.
2. Put the noodles in a baking dish, cover with hot water, and soak until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water.
3. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise. Pour ½ inch of cool water into a pie plate. Submerge a spring roll skin in the water for 10 seconds, then remove and transfer to a clean work surface. Place 4 shrimp halves cut side up in a straight row across the lower third of the skin. Top the shrimp with a few basil leaves, a few tablespoons of the shredded cabbage, a pinch of the carrots, and ¹?3 cup of the rice noodles. Carefully lift the edge of the spring roll skin nearest you up and over the filling. Fold the sides over, and continue to roll up. Transfer to a platter, seam side down, and cover with a damp paper towel. Continue building the remaining rolls.
4. For the dipping sauce, whisk the garlic, jalapeño, sugar, lime juice, fish sauce, and minced scallions in a medium bowl. Transfer to individual dipping bowls and garnish with the sliced scallion tops.
5. Serve the summer rolls with the dipping sauce.
*NOTE: To cut the vegetables into julienne (thin matchstick-shaped pieces), first cut into ¹?8-inch slices, then stack the slices, and cut into ¹?8-inch-thick strips. Trim pieces to desired length, usually about ½ inch.
If you're starting to get bored by dinner, Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt recommends The Dinnertime Survival Cookbook by Debra Ponzek, "to shake things up, and get you out of that rut and into adding new, easy dishes to your repertoire." For those of us who cook dinner every night, this book's a life-changer.
Serves 8 to 10
In a medium sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat and when it melts and bubbles, add the pears and sauté for 5 to 6 minutes or until they soften and begin to caramelize. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, mustard, thyme, and salt. Season with pepper.
Spread half of the prosciutto, half the cheese, and half the pears over the bread. Spread the remaining bread cubes over these ingredients and then top evenly with the remaining prosciutto, cheese, and pears.
Pour the egg mixture over the strata and press lightly on the bread to submerge it in the liquid so that it soaks evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 12 hours or overnight.
Take the strata from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake the strata for 45 to 50 minutes or until the center is set and no longer wobbly. Serve warm.
Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home by Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner is our Top Pick in Cookbooks for April, and it brings together 150 easy, affordable recipes from restaurants' "family meals"—what the staff eats before they serve you. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt promises this cookbook brings "pizzazz and new pleasures."
Food carts all over New York City feature chicken or lamb seasoned with a Middle Eastern spice mix, seared on a griddle, and then stuffed into warm pitas or served over rice. Because the carts often stay open for business well past midnight, it was probably inevitable that a cook, inspired by his late-night snack, would create a similar version for family meal. The key is to use a heavy cast-iron skillet over high heat—and to give the pieces of chicken some breathing room, because if they’re crowded, they’ll steam instead of browning.
Just like its street-corner predecessor, this chicken is short on looks but long on flavor. Some of the pieces of chicken will char, some will brown. Then mix them with lime juice, salt, and sugar and let them sit briefly, and the spices will combine with the juices to form a delicious seasoning. Serve like the original, in warm pitas or over rice.
For the spice paste
Add the chicken pieces to the spice paste and stir well to coat. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator.
Mix the lime juice with the salt and sugar in a large bowl, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
TO COOK THE CHICKEN: In a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the chicken, loosening and turning the pieces as they brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked chicken to the lime juice mixture and toss to coat. Once all the chicken is cooked, let sit for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the lime juice mingles with the spice coating to make a sauce.
Remove the chicken from the lime juice mixture and serve.
Why do we love food trucks so much? Perhaps it's their innovation, the accessibility of clever recipes or the joy of eating food curbside. Or perhaps it has something to do with our hunter-gatherer ancestors and some kind of feral satisfaction of tracking down our favorite trucks (albeit via Twitter).
Whatever the reason, Eat St. taps into our collective love of food trucks by assembling 125 recipes from all different trucks. Cooking columnist Sybil Pratt calls it a "revolution"; we call it tonight's dinner.
El Gastrónomo Vagabundo is inhabited by Australian chef Adam Hynam-Smith and his Canadian partner, Tamara Jensen.
What a culinary and gastronomic journey! Proof? This salad, a blend of papaya, smoked tuna, and a delicious chili tamarind sauce. I guess that’s the “vagabundo” part.
Tamarind water can be found in many Asian supermarkets. If you can’t find it, soak 3 tbsp (45 mL) tamarind paste in ¾ cup (175 mL) hot water until soft; squeeze pulp with your fingers to dissolve it. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, forcing liquid through with the back of a spoon and scraping pulp from the outside of the sieve.
Chili Tamarind Sauce
Pour mixture into blender and add cilantro roots. Blend until smooth.
Pour sauce into a bowl; add fish sauce to taste. Flavor should be a balance of sweet, sour, and salty. Transfer to a squeeze bottle, if desired. Set aside.
For the seasoning sauce, in a small saucepan, combine palm sugar and water. Stir over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Add fish sauce to taste. Flavor should be a balance of sweet and salty. Let cool completely.
For the fried shallots, in a small skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté shallots, stirring frequently and being careful not to burn them, until deep golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. (Shallots will crisp as they cool.)
To serve, arrange tuna slices in middle of 4 plates. Top with green papaya salad, creating a pyramid. Squeeze 3 nickel-size dots of chili tamarind sauce around tuna (or drizzle with a spoon). Garnish with fried shallots, peanuts, lime leaf, and a lime wedge. Serve immediately.