Balinese Pork Satay (Sate Babi) With Sweet Soy Glaze and Peanut Sauce

For the Spice Paste:
One (1-inch) knob fresh turmeric, peeled (about 10g), or 1 teaspoon (4g) ground turmeric
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, outer layers and root removed, thinly sliced (about 80g)
8 medium cloves garlic, sliced (about 60g)
2 small shallots, sliced (about 75g)
3 whole dried pasilla or guajillo chilies, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped (about 40g)
2 tablespoons (about 30g) palm sugar or brown sugar
2 teaspoons (about 6g) whole coriander seed
1 tablespoon (about 9g) whole white peppercorns
Kosher salt
2 pounds (1kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

For the Glaze:
1 cup kecap manis (8 ounces; 240ml)
1/4 cup sugar (about 2 ounces; 50g), plus more if needed
One (2-inch) knob ginger, roughly chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped

For the Dipping Sauce:
10 ounces roasted peanuts (285g; about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable or canola oil, divided
1 ounce (30g) tamarind pulp, soaked and strained (see note), or 2 teaspoons (10ml) tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon (15ml) kecap manis or fish sauce
Water, as necessary
Sugar, to taste

For the Spice Paste: Combine turmeric, lemongrass, garlic, shallots, chilies, sugar, coriander, white peppercorns, and 2 teaspoons (8g) kosher salt using a mortar and pestle, working in batches if necessary. Pound into a fine paste. (For an easier method, pound with the mortar and pestle until a rough paste is formed, then transfer to a food processor to reduce to a fine paste. I do not recommend using the food processor alone if you want maximum flavor.) Divide mixture into thirds.

Combine pork and one-third of spice paste in a large bowl and toss with your hands until all of pork is thoroughly coated in the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes or up to overnight. Thread pork onto skewers. To do this efficiently, cut an onion or potato in half and place it on your cutting board. Place a piece of pork on top of it and push through it with the skewer. Repeat until each skewer has about 6 inches of pork threaded onto it. Pork should be pushed together quite tightly. Discard onion half (or grill it) after use. Keep pork skewers refrigerated until ready to cook.

For the Glaze: Meanwhile, combine kecap manis, sugar, ginger, and garlic in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cook until glaze is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Stir in one-third of spice paste and adjust seasoning with more sugar as necessary. Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, using the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Leftover glaze can be stored indefinitely in a covered container in the refrigerator.

For the Dipping Sauce: Pound peanuts with the mortar and pestle until reduced to a rough powder. Heat 2 tablespoons (30ml) oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add remaining third of spice paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peanuts, tamarind juice, remaining oil, kecap manis or fish sauce, and 1/2 cup (120ml) water. Stir to combine. Once liquid comes to a simmer and turns creamy, adjust consistency with more water as necessary to produce a creamy sauce that just barely flows. Season to taste with a little sugar if desired. Leftover sauce can be stored for several weeks in a covered container in the refrigerator.

To Cook: Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals on one side of charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to the highest heat setting, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

Working in batches as necessary, place pork directly over hot side of grill. Immediately start fanning coals or flames with a large piece of cardboard or with the hose of a Shop-Vac to prevent flare-ups. Cook, fanning constantly and turning pork occasionally, until pork is cooked through and browned on all sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer pork to cooler side of grill and brush on all sides with glaze. Return to hot side of grill and cook, turning, just until glaze starts to bubble and get sticky, about 45 seconds. Transfer skewers to a serving platter and repeat until all pork is cooked.

Brush pork with another layer of glaze just before serving and serve with peanut sauce on the side or spooned on top.

Ginger-Marinated Bulgogi-Style Chicken

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted-sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1 1/2 pounds chicken breast cutlets, pounded 1/3 inch thick
Vegetable oil, for brushing

In a resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, honey, vinegar, pepper, scallions, garlic, ginger and 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for up to 4 hours.

Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Oil the grates. Remove the chicken from the marinade and brush lightly with oil. Grill over moderate heat, turning once, until lightly charred and cooked through, 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, thinly slice and serve.

Grilled Vegetables with Agrodolce and Burrata

FOR THE AGRODOLCE SAUCE:
1/4 cup chopped raisins, preferably golden, or dried apricots
2/3 cup white wine vinegar or cider vinegar (or a combination)
2 tablespoons honey, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon fish sauce or colatura (optional)
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Pinch of fine sea salt

FOR THE VEGETABLES (USE ANY OR ALL):
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 3 bell peppers, quartered, stems and seeds removed
1 to 2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced diagonally 1/2-inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced diagonally 1/2-inch thick
2 to 4 ears yellow corn, shucked
8 ounces mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered
1 bunch thick asparagus, ends snapped
8 ounces cherry tomatoes, preferably still on the vine

FOR SERVING:
2 small burrata or fresh mozzarella balls, or 2 cups fresh ricotta
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil or mint leaves, for serving
Crusty bread slices

Make the sauce: Put raisins or apricots in a small heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, fish sauce or colatura (if using), red-pepper flakes and salt. Bring to a boil, then let simmer until the mixture reduces slightly, about 3 minutes. Immediately pour over the raisins and let cool. Taste and stir in a little more honey if the sauce is too harsh. (Sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in the refrigerator.)

Prepare the vegetables: Oil the grill grate and light the grill. Have a serving platter at the ready.

Grill the peppers, zucchini, eggplant and corn directly on the grate, in batches if necessary, and turning them as needed. Move them around the grate so they cook evenly. Cook until they are lightly charred, watching them carefully, 5 to 12 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

To grill the mushrooms and asparagus, place them in a grilling basket if you have one, or put directly on the grill. (Arrange the asparagus perpendicular to the grates so they don’t fall through.) Grill, turning as needed, until charred all over, 6 to 10 minutes. Grill the cherry tomatoes, using the vine as a handle if possible, for 1 to 2 minutes, until they start to burst and char slightly. Transfer all the vegetables as they cook directly to the serving platter.

Add the cheese to the platter next to the vegetables. Immediately drizzle everything with some of the sauce, stirring it up to get the raisins, and with olive oil. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt and pepper and scatter the herbs generously on top. Serve the extra sauce and the bread alongside for making crostini with some of the vegetables and more of the tangy sauce.

Tip:
To make this using a broiler, spread the vegetables on a rimmed sheet pan, drizzle with oil and broil until browned on top, then flip and broil until browned on the other side. The timing will depend on the vegetable, so stick with one kind per baking pan. You’ll need to do this in batches. You can also use a grill pan.

Leek Risotto With Asparagus

FOR THE RISOTTO
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 large leek, cleaned and chopped (1 cup)
1 cup white arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine, such as chardonnay
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 ounces grated pecorino-Romano cheese(3/4 cup), plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

FOR THE ASPARAGUS
8 ounces thin asparagus stalks, washed and dried; tough ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
For the risotto: Combine the broth and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. (You’ll gradually add this to the rice as it cooks.)

Switch gears for a moment to the asparagus: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Arrange the asparagus in a single layer on the baking sheet. Drizzle it with the oil and season with the salt and a few grinds of black pepper, then toss it all together with your hands until evenly coated. Pop it in the oven and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until fork-tender. Let the asparagus cool on the pan.

Meanwhile, let’s get that risotto going: Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped leek and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes, until the rice is starting to turn light brown. Pour in the wine (enjoy that pleasant sizzle!) and cook until that liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.

Now, here’s where you’ll start adding the hot liquid. Stir in one ladleful, along with the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is fully absorbed, then add the next ladleful. Continue this way for about 12 minutes, adding the liquid and stirring it in, and then start tasting. You’re looking for grains that are creamy but have just a little bit of a bite in the center.

When the risotto is done, reduce the heat to low and add one more ladle of broth, the cheese and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes until you’ve got a thick and creamy risotto. (You may have just a little bit of unused broth left over: That’s okay. Save it for reheating leftovers.)

To serve, ladle the warm risotto onto plates. Use the lemon wedges to spritz the roasted asparagus with juice, then top each portion of the risotto with roasted asparagus. Garnish with the chopped parsley and additional cheese. Oh, and enjoy with the rest of the bottle of white wine.

Sesame Chicken Schnitzel

1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (a.k.a. garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, plus more as needed
2 large eggs
1/3 cup flour
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 14 ounces total weight, from 1 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Combine the panko, sesame seeds, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the garlic powder, paprika, black pepper and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. Lightly beat the eggs in a separate dish; whisk together the flour and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt in another dish.

Trim any excess fat from the chicken. Season the chicken lightly with salt and black pepper, plus a little more cayenne, if desired. Working with one piece at a time, place each thigh between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness of about 1/4 inch.

Coat each piece of pounded chicken first in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess; then in the egg; and then in the seasoned panko, pressing so the meat is evenly and completely coated. Place on a rimmed baking sheet; let the pieces sit for 10 minutes (this will help the coating adhere during cooking). Discard any remaining egg and seasoned flour; you should have used all the panko mixture.

When you are ready to fry, place a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Heat the oil until shimmering in a heavy skillet over medium heat.

Lay two of the coated chicken pieces in the pan; fry for about 2 1/2 minutes, until the underside is golden brown, then use tongs to turn them over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on the other side. Transfer to the wire rack to drain while you cook the remaining chicken.
Serve warm, or at room temperature.

Korean Fried Chicken

For the tenders:
2 chicken breasts (cut into 15 tenders)
Buttermilk (enough to coat the chicken)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons Korean chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil (enough to fill a small, deep pot for frying)

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons gochujang paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey (or agave)
½ teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons dijon mustard

First, place the chicken tenders in a medium sized bowl. Pour enough buttermilk into the bowl to submerge the chicken. Add the soy sauce and dijon mustard. Stir thoroughly and let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a shallow dish, combine the flour, Korean chili powder, salt, and pepper.

Heat the oil over medium high heat. When a chopstick dipped into the oil sizzles, you’re ready to start frying.

Dredge each chicken tender in the flour mixture, coating thoroughly. Then dip the chicken tender back into the buttermilk. Dredge in the flour mixture a second time, and gently place into the hot oil. Fry until the chicken is golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet.

Repeat the double-dipping/dredging and frying with the remaining pieces of chicken. When you’re done frying the chicken, combine the gochujang, soy sauce, agave, sesame oil, and dijon mustard for the dipping sauce. Serve immediately–maybe alongside some French fries if you’re having yourself an extra little splurge!

Malaysian Chicken Satay

2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thigh and leg meat
Bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 2 hours
1 cucumber, cut into small pieces
1 small onion, quartered
oil, for basting

Chicken Satay Marinade:

3 tablespoons oil
2 stalks lemongrass, white parts only
2 cloves garlic, peeled
6 small shallots or pearl onions, peeled
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt or more to taste
2 tablespoons sugar or honey

Cut the chicken meat into small cubes. Set aside.

Blend all the he Marinade ingredients in a food processor. Add a little water if needed.

For the chicken satay dipping sauce, please click here: satay peanut sauce recipe.

Combine the chicken and the Marinade together, stir to mix well. Marinate the chicken for 6 hours in the fridge, or best overnight. When ready, thread 3-4 pieces of the chicken meat onto the bamboo skewers.

Grill the chicken satay skewers for 2-3 minutes on each side until the meat is fully cooked and the surface is nicely charred, on both sides. Baste and brush with some oil while grilling. Serve hot with peanut sauce the fresh cucumber pieces and onions.

Chili-Garlic Shrimp

1 lb (450 g) raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Sauce:
1/4 cup chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons light soy sauce (or soy sauce)

Stir Fry:
4 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon ginger, minced

Combine the shrimp and Shaoxing wine in a medium-sized bowl. Sprinkle evenly with salt. Mix until the salt is evenly dispersed. Set aside while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat 4 tablespoons of oil (or just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) in a medium-sized skillet until hot. Meanwhile, add the cornstarch and all-purpose flour to the bowl with the shrimp. Toss until the shrimp are fully coated.
Shake the extra flour off the shrimp and add them to the pan. You might need to cook them in two batches. Let the shrimp cook without touching them, until the bottom turns golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip to brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Once done, transfer the shrimp to a large plate without overlapping and keep cooking the rest.

Once you’re done cooking the shrimp, turn off the stove and use paper towels to wipe the pan to remove any residue.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the ginger and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the sauce to the pan. Cook and stir until the sauce becomes thick and glossy, 20 to 30 seconds.

Turn the heat off and return the shrimp into the pan, tossing to coat thoroughly.

Serve hot as a main dish.

Spanish White Bean Soup with Bacon and Herbs

1 1/4 pounds thick-sliced bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch strips
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 celery ribs, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 fresh bay leaf
2 teaspoons chopped thyme
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1 pound Great Northern beans, soaked overnight and drained
10 cups chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring, until browned and crisp, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving the fat and bacon separately.

Heat the olive oil in the soup pot. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf and 1 teaspoon each of the chopped thyme and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the drained beans, stock and 3 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and bring to a boil. Simmer the soup over moderately low heat until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining thyme and rosemary. Season the soup with salt and pepper and transfer to shallow bowls. Garnish the soup with the bacon and serve.

Baked Cauliflower with Cheddar

4 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 medium head cauliflower)
8 ounces sour cream
1 cup coarsely grated mild white cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 350° and butter a shallow 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Blanch the cauliflower until just tender, 4 minutes. Drain in a colander.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, sour cream, half the cheese, paprika, thyme, salt and red pepper. Transfer the mixture to the prepared dish and sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the top is lightly browned. Serve immediately.

Pork Schnitzel with Warm Potato Salad

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for frying
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound small fingerling potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs beaten with
2 tablespoons of water
2 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Four 4-ounce boneless pork chops, butterflied and pounded 1/3 inch thick, or eight 2-ounce pork cutlets, lightly pounded
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, patted thoroughly dry

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar with the sugar, thyme and 1/4 cup of the oil and season with salt and pepper.

Put the potatoes and garlic in a pot and cover with water; season with salt and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are tender, 10 minutes. Drain and thinly slice the potatoes; add to the dressing and toss. Discard the garlic.

Put the flour, eggs and panko in 3 separate shallow bowls. Season the pork with salt and pepper and dip in the flour. Dip the cutlets in the egg and then in the panko, pressing to help the crumbs adhere.

In a large skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Add the cutlets in a single layer and cook over high heat, turning once, until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Add the parsley to the skillet and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the parsley to a paper towel–lined plate and sprinkle with salt. Serve the pork with the potato salad. Garnish with the parsley.

Smacked Zucchini Salad With Chile Oil & Black Vinegar

4 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon chile crisp (or chile oil with its sediment)
2 teaspoons black vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 large garlic clove, Microplaned or minced
2 zucchinis (totaling at about 12 ounces)
1 pinch kosher or flaky salt (if needed)

Combine the soy sauce, chile crisp, black vinegar, sugar, and garlic in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.

Lay the zucchinis on a cutting board and smack with a rolling pin until they split, like a dropped watermelon at the grocery store. Now chop the smacked zucchinis into bite-size pieces with a knife. Add the zucchini to the bowl with the dressing and toss.

Taste and adjust as needed. Maybe you want the salt, or not. Maybe you want more soy sauce, or chile crisp, or vinegar, or sugar, or garlic. Adjust until it tastes very, very good to you. The longer it sits, the softer the zucchini will get, and the saucier.

Creamy White Beans With ‘Nduja, Kale, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

For the Beans:
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots (4 1/2 ounces; 125g), thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves (10g), thinly sliced
Kosher salt
4 ounces (1/2 cup; 113g) ‘nduja (see note)
3 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium white beans (cannellini or Great Northern), drained and rinsed
1 quart (950ml) homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
1 bunch (8 ounces; 225g) lacinato kale, tough stems removed, leaves cut into 1-inch pieces (see note)
1 tablespoon (15ml) fresh lemon juice (from one lemon; zest finely grated and set aside before juicing fruit)
For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: (optional)
2 tablespoons (30ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (1 1/4 ounces; 35g) panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup (15g) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Finely grated zest from one lemon

For the Beans: In large, straight-sided sauté pan or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallots and garlic, season lightly with salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Add ‘nduja and, using a wooden spoon, break it into pieces and stir vigorously to combine with shallots and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until fat from ‘nduja separates, and shallots and garlic are stained red and fully coated with ‘nduja, 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Add beans. Use wooden spoon to crush roughly 1/4 of the beans against sides and bottom of the pan. Stir until beans are fully incorporated and coated in ‘nduja-shallot mixture.

Add chicken stock, season lightly with salt, and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a creamy, stew-like consistency, with some beans just poking out on the surface, about 15 minutes.

Add kale, and stir to incorporate and very lightly wilt the greens, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice, and season to taste with salt.

For the Gremolata Breadcrumbs: While the beans simmer, combine oil and breadcrumbs in medium skillet, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until toasted and golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add parsley and lemon zest, season lightly with salt, stir to combine, and continue to cook until parsley begins to sizzle and mixture is very fragrant of citrus, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer breadcrumb mixture to small bowl and set aside until you are ready to serve.

For Serving: Divide beans between individual serving bowls and sprinkle with gremolata breadcrumbs. Serve immediately, passing more breadcrumbs at the table.

Cauliflower, Grape, and Cheddar Salad

1 large head cauliflower broken into bite sized florets
6 tablespoons sunflower or other light oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted and roughly crushed
2/3 cup seedless red grapes, halved
3 oz aged Cheddar cheese, coarsely crumbled
2/3 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

Toss the cauliflower florets with half of the oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, stirring once or twice, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

To make the dressing, whisk together the remaining 3 tablespoons oil with the vinegar, mustard, honey and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add the raisins and let them marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Just before serving, transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the hazelnuts, grapes, Cheddar and parsley. Pour the raisins and dressing over the top, toss together, transfer to a large platter, and serve.

Classic Cauliflower Cheese

1 medium to large cauliflower
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Cheese Sauce:
4 Tbsp butter salted or unsalted
3-4 Tbsp all purpose flour *see Notes
1 cup milk at least 2% b.f.
1 cup whipping cream 35% b.f. ** see Notes
2 cups aged cheddar cheese grated, well packed
Pinch nutmeg grated or powdered
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425F.

Prepare and roast the cauliflower: Remove the stem leaves and core from the cauliflower and break off the florets into large chunks. (Not sure how to cut the cauliflower? Try my easy method details in the Cook’s Noes above). If you like, you can cut away most of the stalks and just use the florets or use it stalks and all. Cut the florets into bite-sized pieces, but not too small.

Place the cauliflower in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Scatter onto a baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until tender (test with a knife) and golden in spots. Remove from the oven, set aside and REDUCE THE OVEN TEMPERATURE TO 400F.
Prepare the cheese sauce: Measure out your milk and cream in a 2-cup measuring cup and set aside. Grate your cheese and have ready.

In a large saucepan (you’ll be adding the cauliflower to it later, so make sure it’s big enough), melt the butter oven medium heat.

Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes, or as long as you feel you can without letting it scorch.

Reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low. Pour in a small amount of the cream/milk and whisk until a smooth paste forms.

Add the remaining milk a bit at a time and whisk until smooth, until all the milk has been added. Cook sauce over medium-low heat and whisking regularly, until the sauce noticeably thickens.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let stand without stirring for about 2 minutes, then stir together. The cheese should have all melted in to the sauce. If by chance it hasn’t, you can return the pot to the burner over low heat to finish the melting.

Add the nutmeg and stir in. Taste the sauce and add salt and freshly ground pepper, as needed.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the pot with the cheese sauce and stir to completely coat the cauliflower. Spoon the cauliflower cheese mixture into a baking dish large enough to hold it all. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet (to catch any bubble overs).

Place into the preheated 400F and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until bubbly and deep golden on top. Let stand a few minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to set up a bit.

Notes: If using heavy cream, you should be good with 3 Tbsp of flour. If using a lighter cream, whole milk or you’re using cream, but want a thicker sauce, go with the 4 Tbsp of flour.
** Heavy whipping cream will produce the best results, but if you prefer, you could use a lighter cream, such as table cream (18% b.f) or half and half cream (10% b.f.)

Roast the cauliflower just until tender with just a few golden spots. Test it with a knife to be sure it’s tender, then remove. You don’t want to roast all of the moisture out of it.

Add the milk/cream mixture in small increments (a scant 1/4 cup-ish at a time), to ensure a smooth sauce.

Be sure to properly season your dish, starting with seasoning the cauliflower before roasting and ending with tasting and seasoning the cheese sauce at the end of cooking it on the stove-top, to really bring out the flavours.

Turning off the heat under your pot (or removing it from the burner if you have an electric stovetop) immediately after adding the cheese helps to ensure a smooth and creamy sauce, as the cheese is allowed to melt slowly from the residual heat in the sauce.

Sopa de Ajo (Basque Garlic Soup)

4 ounces high-quality baguette
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 garlic head (about 12 cloves), peeled and finely chopped
1 heaping tablespoon Pimentón de la Vera (smoked Spanish paprika)
8 cups homemade or low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 large eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place baguette on a baking sheet, and toast in preheated oven until very browned and almost burnt, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool. Break or slice bread into 2-inch pieces.

Heat 7 tablespoons oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add bread pieces, and reduce heat to medium. Cook, turning often to allow bread to toast and soak up oil, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove bread, and set aside. Wipe pot clean.

Add garlic and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pot. Cook over medium-high, stirring constantly, until garlic is golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in paprika. Add broth and salt; bring to a boil.

Add bread to pot. Reduce heat to medium-low, and maintain a simmer. Add vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally to break up bread, until flavors meld, about 25 minutes. Taste and add more salt, if needed.

When ready to serve, bring soup to a simmer over medium-high. Stirring constantly, slowly pour beaten eggs into hot soup. If any large pieces of bread remain, cut with kitchen scissors, or break apart with a spoon. Serve hot.

Notes: Soup can be prepared through step 4 up to 2 days in advance. Bring to a simmer, and add beaten eggs just before serving.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts and Gnocchi

1 pound brussels sprouts
1 lemon
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 (18-ounce) package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, sliced into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon honey
Freshly grated Parmesan, for serving

Trim and halve the brussels sprouts. Using a vegetable peeler, peel thick strips of lemon zest, then coarsely chop. (You should have about 2 teaspoons chopped zest.)

In a large (preferably 12-inch) skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the brussels sprouts, season with ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper, then arrange the brussels sprouts in an even layer, cut-side down. Scatter the lemon zest over the top and cook, undisturbed, until the brussels sprouts are well browned underneath, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red-pepper flakes, stir and cook until the brussels sprouts are crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high. Break up any gnocchi that are stuck together, add them to the pan and cook, covered and undisturbed, until golden brown on one side, 2 to 4 minutes. Add the butter and honey, season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and cook, stirring, until the butter is golden, nutty smelling and foaming, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the brussels sprouts until warmed through. Serve with grated Parmesan.

Ricotta Dumplings with Peas and Asparagus

2 cups whole-milk ricotta
2 large eggs
Kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large leek, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends removed, cut into 2-inch pieces
2 cups shelled fresh or frozen peas
3 cups pea shoots or leaves, thick stems removed
1/4 cup parsley or mint leaves, for serving
Parmesan or pecorino, for serving

Options: This dish is a truly excellent canvas for anything seasonal (asparagus and peas in the spring, cherry tomatoes in the summer, mushrooms in the fall, squash in the winter), so adjust as you like.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Combine ricotta and eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and, using a large wooden or metal spoon, gently mix in the flour, taking care not to overmix (which could result in tough dumplings).

Meanwhile, heat butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add leeks and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks have softened completely and are starting to pick up some color, 5 to 8 minutes.

Add asparagus and peas to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until asparagus is just tender and bright green, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on its thickness. Remove from heat while you cook the dumplings.

When the water is at a nice steady boil, drop the ricotta mixture into the pot by the heaping spoonful. (The dumplings will expand in the water, so make them slightly smaller than you’d like them to end up.) Be careful not to crowd the pot; cook the dumplings in batches if need be.

Once the dumplings rise to the top, let them boil until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can always pull one out and cut it in half to test its doneness; the texture will go from dense and doughy to light and pillowy.)

As the dumplings finish cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the skillet with the peas and asparagus. Once they’re all in there, give everything a quick toss over medium heat just to evenly coat the dumplings in the buttery sauce. Add pea shoots and toss just to wilt slightly.

Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter and top with parsley, cheese and more olive oil, if you like.

Modern Pasta Alla Norma

Kosher salt
10 ounces mezzi rigatoni or rigatoni
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Black pepper
3 ounces prosciutto, roughly chopped into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced into rings
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 fresno or serrano chile, seeded, if you like, and thinly sliced into rings
1 1/2 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes and their juices
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, finely chopped
1 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and mint
Flaky salt, for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. On a large rimmed sheet pan, toss the eggplant with ¼ cup olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread everything evenly in one layer and roast until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure even browning.

While the eggplant roasts, make your sauce: In a deep, 12-inch skillet, heat the remaining olive oil over medium. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to crisp and brown in spots, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

Add the shallot, garlic and chile to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the shallot has softened and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until they start to burst, pressing the tomatoes gently down with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to help them along, 5 to 7 minutes. You want some of them to collapse and some to maintain their structure. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices and season with salt and pepper. Simmer while the eggplant finishes roasting, about 15 minutes more. If the sauce appears dry, add ¼ cup pasta water.

While you’re making the sauce, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

When the eggplant is done, add it to the tomato sauce and stir to combine. Add the pasta and toss until everything is well coated with sauce, adding more pasta water if needed. Stir in the mozzarella and toss until it begins to melt.

Serve in the skillet or in bowls and top each portion with crispy prosciutto and fresh herbs. Season with flaky salt, if using.

Pasta with Seared Scallops and Cherry Tomatoes

Kosher salt
1 pound linguine fini or other long, thin pasta
1 pound large sea scallops, patted dry
Black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, thinly sliced into rings
1 1/4 pounds Sun Gold, cherry or grape tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped mixed herbs, such as tarragon, mint, parsley and chives, plus more for serving

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaping tablespoons kosher salt to about 7 quarts water) to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1 1/2 cups pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

Season the scallops well on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a 12-inch skillet over high until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, add the scallops (working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, if necessary) and cook until golden brown and crisp, flipping once, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm while you make the sauce.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium. Add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to burst, 5 to 7 minutes. Add about 1/3 cup reserved pasta water and press the tomatoes gently with the back of a spatula or wooden spoon to get them nice and jammy. Stir in the garlic and red-pepper flakes, if using, and cook, allowing the sauce to simmer, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the pasta, 1 ½ cups herbs and ¼ cup reserved pasta water and toss to coat, adding additional pasta water if needed. Divide the pasta among shallow bowls and top with scallops. Garnish with additional herbs and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.