My wife spotted the rust first. “What’s this?” she asked, pointing to the sink. Someone had left the cast iron skillet — a potential family heirloom, mind you — in a puddle of dirty dish water. Someone had neglected it long enough that rust spots dotted the surface. Its lovingly seasoned sheen now looked dull, [...]Read More
Everyone’s got a home cooking hero. Maybe it’s your mother who managed to feed a horde of hungry kids while keeping the house clean, warm and welcoming. Maybe it’s the single dad who can’t cook mac & cheese without burning the bottom – leaving plenty of crunchy bits to fight over – but he somehow gets [...]Read More
We’ve only just started, so this list is short. Here are a few dishes we’ll be making as soon as time, energy and a babe in arms allow. Moroccan chicken with olives and preserved lemons Toasted, garlicky North African (Israeli) couscous Irish beef and stout stew Bananas in brown butter sauce Butcher’s ragu Cranberry-pecan [...]Read More
Our little boy, our joy, our Jude celebrated his first birthday the other day.
Actually, he’s not so little anymore. He’s on the cusp of toddlerhood. In fact, he’s quite good at toddling. He’s been fearless. Where he used to cling to walls, he’s now crashing through the house at every chance. The word “headlong” was meant for this kid. It’s like he can’t wait to grow up, sprinting toward a future unknown to us. We can only load him up with endless bowls of our homemade baby food — and our hopes and dreams, too.
It’s been a life-changing experience having Jude, becoming parents. But not because of the 2 a.m. feedings. Or the 4 a.m. feedings. Or the fact that simply going for a walk now requires the logistical complexity of a military deployment (Stroller? Check. Diaper bag? Check. Jacket, hat and socks? Check… Wait, where’s the sunblock? Retreat, retreat!)
Yes, life is different now. It’s a hundred times more busy, more exhausting, more… laundry. And a thousand times more fascinating and meaningful, too. This is where it counts. Everything you know about being a decent, good, useful human being gets handed down to your child, like those cast iron pans you’ve kept well seasoned. How to tie your shoes. How to say “thank you.” How to make perfectly scrambled eggs (low and slow, son). OK, Jude’s not learning any of this stuff just yet, but I’m an overeager dad.
It’s an enormous responsibility — and a huge privilege — to be a parent. But we simply could not imagine our lives now without our sweet, sweet boy. If you only heard his giggle, a completely infectious, unrestrained thing, you’d understand.
Of course, these warm, fuzzy thoughts don’t usually come to mind at 3 a.m. when he’s screaming to the rafters and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. Nothing. That’s when it really counts.
One of the many things we don’t do anymore as new parents is much traveling. We went everywhere before and after we got married. Paris. Beijing. Florence. New York. Napa. Palm Springs.
We’ll travel again. For now, the nearest we get to any place exotic is our kitchen. Today, we’re in Morocco, making this fabulous braised chicken with green olives and preserved lemons. It’s got all of the familiar spices — cumin, coriander, garlic, saffron and paprika. Paired with toasted, garlicky North African (aka Israeli) couscous and maybe some mint tea, this dish will transport you to the middle of Marrakesh. With or without baby.
Recipe: Braised Moroccan Chicken and Olives (Adapted from Food52)
This is the perfect dinner party dish. Like most braises, you can make this a day ahead and let the flavors improve overnight. The couscous can be done a few hours ahead, too. Serve along with this gorgeous blood orange and fennel salad. Pour some mint tea.
4 tablespoons high-heat oil like grapeseed or safflower, or canola oil
2 1/2 pounds chicken legs and thighs (I like legs with thighs attached)
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2-3 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup green olives, rinsed (Get pitted ones for convenience, although I like the work of eating around the pit, too)
2 preserved lemons, pulp removed; rind cut into thin strips (You can find them at Middle Eastern markets, at some Whole Foods, or try this quick version at home)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat oil in a Dutch oven or other large, deep, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, dry chicken pieces and season generously with salt and pepper. Brown chicken on all sides, in batches. This step may take 20 minutes or more. Remove chicken to a separate plate.
Add onion to the skillet and cook until slightly softened, but not browned. Add ginger, garlic and all spices except saffron and stir together. Return chicken with any juices to the skillet and gently stir to coat with spice mixture. Pour stock into the skillet so that 2/3 of the chicken is submerged. Add the saffron and stir to combine. Bring liquid to a simmer, cover and cook on medium low heat for 20-25 minutes. Add olives and preserved lemons. Cover and cook another 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken and turn heat to high. Cook for another 10 minutes until sauce reduces. (If you’re pressed for time, this step can be skipped entirely.) Stir in the cilantro and adjust seasoning to taste.
Plate chicken with couscous, spooning sauce over the top. Garnish with more cilantro and serve immediately.
Recipe: Toasted, garlicky North African couscous
Also called Israeli couscous, this is the kind with big, fat grains instead of the more common, rice-like stuff. We prefer this larger couscous because it lends itself to so many delicious tweaks. You can turn it into a meal with the addition of roasted veggies, chicken or shrimp.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 cups North African couscous
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water (I usually don’t measure the stock; just pour enough to cover the couscous and a little bit more)
1 teaspoon salt
Small handful of parsley, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until just golden. Add couscous and, stirring constantly, sauté until half of the grains are browned, about 5 minutes.
Add stock and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, stirring once or twice. The couscous is done when it’s tender and the liquid is completely absorbed. Stir in parsley and season with pepper and more salt, if desired. Finish and fluff with a glug of your best olive oil.
Serves 4 as a side dish.4 comments already
This St. Patrick’s Day, you can either:
(A) Squeeze yourself into an “Irish pub” crammed wall-to-wall with drunk people drinking green beer
(B) Drink alone with a bottle of your local liquor store’s finest Irish whiskey
(C) Make this incredibly comforting stew, invite some good friends over, pour pints of Guinness, and eat well until the leprechauns come home.
This St. Patrick’s, I propose you don’t go to a bar unless you’re actually in Ireland. I propose you don’t wear beads or shamrocks. I say you celebrate the occasion with good food, friends and family. I say you don’t drink anything green. Absolutely not this concoction.
Start with some quality stew beef like beef chuck. But not too lean. You’ll want lovely lines of fat well marbled throughout the meat. Add some carrots and potatoes, either Russet or new potatoes. I like to keep my vegetables in big, hearty chunks so they don’t dissolve into mush. I also add them only in the last 75 minutes of the braising. Aromatics like thyme, caraway seeds, bay leaves and garlic round out the flavors. As with most braises, this is wonderful on the first day, but even better on the second.
This St. Paddy’s Day, make this and you won’t need to worry about spilled beer on your shoes. Unless your dinners are a lot more interesting than mine.
Recipe: Irish beef and stout stew
Ironically, it’s entirely possible to dry out the beef even though it’s swimming in liquid the whole time. Make sure you gently simmer rather than go at a full boil, and check the meat after 2 hours. It should be fork tender, but not dry and stringy. Also, if you can plan for it, make this one day ahead to let the meat sit and flavors deepen. Rewarm and serve on the second day.
1/4 cup high-heat oil like grapeseed or safflower
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, roughly diced
6 large garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups beef or chicken stock
1 can of Guinness (14.9 ounces)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon dried or several sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 bay leaves
4 large carrots, cut on the diagonal into large pieces
6-8 small potatoes, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons parsley, minced
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
Pat meat completely dry. Season well with salt and pepper.
Heat a heavy large pot over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add oil and wait until it shimmers. Add beef and sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. You’ll want to do this in batches. Don’t crowd the pan and don’t rush it; this step can take 30 minutes or longer.
Transfer beef to a separate bowl. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Melt butter in pot. Add onion. Cook until somewhat soft, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add stock, Guinness, sugar, thyme, caraway seeds, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves. Return beef and any juices to pot. Stir to combine and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour 15 minutes, gently stirring once or twice.
Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer until beef is very tender, another hour and 15 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Spoon off fat if desired. Dissolve cornstarch in 1/4 cup of warm water. Add to stew and continue cooking uncovered for 15 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
Transfer stew to warmed serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Serves 4.7 comments already
It’s almost impossible for us to finish dinner without indulging in something sweet. It doesn’t need to be complicated. A scoop or two of ice cream (lately, we’ve been loving goat’s milk ice cream). Some mango slices or dark, dense dates. And, if all else fails, we break into our backup supply of terrifically dark chocolate. We are never without chocolate.
But if we have some bananas getting ripe on the kitchen counter and a few minutes to spare, we make this dessert. Really, truly, you can do this at home in 10 minutes. OK, maybe 12. Anyhow, the results are rather spectacular given the amount of effort involved. The bananas here get bathed in a nutty butter sauce until they’re soft and custard-like. The shaved chocolate and cinnamon make them vaguely Mexican and more exotic than simply sauteed bananas. And the creme fraiche, if you choose, adds a pleasant tartness.
You could really go, ahem, bananas with the toppings. Add toasted nuts, coconut flakes or caramel sauce. Or you can keep it dead simple and it will be simply delightful.
Recipe: Bananas sauteed in brown butter sauce
Avoid bananas that are overly ripe with big brown spots on the inside. The best ones have light freckles on the skin, but are still firm to the touch.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium bananas, peeled
Chunk of high-quality bittersweet chocolate
Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream (optional)
Heat saute pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Meanwhile, cut bananas in half lengthwise. Add butter to pan and let it foam. Add cinnamon and swirl pan to incorporate. As soon as the butter begins to brown — you’ll notice a nutty smell — add bananas.
As they cook, tilt the pan and spoon the melted butter over the bananas. The fruit will soak up the golden, buttery goodness. Continue cooking for 4-5 minutes until the bananas are soft but not mushy. They should hold their shape. Take care not to burn them; turn down the heat if necessary.
With a spatula, carefully transfer the bananas to a plate. Try to keep them intact as you do this. While they’re still hot, shave chocolate over bananas with a Microplane zester. Serve immediately with a dollop of creme fraiche.
Serves 2.1 comment
Rain doesn’t come easily to these parts. Southern California, I mean. During the dry months, not so much as a damp-against-your-face fog seems to roll through. In the wet season, such as it is, when clouds gather and suddenly you’re needing to turn on the wipers, you’re a bit shell-shocked. Down to the last driver stuck on the 405 Freeway because there’s a fender bender every few miles. In LA, the visceral reality of actual weather, from the faintest hint of humidity on a hot August night to a tropical downpour of monsoon proportions, drives us all to distraction.
Which is a long way of saying we’ve been cooking up a lot of comfort food of late – roasts, soups, stews and braises. It’s what we do when the days are gray and night falls early. When it feels better to stay cooped up inside, it’s time to get something simmering in our cherished Le Creuset pot.
We love a good ragu. During our honeymoon in Tuscany, we ate many hearty, earthy examples, most often with wild boar. (I imagine there are packs of wild boars circling Florence.) Of course, we ate a lot, period. But those casual piles of pasta, slicked with sauce, felt like the most accessible – the purest – expression of people and place.
At home, when the weather turns wet and often when it’s not, we make this ragu. It’s adapted from a recipe by Mario Batali, simplified with fewer ingredients but sacrificing none of its homey goodness. You’ll be amazed at how an onion, a carrot, a pound of beef and some milk can come together to create something so soulful and satisfying.
Recipe: Butcher’s Ragu (adapted from Mario Batali)
Don’t cheat on the milk here. Go full fat and put in the full cup. It’s what gives this sauce its roundness and richness. I also love that you need just one of nearly every ingredient. Easy to remember, easy to shop for, easy to make.
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium carrot, diced
1 medium celery rib, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
4 oz pancetta or bacon, diced
1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
1 pound fusili or penne pasta
Fresh pecorino cheese, for serving
Heat oil in a dutch oven. Add carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Add pancetta and ground beef. Cook for another 8 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook over low heat until meat looks shiny, about 10 minutes.
Add milk, white wine and water. Simmer on medium low until thick and saucy, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook pasta until al dente. Drain, add to sauce when finished and cook for a few minutes to bring the flavors together. Serve immediately, garnished with a healthy shaving of pecorino.
6 comments already
As a young family with a new baby, we think a lot about traditions. The traditions that each of us grew up with and the traditions we want to create on our own and the things that become traditions by accident or laziness.
Not surprisingly, most of our family’s traditions take place at the dinner table. Our family dinner is a nightly ritual we almost never skip, and one that we expect our kids to suffer through until they’re out of the house for good. Sunday suppers is another one that gives us the chance to while away the hours together, puttering around the kitchen, tending to a roast or baking a cake.
For years, I whipped up an all-American spread for my Vietnamese family at every Thanksgiving and Christmas. My cousins and I made a meal worthy of a Norman Rockwell painting – roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and pumpkin pie. OK, so the stuffing came from Stove Top, the gravy from a mix and the pumpkin pie recipe from the back of the can. But it was our tradition. Beside the bird, we always had a Vietnamese dish or two, maybe fried rice or green papaya salad with shrimp. The next day, my grandmother would take the turkey leftovers and turn them into an Asian-style stir-fry.
More recently, we’ve started making this incredible and incredibly easy cranberry-pecan tart for the holidays. The recipe comes from the late, great Lever House Restaurant in New York City, a gorgeous dining room located in one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century. The cookbook itself is a beautiful piece of work. Despite the high-rent fare, most of the dishes don’t require a lot of ingredients. Just the best ones.
When you make this tart, you’ll see why it’s become our very favorite holiday dish. It’s a brilliant update on the standard pecan pie. Instead of gooey, sickening sweetness, you get pecans that actually taste like pecans, balanced perfectly by fresh, tart cranberries. The caramel smells and tastes like childhood. And it just looks like Christmas, all browns and reds.
It could easily become a tradition for your own famished family.
Recipe: Cranberry-pecan tart (adapted from The Lever House Cookbook)
Although you can use frozen or fresh cranberries here, we’ve always gone with fresh. Whatever you do, don’t substitute for the canned stuff. Reserve that for your cranberry relish.
14 tablespoons (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ cup almond flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon salt
9 ounces pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (about 2 ½ cups)
Combine butter and confectioner’s sugar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until it has the soft consistency of shortbread cookie dough. Add the egg. Once incorporated, add the flours and mix until just combined. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and chill for about 30 minutes, until firm.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. You want a 12-inch circle about ¼ inch thick. Lay it inside a 10 ½-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the edges evenly into the sides of the pan and trim off excess dough. Chill for at least another 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork. Bake until almost completely cooked, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the caramel: In a small pot, add the granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until the mixture looks like wet sand. Heat over a medium flame until the sugar melts into a syrup, about 5-7 minutes. Keep cooking until the sugar begins bubbling and turns a medium amber color. Be careful not to burn it – don’t be tempted to step away at this point! Once the syrup reaches the right color, immediately take the pot off the heat and slowly add the cream, a bit at a time. It will sputter and steam, so watch out. When the bubbling has died down, put the pot back on the burner and bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring often. Don’t be alarmed if the sauce is clumped together. The caramel will melt as it heats up again.
Remove the caramel from the heat and combine with the cranberries, salt and pecans in a separate bowl. Mix thoroughly to get the caramel sauce evenly distributed.
Spoon the filling into the prepared tart shell. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the filling has set slightly and the cranberries have begun to pop. If you overcook it, the cranberries shrivel too much. Serve the tart warm with maple or vanilla ice cream, or crème fraiche.2 comments already
Nothing signifies the holiday season more to me than the smells, especially the baking kind — cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, browned butter and caramel. In my dreams there would be an apple pie warming in the oven every night until Christmas. Instead, it’s Chinese takeout before getting back to business, hunched over our laptops until our brains begin to melt.
But there’s one way to fill the house with the autumnal aromas of spice and fruit — with ten times less effort. These roasted apples. They’re outrageously simple yet elegant in their own way. You don’t need to peel or even core them. They come out of the oven with a pudding-like texture and a brown-butter sauce shot through with bourbon. Pair them with cinnamon ice cream or pumpkin gelato like we did, and you may swear off making apple pie forever.
These would also make a superb dessert for a potluck Thanksgiving. Make them ahead of time and reheat when you get to the party. Don’t say a word about how little effort you actually put into them. It will be our little secret.
Recipe: Roast apples with bourbon-butter sauce
You’ll want to use real vanilla bean here. They’re a bit expensive but they’re so much more aromatic than vanilla extract. Trust me, you’ll appreciate the difference.
6-8 baking apples, such as Jonathan, Braeburn, Empire, Rome, Macintosh or Pink Lady (or Granny Apple if you can’t find any of these)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons bourbon or brandy (optional)
1 vanilla bean
4 tablespoons (half stick) unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut apples in half from stem to base. Core them if you want an easier time of eating them; otherwise leave them intact for a lovely presentation. Toss apples in a large bowl with sugars, spices, salt and bourbon. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large cast iron pan over medium heat. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap the seeds and pulp into the butter. Add the empty vanilla pod to the pan. Continue cooking until the butter turns light brown and smells nutty — be careful not to let it burn (adjust heat if necessary). Discard vanilla pod.
Add the apples to the pan, cut side up, in a single layer. Pour remaining sugar mixture evenly over the apples. Bake for 30-45 minutes, basting them every 10 minutes with the juices. They’re done when the centers are tender and caramelized. If you want a firmer texture, take them out closer to the half hour.
Serve immediately with ice cream or creme fraiche. Or let them cool and reheat later.
Serves 6.2 comments already
This is a story about making mushroom risotto in just 30 minutes. With intermissions. A lot of them. It’s a comedy, of sorts. And a bit of a tragedy.
Me (husband, dad, man with a pan): What do you want for lunch?
Kristen (wife, mother, self-professed picky eater): Dunno.
Me: Hmmm… how about a salad?
K: It’s too cold for salad. But definitely something vegetarian. We haven’t had vegetables lately.
Me: We had eggplant pasta last night.
K: There were little bits of eggplant. More veggies please.
Me: How about those nice chanterelles we got the other day? Pasta with chanterelles?
K: More pasta?
Me: OK… Let’s see. How about risotto with chanterelles?
K: Yum! Can you make it fast, though? The baby’s gonna wake up soon.
Me (already sharpening my knife): I can make it in half an hour.
Within minutes, I’ve got my chanterelles sliced, my shallots minced and all of it sizzling in my Le Creuset. Next, the rice. It needs to brown before adding broth.
K: You hear that?
Me: Ugh, it’s the baby. He’s awake.
K: He’s got impeccable timing. He’s going to be hungry. Can you feed him?
Me: What about the risotto?
K: It can wait.
K: Baby comes first.
Me (leaving the stove): Alright, alright.
For the next 30 minutes, the baby happily makes a ginormous mess of things, a puree of carrot, avocado and brown rice on his face, on the chair, on me. Meanwhile, the risotto is off the burner, getting lumpy.
Me (back at the stove): I think I can save this. Just need more broth.
K: Honey, I think he’s got a diaper.
K: Can you change him?
Me (leaving the stove): Ugh.
Another round of fussing with the baby, a new diaper, and a new change of clothes on account of the feeding. Meanwhile, the risotto sits, and sits.
Me: (back at the stove): This looks terrible. The rice is soggy. It’s ruined!
K: I’ll eat it anyway. I’m starving.
Me: Can we feed it to the baby instead?
K: (No response)
In the end, the dish didn’t quite turn out as badly as it looked. Nothing a little more broth and a hefty shaving of Parmesan couldn’t fix. When we finally sat down to eat, we popped a bottle of Champagne just because we had it in the fridge. Actually, it was Prosecco – an Italian sparkling wine for our Italian lunch. Here’s to life – and cooking – with a baby.
Recipe: Mushroom risotto (adapted from John Gottfried of Gourmet Garage, via Saveur)
Yes, you can make this dish in 30 minutes flat – sans baby. Perhaps because it’s a quick-cooking risotto, this wasn’t quite as creamy as others we’ve tasted before. Really, it’s a small price to pay. Go heavy on the cheese to compensate.
3 cups chicken stock (we found you need slightly more stock, maybe 4 cups)
4 tablespoon high-quality salted butter
2 minced, peeled shallots
4 cups cleaned chanterelles, sliced thinly
(we added some crimini mushrooms as well; feel free to use regular brown mushrooms, which are much cheaper than chanterelles but not as flavorful)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup short-grain rice like arborio
1/2 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano
Small bunch of chives, minced (for garnish, optional)
Bring stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to low to maintain simmer.
Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a bowl.
Melt remaining butter in the same pot over medium heat, add rice, and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the hot stock and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is almost absorbed. Keep adding stock, about 3/4 cup at a time, stirring frequently, until rice is tender but firm to the bite and mixture is creamy (but not soupy), about 25 minutes. Add mushrooms just before using the last of the stock. Stir in cheese, adjust seasonings, garnish with chives, and serve immediately.
Serves 2 hungry adults, or 4 with a salad.13 comments already
Shrimp are one of the most forgiving proteins you can cook. You’re not likely to undercook or overcook them. They finish in a flash, turning bright pink within minutes. Basically, they’ve got a built-it indicator to let you know when they’re done. And if you buy them pre-peeled at the supermarket, you can use them without any prep at all.
So, shrimp make for a perfect weeknight meal. You can have them countless ways — stir-fried in the Asian way, with loads of garlic and white wine for an Italian taste, or plump and plain with cocktail sauce. But I didn’t think to actually roast them until I came across Melissa Clark’s recipe in the New York Times a couple of years ago. She combines broccoli and shrimp with spices, and throws the whole thing in a hot oven. It’s done in 30 minutes. Easy peasy.
Funny enough, despite years of thinking about it, I didn’t make this dish until a couple of nights ago when my wife came home with some fine-looking specimens, and we had a couple heads of — you guessed it — broccoli in our CSA box. But Kristen wasn’t so sure about roasting the little guys.
“It sounds dry,” she said.
I had to convince her that it wasn’t anything some olive oil couldn’t solve, as it usually does for any dish. They turned out beautifully. On a chilly night in LA, this made for a quick and tasty dinner. I’ve always loved roasted broccoli. Add some juicy shrimp, fragrant with Middle Eastern spices like cumin and coriander, and it’s a winner you’ll come back to again and again.
Recipe: Roasted broccoli and shrimp (adapted from Melissa Clark)
Not only does this dish come together super fast, you’ll only dirty one baking sheet and a bowl (and maybe a small pot if you add rice). Make sure to spice with a generous hand here. If you can’t actually smell the cumin and coriander as you’re making this, add more.
2 pounds broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
5 tablespoons (about 1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 heaping teaspoon ground coriander
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon hot chili powder
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined (I like my shrimp with tails intact because they look prettier and they taste better that way)
zest from 1 large lemon
lemon wedges, for spritzing
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a large baking sheet, toss the broccoli with 3 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. Mix well with your hands (I love getting dirty in this way) and spread broccoli in a single layer.
In a bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Roast broccoli for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss gently with broccoli (hands, people, hands). If the broccoli looks a bit dry at this point, add a couple glugs of olive oil to moisten things up. Roast for another 10 minutes, tossing once halfway through, until the shrimp are just pink and broccoli is tender and begins to brown around the edges. Squeeze lemon juice over shrimp and broccoli just before serving. Add on top of rice if you so desire.
10 comments already