Everyday Dorie by Dorie Greenspan, EPUB, 0544826981

  • Print Length: 368 Pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2018
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0544826981
  • ISBN-13: 978-0544826984
  • File Format: EPUB

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Copyright © 2018 by Dorie Greenspan

Photographs © 2018 by Ellen Silverman

All rights reserved.

For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to [email protected] or to Permissions, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 3 Park Avenue, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10016.

hmhco.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Greenspan, Dorie, author. | Silverman, Ellen, photographer.

Title: Everyday Dorie : the way I cook / Dorie Greenspan ; photographs by Ellen Silverman.

Description: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018. | “A Rux Martin Book.”

Identifiers: LCCN 2017061484 (print) | LCCN 2018020409 (ebook) | ISBN 9780544835450 (ebook) | ISBN 9780544826984 (paper over board) | ISBN 9781328633521 (special ed)

Subjects: LCSH: Cooking. | LCGFT: Cookbooks.

Classification: LCC TX714 (ebook) | LCC TX714 .G75224 2018 (print) | DDC641.5 — dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017061484

Book design by Melissa Lotfy

Food styling by Nora Singley

Prop styling by Ayesha Patel

v2.1018

 

 

For Linling and Joshua

Love. Always.

 

 

Acknowledgments

 

Writing cookbooks makes me happy. Acknowledging the people who help me do that makes me even happier. And thanking the people who have been at my side book after book makes me happiest of all.

 

My cookbook family includes Rux Martin, my editor; David Black, my agent; Judith Sutton, my copy editor; and Mary Dodd, my recipe tester. It still seems unfathomable to me that I’ve been lucky enough to have them in my life for so long. My work shows the marks of their intelligence, talent, energy, creativity and commitment, and I’m richer for having them in my life as friends. I love you.

 

Once again, as she did for Dorie’s Cookies, Melissa Lotfy has designed a beautiful cookbook. The extraordinarily lovely pictures are the work of Ellen Silverman, photographer; Nora Singley, food stylist; Ayesha Patel, prop stylist; and their assistants, Gigi de la Torre, Dylan Going and Joan Danahy, who pushed and pushed and never stopped until they had the perfect image. It was inspiring to be in the studio with you.

 

Making a cookbook is a project with many parts, and I was glad to have Jennifer Herrera of the David Black Agency help sort them out for me. The team at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is so good at cookbookery that they make it seem easy. Thank you, Sarah Kwak, for your patience and knowledge; Jamie Selzer, for having a sharp eye for errors; and Crystal Paquette, for watching over the printing. Special thanks to Jacinta Monniere, who has the talent of a mind reader when it comes to deciphering a manuscript’s hieroglyphics. Extra thanks to Jessica Gilo, Houghton’s marketing genie — it’s a joy to work with you.

 

It makes me so happy that, once again, I get to thank Carrie Bachman, the best cookbook publicist in the biz, as well as Breanne Sommer, of HMH’s culinary publicity team, for helping to bring this book to cooks across the country. And a toast to my Monday night Riesling pal, Ellen Madere, for advice both generous and good.

 

Joe Yonan, editor, and Bonnie Benwick, deputy editor, at the Washington Post Food section, made a place for me at their table and, for two years, encouraged me to write the Everyday Dorie column. Special thanks to Becky Krystal and Kara Elder, for helping so much during that time.

 

Thank you, Jake Silverstein, editor, and Jessica Lustig, deputy editor, at the New York Times Magazine, for inviting me to write the On Dessert column. And more thanks to Jessica for knowing that Sasha Weiss would be the perfect editor for me.

 

It is impossible to underestimate what my family means to me and to my work. They are a part of everything I do, my wisest advisers, my best critics and my strongest cheerleaders. I may have written a baker’s dozen of cookbooks, but I don’t know where to begin to write how much I love you and how much your love means to me. Thank you, Joshua Greenspan, Linling Tao and Michael — the wonderful, wonderful Michael Greenspan.

 

 

Contents

 

Introduction

Nibbles, Starters & Small Meals

Soups & Salads

Chicken

Meat

Fish & Shellfish

Vegetable Go-Alongs & Go-Alones

Desserts

Basics & Transformers

A Pantry Alphabet

Index

About the Author

Connect with HMH

 

 

Introduction

 

The recipes in this book are for the food I make all the time. It’s the food of weekdays and weekends, of dinners for two and meals for a crowd. It’s the food I make in Paris, where I’ve lived part of the year every year for more than twenty years. It’s food from New York City and rural Connecticut, my two hometowns. It’s food from supermarkets and from farmers’ markets wherever I can find them. But no matter where I am, it’s food from the pantry and fridge.

 

These recipes, most of which are simple, none of which needs skills beyond basic, turn out dishes that are comforting, satisfying and inviting. I’ve often said that my favorite kind of food is “elbows-on-the-table” — meals that are casual, put people at ease, can sometimes be eaten with your fingers and always encourage guests to linger, sharing stories and passing second helpings. It’s the way I like to feed my family and friends.

 

Whenever I’m cooking, I try to sneak in a little surprise. I love it when there’s something unexpected in a dish, especially when it’s one we think we know well. The first time I put walnuts and oats in meatballs on a whim and served them to some friends accustomed to their grandmother’s Sunday-sauce version, it didn’t go unnoticed. People perked up when I put strong mustard in the normally mild, cheesy gougères I always pass before dinner parties. And when I decided to stuff boxy bell peppers with cherry tomatoes and roast them until they were jammy and lightly charred, everyone adored the look of the dish, and no one could guess that what sharpened the flavors were anchovies, cooked until they just about melted into the bread crumbs I’d put in the bottoms of the peppers.

 

Since I’m an exceedingly practical cook and like to use what I’ve got on hand, I often change a dish on the spur of the moment because I’ve found an odd measure of something in the refrigerator, or a leftover from a different dinner. That’s how cranberries ended up in the Subtly Spicy, Softly Hot, Slightly Sweet Beef Stew — it turns out their distinctive tang is great with the Korean bottled sauce gochujang, the stew’s offbeat seasoner. Mushrooms languishing in the vegetable bin made my regular burger so powerfully flavorful that I call it the Umami Burger.

 

I’ve constructed my recipes so that you’ll be able to cook this way too. Whenever you see “Choices” or “Playing Around,” you’ll find ways to riff on a dish so that it will fit into the meal you’ve got in mind or will let you work with what you might already have in the house. I figure that, like me, when you’re ready to cook, you’re ready to eat, not shop for a missing ingredient.

 

If you’re a seasoned home cook, you may be comfortable swapping ingredients. You may think, perhaps, that making the Warm Squid Salad with the shrimp you’ve got in the freezer is a good idea (and it is). Or you may want to substitute pork in the Ponzu Chicken, also a good idea. Or skip the scallops in the Twice-Flavored Scallops and use salmon or swordfish or even eggplant instead — they’re all great with my favorite transformer, Lemon “Goop,” which you swipe over everything while it’s hot.

 

I also help you work ahead. I feel like a master of the universe when I can pull a dish together quickly because I’ve done bits of it in advance — or even gotten the whole thing cooked a few days before. Cooking ahead is obvious when stew’s on the menu; it’s less obvious but just as helpful when you want to set out a bunch of small dishes for a cocktail party, a string of starters that will make an elegant small meal or a tasty and glamorous dish, like the Lower East Side Brunch Tart — I stockpile crusts in the freezer, so whipping it up is a ten-minute construction job.

 

And just because something is in the starters chapter or found among my favorite vegetable recipes doesn’t mean you can’t serve it as a main course. If you decide to make the Potato Tourte and call it dinner (I have, many times) or stitch together a meal out of what some would call appetizers, I’ll applaud you. I’m a mixer-and-matcher, a play-arounder, a snacker, a nibbler and a picnicker, and you can be too — it’s a fun way to cook, a fun way to eat and a fun way to have friends over.

 

Over the years, cooking food every day in many places for so many different people, I’ve become more easygoing. You’ll see that in my recipes — my food has become simpler, the flavors wider-ranging and my style more spontaneous. If I had a handful of rules when I first started out, most of them have fallen away over time.

 

These days I have only one rule: There must be dessert! Please follow it.

 

Cook, bake, share and enjoy.

 

 

Nibbles, Starters & Small Meals

 

Candied Cocktail Nuts

My Newest Gougères

Carrot-and-Mustard Rillettes

Honey-Mustard Salmon Rillettes

Miso-Salmon Rillettes

French-Asian Salmon Rillettes

Eggplant and Ginger Tartines

Black Bean–Chipotle Dip

Roasted Squash Hummus

Ricotta Spoonable

Pimento Cheese

Double-Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Crab

Western Frittata

Kale and Onion Frittata

Tempura’d Vegetables, Seafood or Even Fruit

Shrimp-Mousse Squash Blossoms

Pepper Poppers

Christiane’s Dinner-Party Terrine

Zucchini and Pine Nut Terrine

Oven-Charred Tomato-Stuffed Peppers

Giverny Tomatoes

Candied Tomato Peel

Poke to Play Around With

Lower East Side Brunch Tart

Tomato Tart with Mustard and Ricotta

Mushroom-Bacon Galette

Caramelized Onion Galette with Parm Cream

 

 

Candied Cocktail nuts

 

Makes 4 servings

I rarely disagree with Mary Dodd, who tests all my recipes, but we didn’t see eye to eye on this one. I thought the recipe served eight, but she said it served only one. So we settled on four, although the recipe can be multiplied infinitely. And it can be varied. In this rendition, I season the nuts salty, sweet, hot and herbaceous, mixing brown sugar, maple syrup and cinnamon, the sweet stuff, with red pepper for heat and thyme for depth.

a word on multiplication

If you decide to make more than 1 pound of nuts, crisp them on two baking sheets.

 

½ pound (227 grams; about 1½ cups) mixed nuts, such as whole almonds, cashews and walnuts

2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon fleur de sel (or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt), plus more for sprinkling

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper

 

Working Ahead

The nuts can be kept for at least 1 week in a tightly sealed container. If they get sticky, pop them back into a 350-degree-F oven for 5 minutes.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F.

Spread the nuts out on a nonstick baking sheet (or use a sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat), scatter over the thyme and roast for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put all the other ingredients in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter melts and the mixture is smooth. You won’t have much liquid, but it will be all that you need.

Add the warm nuts to the saucepan and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until they are coated with the mix. Return the nuts to the baking sheet, spreading them out — they won’t bake well if they’re in clumps.

Bake for 10 minutes, stirring and turning the nuts after 5 minutes. If you want more color, bake for another 5 minutes or so. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and allow the nuts to cool completely before sprinkling with more fleur de sel (or sea salt).

Playing Around

Think about swapping the thyme for rosemary (or even a little lavender), or going more exotic and adding curry powder, smoked paprika, ras el hanout or garam masala to the spice blend.

 

 

Candied Cocktail Nuts

 

 

My Newest Gougères

 

Makes about 55 small gougères or about 35 larger ones

Gougères are French cheese puffs made with a classic dough called pâte à choux (the dough used for cream puffs), and it’s a testament to their goodness that I’m still crazy about them after all these years and after all the thousands — truly, thousands of them — that I’ve baked. Twenty or so years ago, I decided that gougères would be the nibble I’d have ready for guests when they visited. Regulars chez moi have come to expect them.

Since then, I’ve made minor adjustments to the basic technique and more numerous, but equally minor, tweaks to the ingredients. I’ve flirted with different cheeses, among them Mimolette, smoked Gouda and a French sheep’s-milk cheese called Napoleon. I’ve added pepper — black, red and Turkish. I’ve snuck in a few different spices, and once, when I had a black truffle, some shavings. The recipe is welcoming.

This version, one of my current favorites, has a structural tweak: Instead of the usual 5 eggs in the dough, I use 4 plus a white — it makes the puffs just a tad sturdier. In addition, I’ve downsized the puffs, shaping them with a small cookie scoop. And I’ve added Dijon mustard to the mix for zip, and a surprise — walnuts. These changes are small, but gougère lovers will pick up on them immediately.

 

½ cup (120 ml) whole milk

½ cup (120 ml) water

1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 ounces; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces

1¼ teaspoons fine sea salt

1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour

4 large eggs, at room temperature

1 large egg white, at room temperature

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)

2 cups (about 170 grams) coarsely grated cheese, such as Comté, Gruyère and/or sharp cheddar

⅔ cup (80 grams) walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted and chopped

 

Working Ahead

My secret to being able to serve guests gougères on short notice is to keep the scooped puffs in the freezer, ready to bake. Scoop the puffs and freeze them on a parchment-lined baking sheet or cutting board until firm, then pack them airtight. You can bake them straight from the freezer; just give them a couple more minutes of heat.

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat it to 425 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

Bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the flour all at once, lower the heat and immediately start stirring energetically with a heavy spoon or whisk. The dough will form a ball and there’ll be a light film on the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes or so to dry the dough: Dry dough will make puffy puffs.

Turn the dough out into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or work by hand in a large bowl with a wooden spoon and elbow grease). Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one, followed by the white, beating until each one is incorporated before adding the next. The dough may look as though it’s separating or falling apart — just keep going, and by the time the white goes in, the dough will be beautiful. Beat in the mustard, followed by the cheese and walnuts. Give the dough a last mix-through by hand.

Scoop or spoon out the dough, using a small cookie scoop (1½ teaspoons). Or, if you’d like larger puffs, shape them with a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon and drop the dough onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds. (The scooped dough can be frozen on the baking sheets.)

Slide the baking sheets into the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F. Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom. Continue baking until the gougères are puffed, golden and firm enough to pick up, another 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately — these are best directly from the oven.

 

Storing: Although the puffs are best served hot out of the oven, they are still nice (if flatter) at room temperature that same day. If you want to keep baked puffs longer, freeze them and then reheat them in a 350-degree-F oven for a few minutes.

 

 

Carrot-and-Mustard Rillettes

 

Makes 4 servings

Rillettes is a total misnomer for this terrific blend, since the name classically refers to meat, traditionally pork, immersed in fat and cooked almost forever, while these chunky rillettes are made of quickly steamed carrots, cubes of cheese, lots of mustard and just a spoonful of olive oil. Still, this is what they were called at The Bar Room at The Modern, the restaurant at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, and they were my inspiration for this recipe. At The Modern, the rillettes were piled onto a plate-sized piece of lightly toasted rye bread spread with crème fraîche and then cut into slices to be enjoyed with white wine or beer. Comté, a nutty cow’s-milk cheese from the eastern part of France, is the cheese that’s mixed into the carrots at The Modern, and it’s the one that I use most often.

Because I occasionally have crème fraîche on hand but usually don’t, I make a blend of yogurt and mayo flavored with mustard and sometimes speckled with toasted mustard seeds.

You can play with the cheese and bread and with what you spread on the bread, but there’s got to be one constant: the mustard. Use strong, fresh mustard, and use both smooth and grainy. Try to get French Dijon mustard — its flavor is best in this dish.

 

For the rillettes

1 pound (454 grams) carrots, peeled and trimmed

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon caraway seeds, chopped or crushed

2 ounces (57 grams) Comté or other nutty firm cheese (see Playing Around), cut into small cubes

2½ tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard (preferably French)

2½ teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard (preferably French)

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the spread

½ teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)

¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise

2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard (preferably French)

1 teaspoon grainy Dijon mustard (preferably French)

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

For serving

Bread (see Playing Around)

Fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

 

Working Ahead

Both the rillettes and the spread can be made up to 2 days ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

To make the rillettes: Cut the carrots in half the long way, then cut each half in half (so that you have 4 long pieces per carrot) and slice each piece crosswise about ½ inch thick. (If your carrots are slender, you can just cut them lengthwise in half and slice them.) Season the carrots with a little salt and pepper and put them in a steamer basket over (or in) a saucepan of simmering water. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the carrots are crisp-tender — they should retain some of their crunch and be only a bit firmer than the cheese. Spoon the carrots into a bowl and season with ½ teaspoon sea salt, a few turns of the pepper mill, the cumin and the caraway seeds. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Mix the cheese, both mustards and the olive oil into the carrots. Let the rillettes “ripen” at room temperature for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 hours, before tasting for seasoning and serving. (If you want to keep the rillettes for up to 2 days, cover and refrigerate.)

To make the spread: If you’re using the mustard seeds, toss them into a small dry skillet and heat until they’re toasted, about 2 minutes. Turn the seeds out into a bowl, add the mayonnaise, yogurt and both mustards and stir to blend. Taste and season with salt and pepper if you think the spread needs it. (You can use the spread now or cover and refrigerate it for up to 2 days.)

To assemble: Lightly toast whatever bread you’ve chosen and cover the slices with the spread. Top with the rillettes and, if you’d like, scatter over some cilantro. Drizzle over a little olive oil — or don’t — and, if the slices of bread are large, cut into slices. Serve immediately.

 

Choices: The rillettes can be an hors d’oeuvre or, if served with a salad (preferably micro- or baby greens) alongside or on top, a starter. If you’d like to make the dish part of a buffet or nibbles bar, double (or triple or quadruple) the recipe and serve the rillettes and spread in separate bowls, with the toast in a basket and the instructions that it’s DIY.

Playing Around

I’ve made this with Swiss cheese, Gruyère, Emmenthaler and even Havarti, and it’s always been great. I like serving the rillettes on rye, but they’re also delicious on slices of baguette, country bread or a multigrain loaf. You can choose almost any bread as long as it’s got some substance and chew — it’s got to stand up to the carrots and cheese.

 

 

Carrot-and-Mustard Rillettes

 

 

Honey-Mustard Salmon Rillettes

 

Makes 6 servings

For classic salmon rillettes, a spread is made of both smoked and fresh salmon bound with butter, flavored with lemon and only lightly seasoned. This version is zestier than tradition would have it, and the two variations that follow are more unusual, but they’re all perfect as an aperitif nibble (they’re made for white wine and sparklers), a brunch dish or picnic fare. I often double the recipe, keep one batch and spoon the other into a pretty canning jar to bring as a hostess gift.

a word on the salmon duo

This dish doesn’t need to be made with the most expensive salmon, smoked or fresh. If you can buy smoked salmon bits, get them. They’re sometimes cut from the end of the salmon fillet and so they’re a little saltier — taste before you add any more salt to the rillettes. As for the fresh salmon, I’ve had good results using frozen wild Alaskan salmon fillets. If they have skin on them, I put them — still frozen — skin side down in a pot of simmering water for 1 minute, and that’s enough to loosen the skin so that it’s easy to remove. Also, it’s okay to poach the salmon when it’s still slightly frozen — just cook for 3 minutes.

 

2 scallions

1 lemon

½ cup (120 ml) white wine or white vermouth

½ cup (120 ml) water

Fine sea salt

6 to 8 ounces (170 to 227 grams) fresh or frozen salmon fillet, skin and any pin bones removed (see headnote)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon), rinsed and patted dry

Freshly ground pepper

¼ pound (113 grams) smoked salmon, cut into thin strips or small squares

¼ cup (60 ml) mayonnaise

2 tablespoons grainy Dijon mustard (preferably French)

½ teaspoon honey

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, patted dry and finely chopped if large

2 tablespoons minced fresh dill

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Crackers, toast or dark bread, for serving

Minced (or thinly sliced) fresh herbs, for serving (optional)

 

Working Ahead

The rillettes are best when made at least 6 hours ahead, packed into an airtight container and refrigerated. You can poach the fresh (or frozen) salmon up to a day ahead.

Trim the scallions, mince the white and light green parts and set aside. Toss the dark green parts into a medium saucepan, add a thin slice of the lemon, the wine, water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Drop in the salmon and lower the heat so that the liquid just simmers for a minute (3 minutes if the salmon is frozen), then remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

Drain the salmon (discard the cooking liquid) and transfer to a plate; refrigerate for 20 minutes. (You can refrigerate the salmon for up to 1 day; cover it once it has cooled.)

Using a flexible spatula and working in a medium bowl, beat the butter until it’s spreadable. Grate the zest of the lemon over the butter, squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into the bowl and add the reserved minced scallions, the shallot, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Blend thoroughly, then stir in the smoked salmon.

In another bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, mustard, honey and capers. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the bowl and stir in some pepper. Scrape this out over the smoked salmon mixture and blend well.

Remove the poached salmon from the fridge, cut it into bite-sized pieces and gently stir them into the smoked salmon mixture — even if you’re extremely gentle, the salmon will flake and flatten; go with it. Fold in the dill and cilantro, then taste for salt, pepper and lemon juice.

You can serve the rillettes now, but the flavor and texture are better if you pack them into a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Serve with bread or crackers and, if you’d like, put out minced herbs that can be sprinkled over each serving.

 

Storing: The rillettes will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

 

 

Miso-Salmon Rillettes

 

Use the same amounts of fresh and smoked salmon and cook the fresh or frozen salmon as above. Beat 3 tablespoons softened butter until spreadable. Mix in 3 tablespoons white miso, grate over the zest of 1 lemon, squeeze in the juice from half of it and add the minced shallot. Season with a pinch of salt and a little pepper. Blend thoroughly, then stir in both salmons, 3 tablespoons minced mixed herbs (or use cilantro) and a squirt of Sriracha. Taste for salt, pepper and Sriracha.

 

 

French-Asian Salmon Rillettes

 

Use the same amounts of fresh and smoked salmon and cook the salmon as above, adding 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar and a pinch of togarashi or cayenne to the poaching liquid. Mix the butter, lemon zest and half the juice, shallot and minced scallions together as above, and stir in the smoked salmon. In another bowl, mix together ¼ cup mayonnaise, 1 to 2 teaspoons gochujang, the juice from the remaining lemon half and 1 teaspoon seasoned rice vinegar. Add to the smoked salmon and blend well. Add the poached salmon pieces and the cilantro, then taste for salt, togarashi and gochujang.

 

 

Honey-Mustard Salmon Rillettes

 

 

Eggplant and Ginger Tartines

 

Makes 4 tartines

Like many cooks, I often make mid-dish changes either because I discover I don’t have an ingredient I’d planned to use or because I get a spur-of-the-moment hunch that something just might work. Because I’ve been cooking for so long, the tweaks usually work out just fine. But every once in a while, something really works out, which is what happened when I added fresh ginger to this baba ganoush–like dish. While I’d always loved eggplant for its deep, somewhat musky and mysterious flavor, with the addition of ginger, citrusy sumac and pomegranate molasses, I now love it for its lightness and brightness.

The mixture, more airy than dense, can be scooped up with torn pieces of warm pita, crackers or crudités, or it can be spread, thick and luscious, on slabs of bread to make an open-faced sandwich, or what the French call a tartine. I think it shows off its best qualities as a tartine. In addition, serving it as a sandwich allows you to have a little more fun — you can add radishes and pears for cool crunch, pomegranate seeds for acidity and surprise and something green for color and a touch of bitterness.

a word on the slicing and chopping

When it comes to the ginger, don’t be dainty — it’s nice to coarsely chop the ginger, to have it be more chunky than fine. If you have a slicer such as a Benriner, use it for the pears and radishes.

 

For the eggplant spread

2 eggplants (total weight about 3½ pounds; 1½ kg)

¼ cup (60 ml) tahini (stirred well before measuring)

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and/or mint

1 to 2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger (to taste; see headnote)

½ teaspoon ground sumac (optional)

1 lemon

Pinch or two Aleppo pepper, cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes

Hot sauce

Fine sea salt

For the tartines

4 large slices country bread (toasted if you’d like)

Olive oil

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ripe pear, very thinly sliced

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 scallions, white and light green parts only, very thinly sliced

8 radishes, trimmed and very thinly sliced

A small handful of soft lettuce leaves or arugula

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

 

Working Ahead

You can make the spread up to 3 days in advance and keep it covered in the refrigerator. You can cut the pear and sprinkle the slices with lemon juice a couple of hours ahead, and you can slice the radishes and keep them in cold water (drain and pat dry before using); store both the pear and the radishes in the fridge.

To make the spread: Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.

Rinse the eggplants and, using the tip of a small knife, prick them all over. Put them on the baking sheet and roast until they soften and collapse on themselves, 40 to 60 minutes, depending on their size. Leave them on the sheet until they’re just warm or have reached room temperature.

Cut the eggplants in half the long way; if the seeds are large, you can remove them. Scrape the flesh into a bowl and mash it with a fork or snip it with scissors — you’ll have about 2 cups of pulp. (If it looks watery, you might want to spoon it into a strainer and let the excess liquid drain off.) Blend in the tahini and pomegranate molasses, followed by the scallions, cilantro and/or mint, ginger and sumac, if you’re using it. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl and then squeeze in the juice from about half of it. Add the pepper, a couple of shakes of hot sauce and some salt. Stir everything around and then taste — my guess is that you’ll want more lemon juice, but you might want more of other things as well, so tinker. (You can use the spread now or refrigerate it for up to 3 days.)

To make the tartines: Lay out the slices of bread. Brush the top of each one lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Pave the slices of bread with overlapping slices of pear, then sprinkle with lemon juice to keep the fruit from darkening. Spread a thick layer of eggplant over the pears and finish by scattering over the scallions, radishes, greens and pomegranate seeds, if you’re using them. Sprinkle with salt.

To serve, cut the tartines into finger-food-sized strips or, if they’re meant for sit-down eating, serve with forks and sharp knives.

 

 

Eggplant and Ginger Tartines

 

 

Black Bean–Chipotle Dip

 

Makes 4 servings

Never underestimate the delicious convenience of having a few cans of beans in the pantry to add to salads or soups or to toss together for this mix, which I’m calling a dip, even if it might just as rightly be dubbed a salsa. It’s a thick blend of spiced beans that can be as hot and spicy as you’d like. I usually make it fairly mild, so when I say “season to taste,” I mean it.

You can also play around with the texture — if you’d like it chunky, hold back some of the beans to stir into the puree, or add even more beans — and the quantity: The recipe can be doubled or tripled. What I wouldn’t change are the accompaniments — tortilla chips, beer and friends.

 

One 15-ounce (425-gram) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tablespoon hot water

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or to taste

¼ teaspoon chipotle (or other) chile powder, or more to taste

Grated zest and juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, rinsed and patted dry, or more to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, or more to taste

A fat slice of jalapeño, chopped, or more to taste

 

Working Ahead

Covered tightly, the dip will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days; stir and adjust the seasonings before serving.

Put the beans, hot water, cumin, salt and chile powder in a food processor and whir until smooth. Add the lime zest and as much lime juice as you’d like. Taste and add more salt and/or chile powder if you think it needs it. Drop in the onion, cilantro and jalapeño and pulse just a couple of times to incorporate the ingredients (not to finely chop them).

Spoon the dip into a bowl and serve. Or, cover and refrigerate. (The dip can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days.)

If you serve the dip chilled, taste before serving — spices calm down in the refrigerator and so you might want to boost them a little.

 

 

Roasted Squash Hummus

 

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This hummus, made like traditional chickpea hummus but based on roasted acorn squash instead, owes its existence to a gift of za’atar from a friend, a recommendation for a different brand of tahini (Soom, available online) from a second friend, pomegranate molasses from my pantry and a soupçon of zeitgeist — hummus is everywhere! I like this one for its deep, earthy flavor; its vivacity (not a word usually associated with hummus); and its lightness (again unusual). I also love the way it looks — and tastes — swirled over cool yogurt. Of course you can serve the hummus with pita or in a pocket stuffed with roasted vegetables, but I really like it as a dip, when the dippers are crunchy fresh vegetables.

a word on quantity

The amounts of tahini and pomegranate molasses are based on getting about 1 cup of puree from the roasted acorn squash. If you end up with more squash, taste and add more tahini and/or pomegranate molasses as needed.

 

1 small (about 1½ pounds; 680 grams) acorn or butternut squash, scrubbed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for finishing

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Cayenne pepper

½ cup (120 ml) tahini

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 to 2 teaspoons za’atar, or ½ teaspoon dried oregano plus ½ teaspoon dried thyme, or to taste

1 lemon, halved, for finishing and serving

About ⅓ cup (80 ml) plain Greek yogurt, for finishing

2 to 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for finishing

For serving (optional)

Toasted pita wedges or sliced flatbread

Carrot spears

Celery sticks

Endive leaves

 

Working Ahead

You can roast and char the squash up to 1 day ahead; keep it covered in the refrigerator. The hummus can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. It’s best to add the yogurt, oil and pomegranate seeds just before serving, but in a pinch, you can keep the whole thing overnight.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil.

If you’re using acorn squash, cut it in half around its middle. If using butternut, cut it lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings.

Season the tablespoon of oil generously with salt and pepper and sparingly with cayenne. Brush the inside and rim of the squash with the oil, then put the squash skin side up on the baking sheet.

Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, until the squash is easily pierced with a small knife. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and turn the oven to broil.

Cut the squash into wedges or slices and stand them up on their skin sides. Return the sheet to the oven and broil — keeping an eye on the squash — just until it is charred here and there. Figure on about 5 minutes — but keep watching! Remove from the broiler and let cool slightly. (You can roast and char the squash up to 1 day ahead and keep it covered in the refrigerator.)

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh from the skin and into a bowl. Use a fork to mash the squash into a puree; you should have about 1 cup. Stir in the tahini, followed by the pomegranate molasses and za’atar (start with 1 teaspoon) or oregano and thyme. Taste for salt, pepper, cayenne and za’atar, keeping in mind that if you chill the hummus, the cold will tamp down the flavors. If desired — and I always desire — squeeze in the juice from one lemon half. Cut the remaining half into wedges to serve alongside the hummus. (You can cover and refrigerate the hummus for up to 2 days. Taste and season again if needed before serving.)

When you’re ready to serve, put the yogurt in a small serving bowl or on a plate and use the back of a spoon to spread it into a circle. Top with the hummus, leaving a rim of yogurt visible. Run the back of a spoon through the hummus to make a small trough, drizzle some olive oil into it and over the yogurt and scatter over the pomegranate seeds. Serve with the lemon wedges, bread and vegetables, if you’d like.

 

 

Ricotta Spoonable

 

Makes about 2 cups

Take a peek in my fridge, and you’ll find the usual staples — milk, butter, eggs and yogurt, and my favorite plus-one: “ricotta spoonable.” I started making it years ago and I’ve probably never made it the same way twice. It’s a mix of ricotta, lots of chopped herbs, freshly grated lemon zest, olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. It’s simple but special.

I prepare this year-round, changing the herbs according to what I have at hand, but I make it most often in summer, when I’m apt to fill the table with small plates of good stuff, things that don’t need to be eaten in any order and that lend themselves to mixing and matching. Put the spoonable into the mix, and it will match with beet salad, frittata, onion galette, charred peppers and so many other dishes.

a word on the ricotta

If there’s liquid in the container, it’s best to drain the cheese. Line a strainer with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth, place it over a bowl, spoon in the ricotta, pull the cheesecloth around the cheese and weight it with a plate or a can of something. Put it in the refrigerator and let it drain for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.

Alternatively, you can make the spoonable, scrape it into a cheesecloth-lined strainer and refrigerate until needed. Do this, and when you turn out the ricotta, the cheesecloth’s mesh pattern will be visible — it’s pretty.

 

2 cups (492 grams) whole-milk ricotta, drained if there’s liquid (see headnote)

1 large lemon, or more to taste

3 tablespoons minced shallots, rinsed and patted dry

2 scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

About ½ teaspoon fleur de sel or ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

⅓ cup (13 grams) minced mixed fresh herbs, such as dill, parsley, tarragon, thyme, cilantro and/or basil

 

Put the ricotta in a medium bowl. Finely grate the zest of the lemon over it, then halve and squeeze the lemon and blend in the juice. Stir in the shallots, scallions, olive oil, salt and a healthy pinch of pepper. Taste for salt and pepper, then stir in the herbs. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before adjusting for salt, pepper and lemon juice and serving.

 

Choices: A dollop of this on a cracker or sliced baguette makes a good appetizer; more of it on dark bread with roasted tomatoes, charred lemons or sliced cucumbers makes a tartine; and a lot of it stirred into pasta makes a dinner.

Storing: The spoonable is best the day it is made, but you can keep it for up to 2 days tightly covered in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.

 

 

Ricotta Spoonable

 

 

Pimento Cheese

 

Makes about 2 cups

When Mary Dodd, my recipe tester, returned from North Carolina with a mad crush on pimento cheese, along with a can of pimentos, I gave this Southern treasure a try. And I’ll admit to a moment of pride when friends from Chapel Hill declared it “spot on.”

My version is straight-up and simple, a blend of sharp and extra-sharp cheddar, pimentos, mayo, salt and cayenne. (Don’t think that the small amount of cayenne is stingy — its flavor builds as the cheese rests.)

a word on the cheddar and pimentos

I use Cabot cheddar, and for the sharp cheese, I prefer their wax-wrapped Vintage Choice Extra-Sharp Cheddar. However, now that I’m committed to pimento cheese, I often keep bags of shredded cheese in the fridge. As for the pimentos, Mary told me that Roland-brand whole pimentos are the pepper of choice among pimento-cheese connoisseurs, and so I search them out, often online.

 

A generous packed ⅓ cup (113 grams) pimentos

8 ounces (227 grams) extra-sharp cheddar (see headnote)

2 ounces (57 grams) sharp cheddar

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

¼ teaspoon fine sea salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

 

Working Ahead

You can make the pimento cheese up to a week ahead.

Press the pimentos between sheets of paper towels until they are as dry as you can get them and then cut each into a few pieces.

If you’re using block cheese, cut it into small chunks; if the cheese is shredded, you’re good to go.

Put the pimentos in a food processor and pulse just a couple of times to finely chop them. Add both cheeses and pulse to begin chopping them. Add the mayo, salt and cayenne and pulse and process until the mixture has the texture of tiny-curd cottage cheese. Remove the blade and, using a flexible spatula, give the cheese a last turn — the mix might become smoother and more spread-like, and that’s just fine.

Scrape the cheese into a bowl or jar — my favorite is a canning jar or crock; press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cheese if you’re using a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. If you can wait a day, that’s even better: The mixture will pick up punch during that time.

Serve straight from the fridge.

 

Choices: It’s fun to serve the cheese with celery sticks or stuffed into small tomatoes. Not surprisingly, it’s good at brunch and nice with a Bloody Mary. I have it on crackers or bread, use it as a sandwich spread (toppped with slices of tomato and cucumber for crunch) and think it’s great slathered on corn on the cob and really good on a burger.

 

 

Pimento Cheese

 

 

Double-Stuffed Deviled Eggs with Crab

 

Makes 24 egg halves

Because deviled eggs are so easy to make, I rarely order them when I go out. But in Paris, where there are competitions and prizes for the best oeuf mayo, the French version, I’m occasionally tempted. It was at Yves Camdeborde’s L’Avant Comptoir de la Mer, his seafood wine bar a few steps from my apartment, that I gave in to that temptation . . . more than once. Chez Yves, the whites are filled with two separate mixtures: One includes crab and the other is the traditional mashed yolks and mayo.

This recipe is my take on his more elaborate rendition. If you want to come closer to Yves’, add finely diced pieces of avocado (about half a small one) to the crab mixture. Recipes like this are meant to be played with, so fiddle with the spices, maybe adding a little heat to one or both of the fillings. Have fun, but whatever you do, don’t leave out the small bits of apple. Their tartness and crunch are almost as surprising as the crab.

 

12 hard-boiled large eggs (see hard-boiled eggs for a how-to), peeled

About ½ cup (120 ml) plus 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 to 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (preferably French)

Piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

¼ pound (113 grams) lump crabmeat, picked over and patted dry

½ medium Granny Smith apple (don’t peel), cored and finely diced

1 slender scallion, white and light green parts only, finely chopped

Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Snipped fresh chives, for finishing

 

Working Ahead

Deviled eggs are really best served as soon as they’re assembled, but that’s not always practical. You can hard-boil the eggs up to 3 days ahead and peel them when needed. You can make the yolk and crab mixtures about 6 hours ahead of time and keep them covered in the refrigerator. And you can stuff the eggs, then cover and refrigerate them for a few hours before serving.

Cut each egg in half the long way and scoop the yolks into a bowl. Using a fork, mash the yolks with ½ cup of the mayonnaise, a teaspoon of the mustard, a little hot pepper and some salt and ground pepper. The mixture will be soft and loose. Taste for mustard, hot pepper and salt and pepper and set aside for the moment.

Put the crabmeat, apple, scallion, the remaining 3 tablespoons mayonnaise and a squirt or two of lemon juice in another bowl. Toss together gently and season with a little hot pepper; add more mayonnaise, lemon juice and/or some salt if needed.

If you’re not going to serve the deviled eggs immediately, cover the whites, the yolk-mayo and the crab mixture (separately) and pop them into the refrigerator. (The filling — and whites — can be refrigerated for up to 6 hours.)

When you’re ready to serve, arrange the whites on a platter. Divide the crab-mayo mixture among them and top with the yolk mayonnaise. I find it easiest — and prettiest — to put the crab into the whites with a spoon, then make an indentation in the crab and use a small cookie scoop to top with the yolk mixture. Scatter over the chives and serve immediately.

 

 

Western Frittata

 

Makes 6 servings

A frittata is a dish that every cook should know how to make, partly because it’s so delicious, partly because it’s so easy and partly because it’s so versatile — it’s a happy home for tidbits of all sorts. That it can be made ahead and served at room temperature is a bonus. Essentially an omelet that’s cooked for a couple of minutes on the stove and then quickly finished in the oven, a frittata can be made with everything you’d normally put into an omelet, but there’s no folding and crossing your fingers that it all holds together. Because I make frittatas so often, and because they’re always different, depending on what I’ve got on hand, it was hard for me to come up with a “real” recipe. This may sound odd to you now, but a couple of frittatas later, you’ll be saying the same thing (see the Kale and Onion Frittata).

This version takes its inspiration from a diner standard: the Western omelet, sometimes called a Denver. It’s got onions, bell peppers and some minced jalapeño, as well as chile powder and hot sauce. The original has ham, and you can add that — or bacon or pancetta — if you want to. I like sliced tomato and cheese on this and many other frittatas, but you can leave the top bare or go for scallions or leeks, pepper rings or thin rounds of onion.

a word on spring onions

Spring onions (sometimes marketed as Texas onions) look like large scallions. They have scallion-like greens, but their base is a bulb, like a regular onion. Spring onions are milder and sweeter than normal onions. You can substitute scallions — you’ll need three or four for each spring onion — or an onion.

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 Texas spring onion (see headnote), finely chopped or diced, rinsed and patted dry

1 red or green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped or diced

½ jalapeño, finely chopped or diced, or more to taste

Pinch of chile powder

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

8 large eggs

Hot sauce

1 tomato, cut into 6 slices, or 12 cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tablespoons shredded cheddar (yellow or white)

2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)

 

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F.

Pour the oil into a 9-inch cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet and place the pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper and jalapeño, season with the chile powder and some salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are moderately soft, about 5 minutes.

Whisk the eggs together with some salt, pepper and chile powder and as much hot sauce as you’d like — keep in mind that you can always season the frittata with more hot sauce after it’s baked. Pour the eggs over the vegetables in the skillet and stir just to blend, then let the eggs cook, undisturbed, for 2 minutes. Top with the tomato, sprinkle with the cheese, toss on a sprig or two of the thyme, if you’re using it, and slide the pan into the oven.

Bake the frittata for 8 minutes. If you want to serve the frittata in the pan, look at it now. If the sides are puffed and firm, and only the center jiggles a little bit, remove it from the oven (the frittata will continue to cook after it comes from the oven, so as long as you don’t want to unmold it, it’ll be fine). If you want to turn the frittata out onto a plate, let it bake for another 3 to 4 minutes. If you want a little more color, run the frittata under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Transfer the frittata to a rack and let it rest for 10 minutes.

If you are going to unmold the frittata, have a cutting board and a serving platter at hand. Run a flexible heatproof spatula around the edges of the frittata, working the spatula under it a bit as you go. Carefully (the pan is heavy . . . and hot!) turn the pan over onto the cutting board; lift off the pan. If anything sticks, see if you can lift it out of the pan and replace it; if not, forget about it. Turn the frittata onto the serving plate (repositioning any tomatoes that have come loose, as they’re bound to), sprinkle with additional thyme, if desired, and cut into squares or wedges.

Serve the frittata while it’s warm, or allow it to come to room temperature.

 

Storing: The frittata is best the day it is made, but leftovers can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 day.

 

 

Kale and Onion Frittata

 

Instead of the onion, pepper and chile powder, cook ¼ pound kale, trimmed and shredded (or use leaves of baby kale), 3 medium spring onions or other onions, halved and thinly sliced, and 3 garlic cloves, minced, in the oil. Whisk 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard into the eggs, and proceed as directed. You can swap the kale for mustard greens, spinach or chard or add these to the kale. Also think about adding sliced zucchini or mushrooms, chopped bacon or shrimp, or even shreds of leftover chicken or pork — just remember that whatever you put into a frittata has to be cooked first.

 

 

Western Frittata

 

 

Tempura’d Vegetables, Seafood or Even Fruit

 

Makes 4 servings

I’m not sure how authentic this tempura batter is, but I am sure that it’s terrific for everything from fish (think fish and chips) and seafood to vegetables and fruit. It produces a thin, crackle-crisp coating that gives us what we love in fried foods: contrast. This is the batter I use for Shrimp-Mousse Squash Blossoms (see photo, follows) and Pepper Poppers, but I use it more often for tempura’d vegetables, such as mushrooms, string beans and slender wedges of winter squash (pumpkin makes excellent tempura) or fruits like sliced apples, pears and bananas.

The batter gets its lightness from flour, cornstarch and a combination of leaveners: baking powder, baking soda and seltzer. It makes enough to coat 1 pound of vegetables, fish, seafood or fruit (18 to 20 small pieces).

As with everything fried, you need to eat the tempura as soon as it’s ready, so don’t drop in the first bit until you’ve gathered your group together.

 

For the batter

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup (120 ml) seltzer, club soda or sparkling water

For the dipping sauce

½ cup (120 ml) ponzu sauce

1 tablespoon (see Thai sweet chili sauce)

Canola or peanut oil, for deep-frying

Choose one of the following or mix and match, for a total of about 1 pound

1 pound (454 grams) firm vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, celery root and/or winter squash, trimmed as necessary and sliced about ⅛ inch thick

1 pound (454 grams) softer vegetables, such as mushrooms, zucchini, onions and/or bell peppers, trimmed as necessary and sliced about ¼ inch thick

1 pound (454 grams) shrimp, shelled and deveined, or scallops, tough muscle removed

1 pound (454 grams) white fish fillets, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 pound (454 grams) fruit, such as pears, apples, pineapple and/or mango, trimmed as necessary and sliced about ½ inch thick

 

Working Ahead

You can prep the fruits, vegetables and/or fish a few hours ahead and keep them covered in the refrigerator. Take the chill off them by leaving them on the counter while you prepare the batter and bring the oil to temperature. It’s best to mix the batter at the last minute.

To make the batter: Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the seltzer. You’ll have a smooth batter that’s the consistency of heavy cream.

To make the sauce: Mix the ponzu and chili sauce together in a small serving bowl.

To batter and fry: Have chopsticks or a fork and a slotted spoon or small strainer at hand. Line a plate with a double thickness of paper towels.

Pour enough oil into a medium saucepan to come 2 inches up the sides. Attach a deep-frying thermometer to the saucepan or have an instant-read one at hand. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

Drop a few pieces of whatever you’re cooking into the batter, stir them around gently to coat and lift them out (let the excess batter drip back into the bowl), then drop them into the hot oil — don’t crowd the pan. Allow the bits to fry, turning them as needed with chopsticks or a fork, until lightly golden on both sides, 1 to 1½ minutes. Lift them out of the oil with the slotted spoon or strainer, letting the excess oil drip back into the pan, and place them on the paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and blot away excess oil. Continue, always making certain that the oil comes back up to temperature before adding more bits.

Serve immediately, with the dipping sauce.

 

 

Tempura’d Vegetables, Seafood or Even Fruit

 

 

Shrimp-Mousse Squash Blossoms

 

Makes 4 servings

People often complain about a glut of zucchini in their gardens but never about having too many squash blossoms. The blossoms, so beautiful, are a fleeting pleasure. When I can find them in the farmers’ market, I grab them to stuff with this shrimp mousse, slip through tempura batter and fry. The mousse can go into mushrooms — choose medium-sized white ones and pipe or spoon it in — or into peppers, hot or sweet, to become poppers.

The shrimp mousse itself (though “mousse” seems too fancy a name for it) is made with the flick of a button: It’s a food-processor quickie. It’s mixed with minced jalapeño, scallions and herbs, and even though you use just a small spoonful of it for each blossom, it never gets lost — it’s a mousse with moxie.

See the photo.

a word on serving

These have enough flavor to be served with nothing but a sprinkle of flake salt, but if you’d like something more substantial, you can make a ponzu dipping sauce or a mayonnaise; the chipotle cream is also good with them.

 

For the mousse and blossoms

½ pound (227 grams) shrimp (if frozen, thaw and pat dry), peeled and deveined

1 large egg white

1 scallion, white and light green parts only, minced

A slender strip of jalapeño, minced

2 teaspoons minced fresh herbs, such as cilantro, basil and/or parsley

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of grated lime or lemon zest

Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

18 to 20 squash blossoms, the bigger the better

For the tempura batter

5 tablespoons all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

½ cup (120 ml) seltzer, club soda or sparkling water

Canola or peanut oil, for deep-frying

Flake salt, such as Maldon

 

Working Ahead

The mousse can be made up to 2 days ahead, covered and refrigerated. You can fill the blossoms a few hours ahead and keep them in the refrigerator, but it’s best to make the tempura batter at the last minute.

To make the mousse: Put the shrimp and egg white in a food processor and pulse a few times until you have a chunky paste. Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse only a couple of times to incorporate them. (The mousse can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, for up to 2 days.)

To stuff the blossoms: It’s easiest if you scrape the mousse into a piping bag or a zipper-lock plastic bag — push the mousse into a bottom corner of the bag and snip off the tip. Alternatively, you can use a small spoon.

If you’d like, you can reach inside the squash blossoms with tweezers and pull out the tough stamens, but it’s fine if you don’t. Carefully open the blossoms at the top — if they tear, as they most likely will (they’re so fragile), just carry on — and pipe or spoon in a small amount of mousse. Don’t be too generous; the mousse will expand when it’s cooked. (You can refrigerate the blossoms for a few hours now, if it’s more convenient. Leave them on the counter to warm a bit while you make the batter and heat the oil.)

TO BATTER AND FRY THE BLOSSOMS: Whisk together the dry ingredients, then blend in the seltzer. You’ll have a smooth batter that’s the consistency of heavy cream.

Have chopsticks (or a fork) and a slotted spoon or small strainer at hand. Line a plate with a double thickness of paper towels. Pour enough oil into a medium saucepan to come 2 inches up the sides. Attach a deep-frying thermometer to the saucepan or have an instant-read one at hand. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F.

Drop 2 or 3 blossoms into the batter, turn them gently to coat and lift them out (let the excess batter drip back into the bowl), then drop them into the hot oil — don’t crowd the pan. Fry, turning as needed with chopsticks or a fork, until lightly golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Lift them out of the oil with the slotted spoon or strainer, letting the excess oil drip back into the pan, and place them on the paper towels. Cover with more paper towels and blot away excess oil. Continue, always making certain that the oil comes back up to temperature before adding more blossoms.

Serve immediately, with just a light sprinkle of salt.

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To the hundreds of thousands who follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, Dorie Greenspan’s food is powerfully cookable—her recipes instant classics. In Everyday Dorie, she invites readers into her kitchen to savor the dishes that she makes all the time, from Miso-Glazed Salmon to Lemon Goop.

What makes a “Dorie recipe”?

Each one has a small surprise that makes it special. Mustard and walnuts in the cheese puffs. Cherry tomatoes stuffed into red bell peppers and oven-charred. Cannellini beans in cod en papillote. The dishes are practical, made with common ingredients from the supermarket, farmers’ market, or pantry, like Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs, which is both weeknight simple and fine enough for company, and Eton Mess, a beautifully casual dessert of crumbled meringue, fruit, and whipped cream. They are easygoing, providing swaps and substitutions. They invite mixing and matching. Many can be served as dinner, or as a side dish, or as an appetizer, or hot, cold, or room temperature. And every single one is like a best friend in the kitchen, full of Dorie’s infectious love of cooking and her trademark hand-holding directions.

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