By Genevieve Ko, The New York Times
Hello, friends, and happy cooking. I’m filling in for Emily this week and feeling excited about being in the kitchen again after trying Naz Deravian’s abdoogh khiar, a chilled buttermilk-yogurt soup with cucumbers, walnuts, raisins and herbs. It’s fun to have something new for dinner, especially when it requires so little work (and no stovetop time).
As our recipe tester Kayla Hoang noted, “This is the soup that I didn’t know I needed in my life.” I feel the same. It fulfills all the high-summer cravings: refreshing yet fortifying, bursting with tang and packed with satisfying crunchy bites. Other cold dishes also hit those marks, like the ceviche below, watermelon salad and vegetable tabbouleh.
It’s nice to get punchy flavors from the grill, too. On busy days, the ideal recipes are the ones that don’t require shuttling between the kitchen and yard — or any marinating in advance. On even more hectic days, stir-fries are always the answer.
But it’s summer and time for a break from busyness, even with meal prep. All the dishes below keep especially well in the fridge, so you can enjoy a little thrill of a lunch the next day with almost no effort.
1. Abdoogh Khiar (Chilled Buttermilk Cucumber Soup)
This beautiful and simple classic Iranian cold soup is destined for those hot summer days when all you want to do is pull up a chair inside the fridge. Doogh refers to the buttermilk that comes from the process of churning yogurt butter, but this dish is often prepared with a mixture of yogurt and water. Here, tangy, creamy buttermilk is blended with plain yogurt for a soup with extra body. An array of cooling, crunchy, sweet and savory ingredients are then added to the base, along with herbs and spices for a refreshing, satisfying meal.
By: Naz Deravian
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Total time: 15 minutes, plus chilling
- 1 teaspoon dried edible Damask rose petals (optional; see Tip)
- 2 cups buttermilk, plus more if desired
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 3 Persian cucumbers (7 ounces), cut into 1/4-inch pieces, plus more for garnish
- 1/3 cup golden or black raisins, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup walnut halves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
- 1/4 cup finely chopped chives or green onion
- 1 teaspoon dried mint, plus more for garnish
- 1/2 lavash rectangle or 1 large slice bread of choice (such as sourdough)
- 4 ice cubes
- Fresh mint leaves, for garnish
1. If using dried rose, crumble a few petals coarsely for garnish and set aside. Place the rest on a cutting board and chop as finely as possible.
2. Place the buttermilk, yogurt and 1 teaspoon salt in a blender and blend until frothy, about 30 seconds, or whisk together in a large bowl until smooth and frothy. If you used a blender, pour the mixture into a large bowl. Add the cucumbers, raisins, walnuts, dill, chives, dried mint and 1/4 teaspoon of the finely chopped rose petals. Stir well to combine and season to taste with more salt. Cover and refrigerate to chill and allow the flavors to come to life, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
3. Just before serving, toast the lavash or bread until crisp but not burned, and break into pieces. Stir the soup to mix. It should be the consistency of a thin, runny soup. If it’s too thick, thin it out with water or more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Keep in mind that you will be adding ice cubes, which will also thin out the soup as they melt. Divide the soup among serving bowls and add the ice cubes. Garnish the top as creatively as you like with crumbled dried rose petals, cucumber, dried mint, dill sprigs, raisins, walnuts and fresh mint leaves. Add the bread pieces right before serving or serve on the side.
Tips: Dried edible Damask rose petals, available in Middle Eastern markets and online, are used in various Iranian dishes as a fragrant and savory spice. They’re worth seeking out, grinding to a powder (whole petals are pretty as a garnish but tough to chew) and adding to your spice cabinet. Feel free to swap out for more of the fresh herbs, as you like.
2. Grilled Chicken With Charred-Scallion Chimichurri
Bright and tangy chimichurri gets a deep smoky hit from charred scallions. This entire weeknight meal is prepared on the grill, taking advantage of tender chicken cutlets that cook up in just 5 minutes. Grilling lettuce brings out its inherent sweetness, and here, romaine gets caramelized on the outside to complement cool, crisp centers. Any leftover scallion chimichurri makes a tasty sandwich spread, or pairs beautifully with roasted salmon or steak.
By: Kay Chun
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 30 minutes
- Vegetable oil, for greasing
- 2 large heads (about 1 1/2 pounds) romaine lettuce, trimmed and quartered
- 12 scallions, trimmed and halved crosswise
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved and pounded 1/4-inch-thick
- 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Lemon wedges, for serving
1. Heat grill to medium-high and lightly grease grates with vegetable oil.
2. Meanwhile, toss romaine and scallions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer and grill, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and softened all over, about 5 minutes for the romaine and scallion greens, and about 10 minutes for the scallion bulbs. Transfer romaine to a large serving platter. Transfer scallions to a cutting board and let cool, then coarsely chop.
3. Rub chicken with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden underneath, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Transfer to a platter.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, prepare the chimichurri: Combine parsley, vinegar, garlic, oregano, red-pepper flakes, chopped grilled scallions and the remaining 3/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Divide chicken and romaine among plates and drizzle with some of the chimichurri. Serve with lemon wedges and extra chimichurri on the side.
3. Cauliflower Ceviche
On the hottest summer days, this is the dish to make because it requires zero cooking. A quick marinade of lemon juice, seaweed and fresh vegetables sets up a flavorful, no-fuss ceviche that tastes like the sea despite having no seafood in it. Store-bought minced or “riced” cauliflower won’t work for this dish. You have to start by grating or mincing a fresh whole head of cauliflower — that extra step will be more than worth the work it requires. ¡Buen provecho!
By: Jocelyn Ramirez
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 45 minutes
- 1 small cauliflower (2 pounds), leaves removed
- 1 serrano chile, seeded and minced
- 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 large lemons), plus lemon wedges for serving
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced nori sheets, nori flakes or granulated kelp
- 1 teaspoon wakame, minced or crushed (optional)
- 1 teaspoon liquid aminos or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, plus more for serving
- Coarse sea salt and black pepper
- 2 ripe medium Hass avocados, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 medium beefsteak tomato, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 1 Persian cucumber or 1/2 English cucumber, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 3/4 cup packed finely chopped cilantro
- 12 corn tostadas or 7 ounces tortilla chips (about 10 cups), for serving
1. Grate the cauliflower against the large holes of a grater, rotating to grate all the florets and stopping at the core. Alternatively, cut off the florets then mince with a knife or pulse in a food processor until it resembles a riced texture.
2. Transfer the cauliflower to a large bowl and add the serrano chile, lemon juice, olive oil, nori, wakame, liquid aminos and hot sauce. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Season again to taste; it should be slightly salty. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.
3. When ready to serve, add the avocados, tomato, cucumber and cilantro, and mix well. Taste for salt and adjust as needed. Serve over tostadas or with tortilla chips, with lemon wedges, salt and hot sauce.
4. Grilled Salmon Escabeche
This recipe yields both tender salmon and crisp skin, while also solving for salmon’s tendency to stick and fall apart on the grill. First, cooking the salmon skin-side down the whole time protects its delicate flesh from the intense heat and gets the skin so browned that it minimizes sticking. Then, once it’s cooked most of the way through, the fish is transferred to a dish of quick-pickled fennel. Just the flesh is submerged in the brine so it cooks, while the skin above the liquid remains potato-chip crisp. This utilizes the age-old technique of escabeche, in which fish, meat or vegetables “cook” in a sauce of vinegar, oil and seasonings. Feel free to add coriander seeds, onion or other flavorings you like in your pickled vegetables. Serve the salmon and fennel with grilled bread, boiled potatoes, a salad or mayonnaise.
By: Ali Slagle
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 15 minutes, plus grill heating
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 4 limes)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 medium fennel bulb, bulb and stalks thinly sliced, fronds chopped (about 8 ounces)
- 4 fresh thyme or oregano sprigs or bay leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt and black pepper
1. Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking over medium-high heat by pouring the coals onto one half of the grill. For a gas grill, heat all of the burners to medium-high, then turn off one of the end burners before cooking.
2. While the grill heats, pat the salmon dry, and set aside to air-dry. In a metal 3-quart dish (like a 9-by-13-inch pan), large (12-inch) oven-safe skillet or a disposable aluminum pan, stir together the lime juice, vinegar, oil and sugar. Add the fennel, thyme and garlic. Season generously with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
3. When your grates are heating (or on a gas grill, when your grill is nearing temperature), put the dish over indirect heat (where there aren’t any coals or where the burner is turned off). Cover the grill and let the fennel mixture warm until the grill reaches temperature, about 5 minutes.
4. When you’re ready to grill, season the salmon all over with salt and lightly coat with olive oil. Take the salmon, a tightly folded paper towel soaked with olive oil, a fish spatula and a rimmed baking sheet to the grill. Using gloved hands, transfer the dish of pickled fennel to the baking sheet (or another heat-safe surface, like concrete).
5. Clean the grates with a grill brush, then oil the grates with the paper towel. Add the salmon skin-side down over direct heat (above the flame). Cover the grill and cook until the skin is browned and releases easily from the grates and the flesh is opaque three-quarters of the way up the sides, 3 to 6 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish. Check the fish often and move it around the fire to avoid flare-ups.
6. As the fish finishes, nestle it skin-side up among the pickled fennel. Let sit for 5 minutes or up to 30, until the fish is cooked through. Eat with the pickled fennel. Leftovers can be refrigerated and eaten cold or at room temperature the next day. (Remove the skin as it will be soggy at this point.)
Tips: Medium-high is 375 to 450 degrees. You should be able to hold your hand 4 to 5 inches above the grates for 4 to 5 seconds.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
Source: Read Full Article