Grilled Eggplant, Olive & Tomato Bruschetta Recipe. This is one of those great stand-by appetizers for a summer barbecue that you can pull together quickly when company drops in. You will likely have most of the ingredients, and the flavors can be tailored to suit your taste. Try it with roasted red or yellow peppers, add sundried tomatoes for extra flavor or grill the bread, instead of baking it, for another layer of smokiness. The eggplant-tomato topping is also delicious spooned over grilled meats.
Serves 8 (makes 16)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
16 ½ -inch-thick diagonal slices baguette
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and diced
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish
Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat. Brush the eggplant slices with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and grill the eggplant slices until tender and charred on both sides with grill marks, about 12 minutes. Set aside until cooled slightly. Coarsely chop the grilled eggplant and set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°F. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the olive oil onto a baking sheet and dip both sides of the bread slices in the oil to coat lightly. Arrange the bread slices in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until golden brown and crisp, about 12 minutes.
The toasts can be made 2 days ahead; store in an airtight container at room temperature. The eggplant can be grilled and chopped 1 day ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container. Allow the eggplant to come to room temperature before using.
Toss the eggplant pieces, tomatoes, olives, basil, cilantro, capers, shallots, lemon juice, ¾ teaspoon of salt, pepper and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium bowl. Season the mixture to taste with salt. You will have about 3 ½ cups of the eggplant
Oven Roasted Tomato Soup & Fresh Basil and Thyme Recipe. This recipe is easy and so delicious you’ll find the little effort that you put into is well worth it. The key to this soup’s smoky flavor is the roasted tomatoes, which must be done ahead of time to allow for cooling. Serve this soup crusty French bread, and a simple side salad, or try the Spinach Salad with Smoked Turkey and Green Apple Vinaigrette.
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water
½ cup cream (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, ¼ cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.
In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Pass through a food mill fitted with the coarsest blade or puree with hand held immersion blender. Taste for seasonings.
If you are not a purist when it comes to tomatoes, you can add grilled or roasted eggplant along with roasted red pepper, it will give you that additional Smokey flavor. This soup freezes up to 2 months in your freezer. Serve hot or cold.
Zov’s Favorite Potato Salad Recipe. Whenever I get a craving for potato salad, I think of piaz—the delicious Mediterranean version that I enjoyed as a child. It’s the mint, a harmony of fresh and dried, that distinguishes this potato salad from any other. Consistently delicious and utterly unique, it’s best when served at room temperature (making it great picnic fare). Pair it with grilled sirloin burgers or Rosemary-Garlic Chicken with Lemon (page 185). For lunch, try eating it the way I did as a child: stuffed into a French roll and topped with amba* (pickled mango chutney).
Serves 4 to 6
2 pounds small red-skinned potatoes cut into 3/4-inch pieces
⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
⅓ cup olive oil (see Cook’s Notes)
2½ teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon crushed dried mint
⅓ cup finely chopped green onions
⅓ cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
Fresh mint sprigs, for garnish
Fill a large pot with enough water to come 2 inches up the sides of the pot. Place a steamer basket in the pot. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. Place the potatoes in the basket and steam until they are just tender, stirring after the first 4 minutes about 8 minutes total. Remove the potatoes from the pot.
Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice, oil, 2 ½ teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, and dried mint in a large bowl to blend. Add the drained hot potatoes and toss to coat. Add green onions, red onions and chopped fresh mint. Toss gently to combine. Set the salad aside until it is room temperature, tossing occasionally. Season the salad to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish the salad with fresh mint sprigs and serve.
This salad is easy to make, but there are a few factors to consider when choosing and preparing the ingredients. First, the potatoes must be warm when tossed with the lemon vinaigrette. Don’t worry if the salad looks too moist, the warm potatoes will absorb the lemon juice and oil. The vinaigrette must have an equal balance of salt and sour flavors. The olive oil is the foundation of any vinaigrette, so make sure you use a good quality one to ensure the best possible outcome. Lastly, season the salad with salt and pepper just before serving, as the potatoes will absorb the seasonings as they cool. *Amba, often labeled “pickled mango chutney,” is sold at Indian markets.
Tahini Sauce Recipe
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
2 garlic cloves
1 cup tahini
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup(about) cold water
Finely chop the garlic in a food processor. Blend in the tahini, cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper. With the machine running, add the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides and bottom of the work bowl. Slowly blend in enough water to form a sauce with a consistency of buttermilk.
The sauce will keep up to 2 days in the refrigerator. Store in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Simple Poached Salmon Recipe. Poaching is a foolproof way to make delicious salmon. It’s as easy as bringing poaching liquid to a simmer, turning off the heat, and letting the salmon rest in the liquid. It’s a delicate way of cooking that results in moist and succulent fish. Because this dish is so easy, it’s perfect for large parties, quick weeknight dinners, or whenever you’re short on time.
6 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
¼ cup white distilled vinegar
2 large onions, thinly sliced
3 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
6 (6-ounces each) boneless skinless salmon fillets
Place the water in a heavy 12-inch-diameter skillet with 2-inch-high sides. Cover and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the wine and vinegar. Add the onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, and whole peppercorns. Cover and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the onions are translucent and the liquid is flavorful, about 45 minutes. Strain the broth and discard the solids. Return the broth to the same skillet.
Sprinkle the salmon with the salt and coarsely ground pepper. Submerge the salmon fillets in the broth (the salmon should be completely submerged in the broth). Bring the broth to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat. Cover and let stand until the salmon is just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Using a long metal spatula, transfer the salmon fillets to plates and serve immediately.
Poaching is a cooking method in which the food is submerged in a liquid that is kept at a constant moderate temperature. The fillets should be completely submerged to ensure even cooking. For easy removal, try not to crowd the fillets in the skillet. If you are unable to find a large skillet, you can also use a roasting pan with 2-inch high sides.
If you are serving the salmon fillets cold, keep them in the broth until they have cooled, and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This method keeps the salmon moist and tender. The salmon will keep for 3 to 4 days in the broth, covered and refrigerated. The poaching liquid can be frozen for up to 2 weeks and used as fish stock.