Cucumber Caesar Salad with Dill & Crispy-Spicy Panko

This is another flavor-packed adaptation of a classic. It was a wonderful way to enjoy the bounty of delicious summer cucumbers. Although this version is lighter than a classic Caesar, I was initially concerned that the dressing may be too potent. No worries! It was perfect.

The recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Zaynab Issa. I modified the method and proportions, used cucumbers from my CSA share, and used harissa instead of Calabrian chile paste. I loved the generous volume of fresh dill.

We enjoyed it with grilled chicken thighs and and roasted potatoes. Great.

For the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp Harissa or Calabrian chile paste (or 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/4 tsp Morton kosher salt (or 1/2 tsp Diamond Crystal)

For the Salad & Assembly:

  • 4 to 6 garlic cloves, finely grated or pushed through a garlic press
  • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T anchovy paste or 5 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets, smashed
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Morton kosher salt, plus more (or 3/4 tsp Diamond Crystal)
  • 5 peeled, halved, and seeded cucumbers or 3 European hothouse cucumbers, cut on a diagonal into 1″ pieces
  • 2 oz Parmesan, shaved (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1 cup dill, chopped

To Make the Crispy-Spicy Panko Topping:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium. (I used a 12-inch cast iron skillet.)
  2. Add the chile paste and stir into the warm oil.
  3. Add panko and salt (and crushed red pepper flakes, if using instead of chile paste) and cook, stirring often, until breadcrumbs are deep golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer spicy breadcrumbs to a shallow bowl; set aside.

Do ahead: Breadcrumbs can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

To Make the Salad & To Assemble:

  1. Whisk garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, mustard, and salt in a large bowl to combine.
  2. If using regular cucumbers: peel, slice in half, and seed them. (I used a melon baller to seed them.)
  3. Add the cucumber slices; toss well to coat.
  4. Add shaved Parmesan and top with dill. Gently toss to distribute evenly.
  5. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.
  6. Just before serving, transfer cucumber salad to a platter and spoon reserved spicy breadcrumbs on top. (I reserved some of the breadcrumbs to pass at the table.)

Do ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead; cover and chill. Salad (without breadcrumbs) can be made 3 hours ahead; cover and chill.

Pasta with Pestocado (Avocado Pesto) & Broccoli

According to America’s Test Kitchen, Pestocado is the “hottest new ‘it’ sauce.” Avocado replaces the cheese in this full-flavored pesto. It was creamy and delicious.

The recipe was adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbook, More Mediterranean, via americastestkitchen.com. I modified the method and used linguine fini, Meyer lemon, walnuts, and two garlic cloves. Easy and great.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 T table salt, for cooking broccoli and pasta
  • 12 to 16 ounces broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stalks peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 pound spaghettini, or spaghetti
  • 1 ripe avocado, halved and pitted
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios or walnuts, toasted and chopped, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets, rinsed
  • 2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon juice (I used Meyer lemon)
  • 1/4 cup (4 T) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Heat an oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Coarsely chop.
  2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon table salt and broccoli stalks and cook for 1 minute. Add florets and cook until stalks and florets are tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Using slotted spoon, transfer broccoli to colander set over bowl (do not discard boiling water). Let broccoli drain and cool slightly, about 5 minutes; set aside.
  4. Add pasta to reserved boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain pasta and return it to pot.
  5. Process 1 cup broccoli, 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, avocado, basil, 1/4 cup chopped nuts, anchovies, fennel seeds, garlic, lemon zest and juice, and coarse salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
  6. With processor running, slowly add oil until incorporated, about 15 seconds.
  7. Add pesto to pasta in pot and toss until sauce evenly coats pasta, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water as needed.
  8. Stir in remaining broccoli and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup pistachios. Garnish with fresh basil and drizzle with extra oil, as desired. Serve.

Chicken & Rice with Leeks & Salsa Verde

I have a few quick weeknight meals to share- perfect for the busy holiday season. I was drawn to this dish because I had several beautiful leeks from my CSA share. I served it with roasted broccoli and Brussels sprouts on the side.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Appétit, contributed by Deb Perelman. I have saved a million fresh sauce recipes to make someday but, regretfully, seldom make one. :/ The salsa verde added so much to this classic comfort food dish!

Because the original recipe incorporated a lot of rice, I ultimately made a second batch of chicken and sauce to serve with the leftovers. Next time, I would double the chicken (to 3 pounds) and the sauce (2 cups of herbs) from the start. The recipe below is updated for this change.

Yield: Serves 4 (1 1/2 pounds chicken) or 8 (2 1/2 to 3 pounds of chicken)

For the Chicken & Rice:

  • 1 1/2 lbs to 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 to 3 large leeks, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice, rinsed until water runs clear (I used Basmati rice)
  • 2 cups chicken stock with 3/4 cups water (or 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth)

For the Salsa Verde: (make 1/2 recipe below for 1 1/2 pounds chicken)

  • 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 2 T drained capers
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups tender herb leaves (such as parsley, cilantro, basil and/or mint)
  • 8 T extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Pat the chicken thighs with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. (My chicken thighs were very large, so I cut them in half crosswise.)
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large high-sided skillet over medium-high heat. (I used a large, low and wide enameled cast iron pot with a glass lid.)
  3. Add leeks and half of lemon zest, season with salt and pepper, and mix to coat leeks in butter. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are somewhat tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove lid, increase heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and just starting to take on color, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add rice and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes, then add broth, scraping up any browned bits.
  6. Nestle the chicken thighs (“skin side up”) into rice mixture. Bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until rice is tender and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from heat.
  7. Cut remaining 1 tablespoon of butter into small pieces and scatter over mixture. Re-cover and let sit 10 minutes.
  8. While the chicken and rice is resting, make the salsa verde. Pulse anchovies, garlic, capers, a few pinches of red pepper flakes, and remaining lemon zest in a food processor until finely chopped.
  9. Add herbs; process until a paste forms.
  10. With motor running, gradually stream in oil until loosened to a thick sauce.
  11. Add half of lemon juice; season salsa verde with salt to taste.
  12. Drizzle remaining lemon juice over chicken and rice. Serve drizzled with salsa verde.

Orecchiette with Sausage & Chard

This is a variation of one of my favorite Italian restaurant dishes, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. It was fast to prepare and really full-flavored- incorporating anchovies, freshly ground fennel seeds, and lots of garlic. Great.

This recipe was adapted from 177milkstreet.com, contributed by Jeanne Maguire. I substituted jarred fire-roasted red peppers and brine for Peppadew peppers. I used a combination of sweet and hot Italian sausage as well.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

  • 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
  • coarse salt
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound (about 6) sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed (I used 2/3 sweet (4) and 1/3 hot sausage (2))
  • 3 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mild Peppadew peppers or fire-roasted red peppers, plus 1 T brine (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 8 to 10 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound Swiss chard, stems and leaves separated
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or stock, divided
  • 3 T freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
  1. Remove the stems from the chard leaves and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Soak in a bowl of water, drain, and set aside.
  2. Cut the leaves into 3-inch wide ribbons; wash and drain. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.
  4. Drain, return to the pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, in a 12-inch skillet (with a lid available) over medium-high, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil until shimmering. (I used a large enameled cast iron pan.)
  6. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it into small chunks, until well browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but 1 T of the drippings from the pan.
  7. Add the anchovies, ground fennel seed, and peppers to the skillet and cook over medium, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  8. Stir in the garlic and chard stems, then cook until the garlic is aromatic, about 30 seconds.
  9. Add 1/4 cup of the stock and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until most of the liquid evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes.
  10. Stir in the chard leaves and the remaining 1/2 cup broth. Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook until the leaves are wilted, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  11. Scrape the chard mixture into the pot with the pasta. (I added the pasta to the pot with the chard instead!)
  12. Add the sausage and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir over medium-low until the pasta is heated through, about 1 minute.
  13. Gradually stir in the Parmesan, then the Peppadew or roasted red pepper brine.
  14. Taste and season with salt. Serve sprinkled with more Parmesan.

Skillet Caesar Salad Roast Chicken

Oops… I posted the skillet dessert before the skillet dinner. Now you know that I always plan dessert first. 😉

I loved the way this dish was originally described: “The only thing better than a roast chicken and a Caesar salad is a Caesar salad served with a chicken smothered in Caesar dressing and roasted until the garlic, anchovies, and mustard become deeply caramelized and flavorful.” Wow.

This fabulous, full-flavored roast chicken is from Bon Appétit magazine’s “Healthyish” column- one of my favorites. The recipe is by Molly Baz. Plating the carved chicken in the warm skillet kept the meal at a perfect temperature for serving.

For our family, the croutons were the absolute highlight. They brought a “grilled chicken Caesar salad” to the next level. 🙂 I made them using a pain au levain boule from a local bakery. I also incorporated additional romaine in the salad and garnished it with grated Parmesan. We ate the dish with roasted potatoes on the side.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 8 anchovies, mashed to a paste
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 T mayonnaise, divided
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 3 ½–4-lb. whole chicken or 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 medium shallots, unpeeled, halved lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 lemons, divided
  • 1 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for garnish
  • 4 oz country-style bread, torn into 1 ½” pieces (I used 1/4-loaf Pain au Levain boule)
  • 2 to 3 romaine hearts, leaves separated, torn or sliced (I used 3 Artisan hearts)
  1. Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Whisk anchovies, garlic, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the anchovy mayo in another small bowl.
  4. Pat chicken dry; season outside and inside all over with salt.
  5. Arrange breast side up in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and tuck wings underneath.
  6. Arrange shallots around (if using legs, nestle under and around); season with salt and pepper.
  7. Brush remaining anchovy mayo all over chicken, making sure to get it into the nooks and crannies, then brush shallots with any leftover anchovy mayo.
  8. Place chicken in oven so legs are facing toward the back (this is the hottest part of the oven and will help the legs cook before the breast dries out) and roast until some anchovy mayo and fat begin to drip onto shallots, about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and, using tongs, turn shallots to coat in drippings. Return skillet to oven and continue to roast chicken, stirring shallots once or twice, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 155°, about 35–55 minutes. (I used an oven probe.) If skin starts to get too dark on the top before chicken is done, tent area with foil, leaving the rest of the bird exposed. If using chicken legs, start checking at 30 minutes (a thermometer inserted right at the joint should register 160°).
  10. Transfer chicken and shallots to a cutting board, leaving behind any juices and fat in skillet. If shallots need more time to soften and darken, roast a bit longer without chicken before proceeding. (I did not continue to cook the shallots.) Remove the shallot peels. Reserve skillet.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.
  12. Finely grate half of zest of 1 lemon into a large bowl; cut lemon in half and squeeze in juice.
  13. Add reserved 1 tablespoon anchovy mayo, remaining 3 tablespoons mayo, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and whisk to combine, then stir in Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
  14. Add bread to reserved skillet with fat and turn to coat. Return skillet to oven and toast bread, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 12–15 minutes.
  15. Transfer croutons to bowl with reserved dressing. Add romaine and gently toss until lettuce is well coated. Season salad with salt and pepper.
  16. Slice remaining lemon into wedges.
  17. Carve chicken and nestle back into skillet or transfer to a platter; arrange shallots and lemon wedges around. Serve the chicken with the salad. Garnish with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Swiss Chard & Ricotta Galette

I kept waiting for Swiss chard to appear in my CSA box so that I could make this savory galette. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart. We ate it for dinner but it would be perfect for a special lunch or brunch. It was a surprisingly hearty meal served with a green salad. (I will confess that I served it with leftover pizza to please the rest of my crowd.) 🙂

The crust was particularly amazing. It is made with rolled oats and cream cheese which resulted in wonderful texture.

Yield: One 10 to 11-inch tart

For the Crust:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 large egg yolk

For the Filling & Egg Wash:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 ounces Swiss chard, leaves sliced in half through the center rib, stems separated and sliced into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, sliced lengthwise 1/4 inch thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 3 anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 6 ounces ricotta, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 large egg yolk

To Make the Crust:

  1. Pulse flour, oats, and salt in a food processor to combine.
  2. Add butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk; pulse until dough just holds together, 15 to 20 seconds.
  3. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

To Make the Filling:

  1. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium. Add chard stems, onion, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until stems are soft and slightly brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add vinegar and cook, stirring, until liquid is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in raisins. Transfer mixture to a nonreactive bowl.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in same skillet over medium-high. Add anchovies, if using; cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Stir in thyme. (I incorporated the anchovies.)
  5. Add chard leaves and cook until slightly wilted, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat both cheeses with 2 tablespoons cream until smooth, about 1 minute.
  7. Stir in nutmeg; season with salt and pepper.

To Make the Galette:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. On a large sheet of parchment, roll out dough to a 1/8-inch-thick round, about 13 to 14-inches in diameter.
  3. Arrange onion mixture evenly over dough, leaving a 3-inch border.
  4. Spread ricotta mixture over onion mixture; top with chard mixture.
  5. Fold edges of dough over and gently press down to seal.
  6. Transfer tart (still on parchment) to a baking sheet. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  7. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and remaining 1 tablespoon cream. Brush exposed dough with egg wash.
  8. Bake until crust is golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sourdough Mozzarella Grandma Pizza Pie

This is a sourdough version of one our favorite pizzas. When we order a pizzeria pizza, it is almost always a Grandma pie. The sauce makes it extra delicious.

This pillowy crust is absolutely perfect for a Grandma pie. I have made it several times now, and have used the crust for classic homemade pies as well. I was able to shape the dough into either form extremely easily just using my fingertips.

The crust recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour. I incorporated white whole wheat flour and modified the technique and baking temperature. The sauce is from Bon Appetit, contributed by Alfia Muzio, and is included in my Classic Grandma Pie post. According to the original recipe, this crust is also delicious with bold toppings and well-aged cheeses.

I included some active dry yeast in the crust, but plan to try it without, using fed sourdough starter instead of unfed, now that my sourdough starter is really active. The crust can also be made with sourdough discard.

I have made the dough two hours prior to baking the pizza, but the dough can be made a day in advance and put in the refrigerator to rise overnight. I also doubled the recipe on a few occasions to try various toppings (and to have leftovers!).

Yield: One Grandma Pie (half sheet pan) or Two 12-inch round Thin-Crust Pies

(Double the recipe to make Two Grandma Pies or Three 14-inch round Classic Pies)

For the Pizza Crust & Toppings:

  1. Stir any liquid on top of your refrigerated starter back into it before measuring 1 cup (241g) into a large mixing bowl. Note: This is a good opportunity to feed the remainder of your starter, if necessary.
  2. Add the warm water, flours, salt, and yeast. Mix to combine, then knead for about 7 minutes in a mixer with the dough hook, until the dough wraps itself around the hook and cleans the side of the bowl.
  3. Place the dough in a greased container, cover and let rise until almost doubled in bulk. Depending on the vitality of your starter, this will take between 2 and 4 hours. For a faster rise, place the dough in a warm spot, or double the yeast. (I placed my dough in a warming drawer and it doubled in about 2 hours.)
  4. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat your oven to 500°F. (I heat a baking stone in the bottom of the oven.)
  5. For a thicker, large pizza- a Grandma Pie, oil an 18″ x 13″ half-sheet pan. Place the dough in the selected pan and press it out to the edges, again giving it a 15-minute rest before continuing if it starts to snap back. (For two thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough in half, and shape each into a flattened disk. Drizzle two 12″ round pizza pans with olive oil, and brush to coat the bottom. (I used a pizza peel and pizza stone to make classic pizzas instead.) Place the dough in the pans, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. After this rest, gently press the dough toward the edges of the pans. If it starts to shrink back, cover and let rest for 15 minutes before continuing.)
  6. Cover the pan(s) and let the dough rise until it’s as thick as you like. (It will rise quite a bit in 30 minutes. I just let it rest while preparing the toppings.)
  7. While the dough is rising, make the sauce. (see recipe below)
  8. Once dough has risen on baking sheet, top with mozzarella, and dot pie with tomato sauce; sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes, if desired. Add any additional toppings, if desired.
  9. Bake the Grandma Pie until golden brown and crisp on bottom and sides, 15–30 minutes. (Bake traditional pies for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the cheese is lightly browned.)

Note: Store leftover pizza covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce:

  • 1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained (I used San Marzano)
  • 2 anchovy fillets packed in oil, drained
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, packed
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Pulse tomatoes, anchovies, garlic, oil, and basil in a food processor or blender until mostly smooth (some texture is okay).
  2. Season with salt and pepper.

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