Charred Shishito Peppers with Furikake

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♪ It’s the most wonderful time of the year ♪: shishito season. Come summertime, I am all about putting shishitos in everything: in salad, in stir-fries, and simply by themselves. I usually give them a quick toss in a miso sauce after blistering them on the stovetop, but this quick and easy version inflected with lime and furikake is one of my new favorites. It’s the perfect summer app and comes together in about ten minutes.

Charred shishito peppers with furikake

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 pound shishito peppers
2 teaspoons furikake, plus more for garnish

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lime
1 teaspoon soy sauce

salt

1. In a large skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add half of the peppers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until charred and tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and peppers. 


2. Add the furikake, the lime juice and soy sauce to the shishitos and toss to combine; season with salt. Transfer to a seving plate and garnish with more furikake.

Roasted Pepper and Artichoke Antipasto

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Summer is finally here and I am all about it, y’all. Gimme all the greens, gimme all the corn, gimme all the tomatoes, gimme all the peppers. This simple vegetable antipasto is like summer on a platter. Best of all, you can make it ahead of time and let the flavors marinate. Now go outside and get some sun.

Roasted pepper and artichoke antipasto

Ingredients:

4 red bell peppers
3 yellow or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
a few drops of hot pepper sauce (optional)
4 canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 garlic clove, sliced
salt and pepper
1 handful basil leaves, plus more to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Lightly oil a foil-lined baking sheet and place the whole peppers on the foil. Bake for about 45 minutes, until beginning to char. Remove from the oven, place in a heatproof bowl and cover lightly with plastic wrap for 5 minutes.

2. Slice the sun-dried tomatoes. Remove the core and seeds from the peppers and peel away the skins. Slice each pepper into thick strips.

3. Whisk the vinegar, oil, and hot pepper sauce, then season with salt and pepper.

4. Toss the peppers with the sliced artichokes, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Pour the dressing over and sprinkle a few more basil leaves on top.

Fried Eggplant with Spiced Cashews and Yogurt

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This recipe doesn’t seem like it should work, but it does, and brilliantly at that. Part Chinese, part Middle Eastern, buttery eggplant comes together with a kick of five-spice, vinegar, and yogurt. It’s a bit of work, but totally worth the super unique result. I cribbed the original recipe from Bon Appetit and adapted it to taste.

Fried eggplant with spiced cashews and yogurt

Ingredients:

2 pounds Japanese eggplant (about 3)
salt
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
vegetable oil for frying
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 cup full-fat Middle Eastern or Greek yogurt
Chopped green onions, for serving

1. Slice eggplant crosswise into 3-inch thick pieces. Cut pieces lengthwise into quarters. Toss eggplant in a large colander and sprinkle with salt. Let sit at room temperature 2 hours.

2. Pulse cashews in a food processor until you have some bigger bits and some finely ground sandy bits. Toss in a small bowl with cayenne, five-spice powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Evenly scatter sugar into a small saucepan; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heatproof rubber spatula to help it melt evenly, until melted and light amber. While stirring, gradually add vinegar; the caramel will sputter, but keep stirring until it smooths back out. Let cool to thicken.

4. Pour in oil to come 1 inch up sides of a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high.

5. While oil is heating, drain eggplants and pat dry. Dredge in rice flour in a large bowl, shaking off excess.

6 .Working in batches, fry eggplants, turning occasionally and adjusting heat as needed to maintain temperature, until cooked through and lightly golden, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

7. Spread some yogurt on a serving platter and place eggplants over the top. Drizzle with black vinegar caramel, spiced cashews, and green onions.

Velvety Peppers with Vinegar and Sesame Oil

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This side dish is so simple and yet it’s a revelation. You’ve had Italian-style marinated red bell peppers, right? Well, think of these as the Chinese version. Adapted from Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty, these peppers are velvety, piquant, and earthy at the same time. They keep well and dress up any meal. I love the texture on these.

Peppers with vinegar and sesame oil

Ingredients:

2 red bell peppers
2 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons rice vinegar
salt
2 teaspoons sesame oil

1. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and stems. Steam them for a few minutes until cooked. Set peppers aside to cool.

2. In the meantime, dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a small bowl. Add salt to taste.

3. Peel the skins from the peppers, then cut the eppers into strips and place in a serving bowl. Pour the vinegar mixture over the peppers and mix. Then add the sesame oil and mix again. Serve room temperature or cold.

Egg Flower Soup with Lemongrass and Mushrooms

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This isn’t a traditional egg flower soup recipe by any means. But I love egg flower soup in any permutation and have been making this easy version for years — decades, even! Lemongrass, tomato and nori seaweed are unexpected ingredients here, but trust me, it works. Sometimes, the sum is greater than the parts.

Egg flower soup with lemongrass and mushrooms

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken stock
2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 8 inches, lightly crushed
3 fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps thinly sliced
1 ounce enoki mushrooms, trimmed and separated
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup thinly sliced bamboo shoots
1 sheet nori, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 package soft tofu, cut into 2-inch-long x 1-inch long strips
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sesame oil

1. Bring the chicken stock and lemongrass to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the mushrooms, peas, bamboo shoots, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil. Add the tofu, tomatoes, and nori, stirring gently so the tofu does not break apart. Pour in the dissolved cornstarch and cook, stirring gently, until the soup returns to a boil and is slightly thickened.

3. Slowly pour in the beaten egg, stirring slowly but constantly to create “egg flowers.” Drizzle in the sesame oil and serve.