Roasted Broccoli with Brown Butter

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Broccoli is kind of like the muzak of the vegetable world. Unoriginal, run-of-the-mill, bland.

Or so I thought.

Roasting broccoli transforms it into something sublime: crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and drizzled with an umami bomb of brown butter, capers, and fish sauce. Yes, fish sauce. It’s the not-so-secret ingredient that’ll have you wishing you doubled this recipe.

Sorry I ever doubted you, broccoli. Let’s be friends again?

Roasted broccoli with brown butter

Ingredients:

1 pound broccoli, cut into florets

1 red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt
Pepper

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon capers

1 teaspoon fish sauce


1. Preheat the oven to 450F degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the broccoli and red onion with the olive oil. Spread in an even layer and season with salt and pepper. Bake until the broccoli is just tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a platter.


2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt the butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter browns and smells nutty, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the capers and fish sauce. Drizzle the brown butter sauce over the broccoli and serve.

Green Beans with Anchovy-Parmesan Dressing

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I don’t like green bean casserole. There, I said it. Every Thanksgiving, I’d steer clear of the green beans on the table, feeling guilty for allotting less real estate for vegetables on my plate but hey, mashed potatoes count, right?

This year, though, I’m turning a new leaf. This green bean dish is electrified with a bright, piquant dressing that has me converted. Think Caesar salad meets green beans. It might just be my new favorite Thanksgiving side dish — and it’s versatile enough to serve all year.

Green beans with anchovy-Parmesan dressing

Ingredients:

1 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 cup parsley leaves with tender stems
3 cups baby spinach
3 drained oil-packed anchovy fillets
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt
Salted toasted sunflower seeds, for garnish

1. In a pot of salted boiling water, blanch the beans until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using tongs, transfer to an ice bath to cool; drain well. Place the beans in a bowl.

2. In a blender, pulse the parsley with the spinach, anchovies, cheese and mustard. With the machine on, drizzle in 4 tablespoons of water and oils and blend until combined. Season with salt.

3. Add the dressing to the beans and toss to coat. Garnish with sunflower seeds.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Dried Mint

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What do you get if you take the mast (yogurt) away from the mast-o-khiar (Iranian yogurt and cucumber) and replace it with a generous drizzle of olive oil and lime? You get this super refreshing, complex salad that’s sort of Iranian and sort of not. The next time you’re preparing a khoresh or some kabab, make this on the side. Trust me, it works.

Smashing the cucumbers is key, as it ensures the craggy surface absorbs all of the flavorful dressing.

Smashed cucumber salad with dried mint

5 Persian cucumbers
Salt
1 garlic clove, lightly smashed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons lime juice

1. Gently smash cucumbers with a rolling pin or the back of a heavy knife just to break open. Tear into irregular 2-inch pieces and place in a bowl; season with salt. Let sit at least 5 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, cook garlic and oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, turning garlic once, until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add dried mint and sesame seeds and remove from heat. Let cool until warm and stir in lime juice; season dressing with salt. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Drain cucumbers, discarding any liquid they have released. Add to bowl with dressing and toss several times to coat. Serve at room temperature.

Smashed Cucumber Salad with Hot Vinegar

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Cue the global warming think pieces because I can’t remember a summer this consistently hot in my lifetime. It’s only August and I’m sweltering. I’ve been countering the heat with lots of seasonal like watermelon, tomatoes, and of course, cucumbers.

This Southeast Asian-inspired salad is one of my new favorite cucumber salads. Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe, it takes only minutes to prepare. The crunchy peanuts and tangy vinaigrette add a flavorful punch to this cooling side dish.

Smashed cucumber salad with hot vinegar

Ingredients:

5 Persian cucumbers
Salt
1 serrano chile, sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup roasted peanuts, for garnish

1. Gently smash cucumbers with a rolling pin just to break open. Tear into irregular 2-inch pieces and place in a medium bowl; season lightly with salt. Let sit at least 20 minutes and up to 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, whisk chile, garlic, vinegar, fish sauce, and sugar in another bowl.

3. Drain cucumbers, discarding any liquid they have released. Add to bowl with dressing and toss several times to coat. Top with peanuts and serve.

Korean Cucumber Salad

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This dish is one of my favorite banchans to eat. You know, the glorious array of little side dishes that come to your table when you go out for Korean food? Everyone has their favorite banchan. Mine are fish cake, cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, and this ubiquitous cucumber salad.

It’s easy to make at home and it’s perfect on a hot summer day as a cooling side. Make this salad ahead of time and chill it in the fridge for later. I even eat it alone as a snack. Pass the banchan, please.

Korean cucumber banchan

Ingredients:

3 Persian cucumbers (or 1 English cucumber)
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 green onion, sliced
1/4 cup onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean hot pepper flakes)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half. Cut diagonally into thin slices.

2. Put the cucumbers in a medium bowl, add the remaining ingredients, and mix well. Transfer to a serving dish and serve room temperature or chilled.