Avocado and Tomato Salad with Soy Vinaigrette

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Creamy avocadoes, crisp cucumbers, and juicy tomatoes: this salad celebrates a California summer in all its glory. Adapted from an old Sunset magazine, use the best quality avocados and tomatoes you can get your hands on here. Freshness makes all the difference.

Avocado and tomato salad with soy vinaigrette

4 Persian cucumbers, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
1 or 2 medium tomatoes, cut into slices
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, halved and sliced
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Kosher salt

1. Arrange medium tomato slices and cucumbers on a serving platter, followed by cherry ­tomatoes and avocado slices.

2. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, and apple cider vinegar and drizzle over salad.

3. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and salt to taste.

Hoisin-Chicken Nachos with Avocado

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Okay, so these aren’t really nachos. They’re more like vegetable chips plus chili-sake-tomato-avocado guacamole plus roast chicken plus a generous drizzle of hoisin. I can’t tell you if the leftovers keep well because we ate the whole thing in one sitting.

The first time I made these, I used roast duck, but leftover roast chicken is easier to come by and works just as brilliantly.

Hoisin-chicken nachos with avocado

Ingredients:

2 ripe but firm avocados, peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 tomato, diced
3 green onions, thinly sliced, divided
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
3 teaspoons sake
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced roast chicken
2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
2 bags Terra chips or similar vegetable chips

1. Mix the avocados, onion, tomato, half of the green onions, ginger, cilantro, sake, lime juice, vegetable oil, chili garlic sauce, and salt in a medium bowl, without mashing the avocado. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly to the surface and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Arrange the vegetable chips on a large platter. Dot spoonfuls of the avocado mixture across the chips evenly. Evenly scatter the roast chicken onto the chips next. Drizzle with hoisin sauce and garnish with the remaining green onion slices. Serve immediately.

Crispy Cod with Miso Vinaigrette

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Who knew that corn, miso, and fish would pair so well together? I use cod in this east-meets-west entree, but you can use halibut too — any firm, flaky white fish will do just fine. I love the crunchy, crispy, creamy melange of textures in this one-dish meal. Don’t be put off by the long ingredient list; this dish may take a while but the technique is straightforward.

Crispy cod with miso vinaigrette

Ingredients:

For the ginger-green onion oil:

2 tablespoons minced green onion
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons chicken stock
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white miso
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water, or as needed

1 pound cod or halibut fillets
Salt
Pepper
3/4 cup panko
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
2 green onions, trimmed and julienned into thin strips 2 inches long
2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds

1. Make the seasoned oil: Heat a small skillet over high heat until just hot. Add the vegetable oil and heat just until it begins to smoke. Carefully add the green onion and ginger to the oil. Remove from heat and let cool.

2. Make the vinaigrette: Whisk the olive oil, rice vinegar, chicken stock, mayonnaise, miso, sugar, peanut butter, mustard, and sesame oil in a medium bowl until smooth. Whisk in enough water to attain a syrup-like consistency.

3. Season the cod fillets with salt and pepper. Drizzle enough of the ginger-green onion oil onto the fillets to coat both sides. Pat the bread crumbs onto both sides of the fish.

4. Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat until hot. Heat the 1/4 cup vegetable oil and place the fillets in the pan. Cook, turning once, making sure the bread crumbs do not burn, until both sides are golden and the cod is cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. Pour the oil out of the pan.

5. Add the butter to the pan and melt over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper to taste.

6. To serve, spoon the vinaigrette onto a serving platter. Make a well in the center of the vinaigrette. Spoon the mushroom and corn mixture onto the well. Set the cod fillets on top. Scatter the green onion strips and sesame seeds over the fillets. Drizzle a small amount of the seasoned oil over the fillets and serve.

Soy-Marinated Eggs

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My favorite part about ramen are the marinated eggs and quite frankly, if I could order just a plate of those alone, I would. These soy-marinated eggs are a riff on ramen eggs, albeit with more garlic and a bit of vinegary and peppery tang. Make a batch of these ahead of time and enjoy them with breakfast or as a snack.

I like my yolks a bit jammier than in the photo below, so stick to a 6-minute cooking time (instead of 7 minutes, as I originally did) if you want a jammier consistency too.

Soy-marinated eggs

Ingredients:

6 large eggs at room temperature
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 dried chiles de arbol
3/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons rice vinegar

1. Gently lower eggs into a saucepan of boiling water. When water returns to a gentle boil, cook 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water and let cool 3 minutes. Remove eggs from ice water and carefully peel.

2. Bring garlic, chiles, soy sauce, mirin, vinegar, and 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add eggs. Let sit at room temperature for an hour. Once cooled, transfer eggs and liquid to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 day.

2. To serve, drain eggs and halve.

Shaking Beef with Arugula

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This is one of those weeknight meals that looks fancier than it really is. It’s a spin on the Vietnamese classic and requires no rice — instead, well-marbled rib-eye is served on a bed of peppery arugula. Healthy, easy, and delicious: the perfect cooking trifecta.

Shaking beef with arugula

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon fish sauce

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 garlic clove, smashed
1 1/2 pounds boneless rib eye steak or New York strip steak, trimmed and cut into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion or shallot
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt

5 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup fresh mint or basil, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1. Marinade the beef: Stir together oyster sauce, soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sugar, cornstarch, fish sauce, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and garlic in a medium bowl. Add beef, toss to coat, and let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature.

2. Make the salad: Rinse onions in a strainer under cold running waters; set aside. Whisk together 2 tablespoons water, vinegar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon sugar, salt, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion; top with arugula and herbs and toss to combine.

3. Heat a large skillet over high and add oil. When oil is shimmering, add beef in a single layer. Cook, shaking pan every 30 to 60 seconds, until seared on all sides and meat is cooked through, about 5 to 6 minutes for medium. Remove from heat. Transfer salad to a platter and arrange cooked beef and juices on salad, and serve immediately.