Crab cakes with Basil-Jalapeno Aioli

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Dungeness crab seasons ends this week, but there’s still time to get in one more crab recipe before it’s over. This crab cake recipe features corn, basil, and jalapenos, making it a perfect bridge between cold weather and warm weather cooking. Serve these as an elegant appetizer or as a light dinner alongside salad.

(Looking for a more classic crab cake recipe? I got you.)

Crab cakes with basil-jalapeno aioli

Ingredients:

For the crab cakes:

3 teaspoons unsalted butter
4 green onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound Dungeness crab meat
1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg
3 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves
Pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

For the aioli:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped basil leaves
2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt
Pepper

1. In a small skillet, heat 1 teaspoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the green onions and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 minutes or until softened. Place the mixture in a large bowl. Add the crabmeat, corn, bread crumbs, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, and pepper to taste; mix well. Divide the mixture into 12 portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place the patties on a plate and chill for 1 hour.

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together all of the aioli ingredients and set aside.

3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons butter and the oil over medium-high heat. Dredge each crab cake in the cornmeal, turning to coat evenly. Sear the cakes for 5 to 6 minutes per side or until golden brown. Serve crab cakes hot with Basil-Jalapeno Tartar Sauce.

Torshi Tareh (Iranian Chive and Herb Braise)

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Torshi tareh is the dish I never knew existed but always wanted. Hailing from Iran’s Caspian Sea area, it’s a regional speciality much like saag paneer — but with eggs instead of cheese. Chock-full of greens, it’s worth seeking out the namesake tareh in this recipe. Tareh are Persian chives (also called Persian leeks). If you can’t find these, a mix of green onions and garlic chives make a reasonable substitute.

Torshi tareh

Ingredients:

For the braise:

2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
2 cups parsley, roughly chopped
2 cups cilantro, roughly chopped
2 cups Persian chives (or substitute with green onions and garlic chives), roughly chopped
1/2 cup mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons rice flour dissolved in 1 cup water

For the eggs:

3 teaspoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
6 eggs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup lime juice

1. To make the braise: Place all of the herbs and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in an enameled cast-iron pot. Transfer the herb mixture to the pot and saute over medium heat for a few minutes.

3. Add salt, turmeric, 1 1/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Add the diluted rice flour and give it a stir. Cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer for another 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

4. Make the eggs: Heat the remaining 3 teaspoons oil in a skillet over low heat until hot. Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds, until lightly golden.

5. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and add the salt, pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon until just blended.

6. Just before serving. Add the egg mixture to the garlic in the skillet and saute for a few minutes, stirring until you have soft scrambled eggs.

7. Add the eggs and the lime juice to the braise in the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Serve warm with rice.

Chicken Piccata with Olives and Artichokes

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I love this chicken piccata recipe because it combines the best of both worlds: crunchy fried chicken and tangy, briny vegetables. This dish is easier to make than it looks and it’s perfect for springtime, showcasing tender artichokes — but without all of the prep.

Chicken piccata with olives and artichokes

Ingredients:

1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Eight 6-ounce chicken cutlets, about 1/8 inch thick
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
16 pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1 jar marinated artichokes (about 1 1/2 cups), drained and quartered
2/3 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. In a large bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken cutlets in the seasoned bread crumbs.

2. In a large skillet, melt the butter in the oil over moderately high heat. When the foam subsides, add the chicken to the skillets (working in batches if needed) and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until golden brown outside and white throughout, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the cutlets to a platter.

3. Wipe out the skillet and add the olives and artichoke hearts. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until heated through. Add the chicken stock, lemon juice and capers and boil for 1 minute, stirring. Spoon the artichoke and olive sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with the parsley and immediately.

Lamb and White Bean Braise with Dill Rice, Kashani Style

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I’ve always been curious about regional Iranian cuisine. My parents are from Tehran and while I love Tehrani-style food, there’s so much to Iran’s diverse cultures: garlicy eggplant mirza ghasemi from the Caspian to okra-laden khoresh-e bamiyeh near the Persian Gulf. These dishes are mainstream — most Iranian households have at least heard of them, regardless of what part of Iran they’re from.

But what about what’s off the beaten path? What’s Kurdish Iranian food like? What do folks eat on Qeshm Island? Or in Khorasan? I worry that these less well-known food traditions will be lost forever, especially among the Iranian diaspora. When I learned that author Najmieh Batmanglij had published Cooking in Iran, a compendium of regional Iranian cooking, I was so excited — and grateful. Since I got the cookbook, I’ve been tinkering with and riffing off of some of her recipes. This lamb and white bean braise with dill rice is popular in Kashan. I didn’t grow up with this dish, but the flavors are all too familiar: the dill rice reminds me of baghali polo (a popular fava bean and dill pilaf), the lamb is stewed with that familiar lime-turmeric-onion combination, and the fried potatoes put the whole thing over the top.

This dish is labor-intensive, but it’s a showstopper.

Lamb and white bean braise with dill rice, Kashani style

Ingredients:

For the braise:

1 cup white beans, soaked overnight and drained
2 teaspoons oil
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 to 1 1/2 pounds boned leg of lamb, cut into 3-inch pieces
1/3 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3 dried Persian limes, pierced
4 cups water
1/4 cup lime juice
1 teaspoon salt

For the potatoes:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes and soaked in cold water for 20 minutes, drained and patted dry
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rice:

2 cups aged basmati rice
1 1/2 cups chopped dill
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1/4 cup water

1. To make the braise: Heat oil in a laminated cast-iron pot over medium heat and saute the onions, garlic, and lamb until golden brown. Add the beans, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, and dried limes, and saute for 1 minute.

2. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the lamb and beans are tender.

3. Add the salt and lime juice, give it a stir, and adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Cook the potatoes: In a large skillet, heat the oil until hot and saute the potatoes over medium heat until golden brown and crispy. Sprinkle the turmeric and salt over the potatoes and stir. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

5. To cook the rice: Wash the rice by placing it in a large bowl, cover with water, agitate gently with your hands, then pour off the water. Repeat at least 3 times until the water is clear.

6. In a large pot, bring 8 cups water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add the rice and boil for about 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times to loosen any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Bite a couple of grains — if the rice feels al dente soft, it is ready to be drained. Drain rice in a fine-mesh colander and rinse with water. Set aside.

7. Place 2 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons water in the pot and ruse a spatula to mix. Place 2 spatulas full of rice in the pot and 1 spatula of dill and potatoes. Repeat, alternating layers and mound in the shape of a pyramid.

8. Pour the remaining oil and 1/2 cup of broth from the lamb braise over the rice. Drizzle the saffron water over the top. Wrap the lid of the pot with a clean dish towel and cover the pot firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes longer. Keep warm until ready to serve.

9. To serve, on a serving platter, gently mound the rice. Arrange the lamb and beans on top with the broth in a bowl on the side. Alternatively, you may serve the lamb, beans, and accompanying broth on the side in a separate serving bowl.

Mixed Greens, Turkey Bacon, and Poached Egg Salad

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Yeah, I’m one of those. I love turkey bacon. Don’t @ me.

In this salad-as-a-meal, mixed greens, wild mushrooms, bacon, and a poached egg come together to form a greater than the sum of its parts dish. I used a blend of romaine and baby arugula here, but feel free to use anything. And you can fry your egg instead of poaching it, too. Just give the turkey bacon a chance.

Greens, turkey bacon, and poached egg salad

3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup), divided
1/2 shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
Salt
Pepper
1/2 pound turkey bacon
2 sprigs rosemary
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms (such as oyster or shiitake), woody stems removed
3/4 mixed lettuce (such as romaine and baby arugula), leaves torn into 3″ pieces
4 eggs

1. Place half of the Parmesan in a large bowl and add shallot, vinegar, honey, and 4 teaspoons oil and whisk; season dressing with salt and pepper.

2. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until brown and beginning to crisp, about 6 minutes. Add rosemary and cook, turning once, until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer bacon and rosemary to paper towels.

3. Add remaining teaspoons oil to skillet and heat over medium-high. Arrange mushrooms in pan in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook, tossing, until golden brown all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl with dressing. Strip rosemary leaves off stems into bowl and add lettuces; toss to combine.

4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce heat so water is at a simmer. Crack an egg into a small bowl; gently slide egg into water. Quickly repeat with remaining eggs. Poach, rotating eggs gently with a large slotted spoon, until whites are set but yolks are runny, about 3 minutes. Using spoon, transfer eggs to a plate. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Arrange salad on 4 serving plates, sprinkle remaining Parmesan over and top with bacon and poached eggs.