Linguine with Clams and Bagna Cauda Butter

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What’s better than linguine with clams? Why, linguine with clams doused in a buttery, garlicy sauce, of course. Adapted from a Michael Chiarello recipe, this dish is a little bit Italian country and a little bit wine country. Most importantly, it’s entirely delicious.

Linguine with clams and bagna cauda butter

Ingredients:

1 pound dried linguine
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons chopped anchovies
3/4 stick butter
sea salt
4 pounds clams, scrubbed
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

1. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a small saucepan over low heat. When the oil just begins to warm, add the garlic and anchovies and cook slowly, stirring, until the garlic becomes light brown and the anchovies dissolve, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

2. Process the butter in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the cooled garlic-anchovy mixture and a pinch of salt. Process until well blended. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of the parsley, reserving the rest. Set bagna cauda butter mixture aside.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta.

4. While the pasta cooks, prepare the clams. Heat a large pot over high heat. When very hot, add the olive oil, then add the clams. When the clams first begin to open, add the wine and bring to a boil. Boil for a couple of minutes to drive off the alcohol, then cover and cook until the clams open, about 5 minutes. Discard any clams that do not open.

5. Drain the pasta when it is al dente and transfer it to the pot with the clams. Cook over moderate heat for about 1 minute so the pasta absorbs some of the sauce. Turn off the heat, add the butter and reserved parsley and toss until the butter melts. Serve immediately.

Kotlet (Iranian Cutlet)

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Kotlet, or Persian minced meat and potato croquettes, are an ubiquitous picnic meal in Iranian households. Growing up, I’d look forward to these in warm lavash sandwiches for lunch and now that I’m older, I prepare them as an appetizer or light meal. Kotlet are easy to make and can be frozen for reheating later on.

Serve these with pickled vegetables and sliced tomatoes, or simply on their own. Lightly spiced and crispy on the outside, it’s nearly impossible to eat just one kotlet.

Kotlet

Ingredients:

2 potatoes, cooked, peeled, and grated
1 pound ground lamb, veal, or beef
1 onion, peeled and grated
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup vegetable oil, for frying
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced, for garnish
4 Persian pickled cucumbers, sliced, for garnish
Lavash bread

1. In a bowl, combine meat, onion, eggs, potato, salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, saffron water, and turmeric. Knead for 5 minutes to form a smooth mixture.

2. Using damp hands, shape the meat mixture into lumps the size of eggs. Flatten them into oval patties. Brown the patties on both side in hot oil over medium heat until browned on each side and cooked through. Add more oil if necessary.

3. Arrange the patties on a serving platter. Serve with tomatoes, pickles, and lavash bread.

Joojeh Kabab (Iranian Grilled Saffron Chicken)

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Ask an Iranian what their favorite dish is and they’ll invariably reply with “kabab.” Joojeh (chicken) kabab, kabob koobideh (ground meat), kabab barg (steak filet) — we’ve got kabab down on lock. It wasn’t until a few months ago that I actually learned how to prepare joojeh kabab on my own. Najmieh Batmanglij’s New Food of Life cookbook and a couple phone calls to the parentals ensured me I was on the right track.

Don’t skimp on the onion in the marinade. Despite the volume, it’s not overpowering after the chicken is grilled. Also, you can try this with different kinds of poultry — in fact, those are cornish game hens pictured below. Lastly, try to get your hands on these flat steel skewers at a Middle Eastern grocer, as they make for much easier turning over a flame.

Joojeh kabab on the grill

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 onions, grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons Middle Eastern or Greek-style yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
4 pounds of skinless chicken pieces (preferably legs and thighs)
5 tomatoes, halved (preferably Roma tomatoes)
Accompaniments: lavash bread, fresh herbs, and cooked, buttered basmati rice

1. In a large bowl, combine the saffron water and the lime juice, olive oil, onions, garlic, yogurt, salt and pepper. Add the pieces of chicken and toss well with the marinade. Cover and marinate for at least 8 hours and up to 1 day in the refrigerator. Turn the chicken once during this period.

2. Start a bed of charcoal 30 minutes before you want to cook and let it burn until the coals glow evenly.

3. Skewer the tomatoes.

4. Spear chicken pieces onto different skewers. (Try to group chicken parts together as they each require different cooking times.)

5. Grill the chicken and tomatoes about 15 minutes, until done. Turn frequently.

6. To serve traditionally, spread a whole lavash bread on a serving platter. Remove the grilled chicken from skewers and arrange the pieces on the bread. Serve alongside the grilled tomatoes, fresh herbs, and warm basmati rice.

Gai pad gra pow

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I first tasted gai pad gra pow this past spring (late pass, I know), when my friend Natasha offered me a bite of her dish at a Thai restaurant in San Francisco. I was hooked, and I had to learn how to cook it.

Since then, this basil-inflected chicken stir-fry has become one of my favorites. Spicy and full of protein, it pairs perfectly with a cooling cucumber salad and steamed rice.

Gai pad gra pow

Ingredients:

5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bird’s eye (Thai) chiles, stemmed and minced
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup Thai basil leaves

1. Place a wok over high heat. Add the oil, garlic, and chiles and stir-fry for 30 seconds, or until the garlic is slightly golden. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked throughout, using a spatula to press the meat against the hot wok.

2. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, and pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the basil and stir-fry until wilted, about 1 minute, then turn out onto a serving dish. Serve warm.

Kimchi Fried Rice

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I guess kimchi fried rice has officially arrived since I noticed last week that Trader Joe’s now sells it, prepared and frozen. But why?! I thought to myself. Kimchi fried rice is so easy to cook!

Kimchi is one of my favorite foods (at the moment I have three jars sitting in the fridge), and this is one of my go-to dinners. If you already have day old rice, putting this dish together takes only minutes. There are endless variations, but don’t substitute the butter. A little goes a long way here. Lastly, use overripe kimchi. If you have a jar that’s at least a couple of weeks old, the flavor will be perfect for fried rice.

Kimchi fried rice

Ingredients

1 cup overripe kimchi, cut into bite size pieces
2 cups day-old rice, chilled
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 tablespoon gochujang, or Korean red pepper paste
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1/2 green onion, thinly sliced
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon shredded nori seaweed, for garnish

1. Heat a frying pan or wok on medium heat and add butter. Add the kimchi and fry for 5 minutes, until it is slightly browned. Add gochujang and stir. Remove kimchi from pan and set aside.

2. Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil to pan and fry 1 egg, stirring to break up into bite-sized pieces until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add kimchi mixture back to pan.

3. Add the rice to pan and mix thoroughly. Add soy sauce and sesame oil and mix again. Turn off heat and the rice mixture aside.

4. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and crack remaining egg in pan. Cover the pan and cook until the egg white is solid, about one minute.

5. To serve, put the rice mixture in a serving bowl, and top with the fried egg and shredded nori.