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.

Roasted Potatoes with Paprika

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Even though it’s spring, it’s still cold enough outside that I’m wearing sweaters and craving all manner of roasted goods. These roasted potatoes have become my go-to: sprinkled with savory herbs, it’s the crispy duck fat coating that makes these potatoes special. It’s worth seeking out a jar of duck fat for your cooking: a little bit goes a long way in adding a layer of richness and umami.

Roasted potatoes with paprika

Ingredients:

4 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes

2 teaspoons salt, divided

2 tablespoons duck fat, melted
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder


1. Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Place potatoes in a large pot and add water to cover by 1 inch. Season with 
1 tablespoon salt and bring 
to a boil over high. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle.


2. Arrange potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a heavy plate on potatoes and press down gently to slightly crush potatoes without breaking them apart. Drizzle potatoes with half of the melted duck fat; turn potatoes to coat.

3. Roast potatoes in preheated oven until bottoms are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and 
drizzle with remaining melted duck fat; turn potatoes to coat. Return to oven, and roast until crispy and golden brown, 25 minutes.


4. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Sprinkle with vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt; toss to combine. Place potatoes on a platter and serve.

Caspian-Style Sweet and Sour Fish

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My memories of visiting Iran always included a trip to the Caspian Sea: lush seascapes and mountains, friendly faces, and oh, the food! Fresh fish, grilled eggplant, young garlic, rich eggs — the food of the Caspian stays with you long after you visit.

This simple-to-prepare fish entree takes me back to these trips. In this recipe, catfish takes the place of the delicate white fish you’d find in the Caspian region. It’s glazed with a sweet and sour garlicy sauce that’s perfect with rice. I like to serve this alongside a green salt salad for a complete meal.

Caspian sweet and sour fish

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon golpar (ground Angelica seeds)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 catfish fillets (about 2 pounds)
3 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup white wine vinegar mixed with 2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1. Prepare the dry seasoning: In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, turmeric, flour, and golpar and set aside.

2. Rinse the fish and pat dry. Dredge both sides of the fish in the seasoning and arrange on a plate.

3. Heat the oil in a wide saute pan over high heat until hot. Sear the fish until brown on both sides, about 3 minutes for each side.

4. Reduce heat to low and add the garlic. Saute the garlic for 1 minute.

5. Add the vinegar mixture and simmer for 6 minutes over low heat until the fish is tender.

6. Garnish with parsley and serve with rice.

Caspian-Style Green Salt Salad

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“Green salt” salad doesn’t translate very well, but that’s exactly what it is. Dalar, or namak sabz (“green salt” in Farsi), is an herb-and-salt condiment from Gilan province in northern Iran. I didn’t grow up with this, but rather, I came across a recipe and adapted it to my taste. Blended with olive oil and tossed with Persian cucumbers and crisp apples, it makes a tart and refreshing salad that goes well with any Iranian meal.

Caspian green salt salad

Ingredients:

1 cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Juice of 2 limes
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 Fuji apples, diced into 1-inch cubes
4 Persian cucumbers, diced into 1-inch cubes

1. Transfer all of the herbs to a food processor and pulse a few times to chop. Add the salt and process until you have a grainy mixture. Add the pepper, lime juice and olive oil and puree.

2. In a large bowl, combine the apples, cucumbers, and dressing and toss well. Adjust seasoning to taste by adding more lime juice or salt.

Chickpea and Kale Frittata

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I love frittatas because they’re basically an entire meal in one skillet. I grew up with frittatas (or kuku, as they’re called in Farsi): herb frittata (kuku sabzi), potato frittata (kuku zibzamini) — you get the picture. But chickpeas? That’s something new. It works beautifully here, along with a healthy serving of kale.

Chickpea and kale frittata

Ingredients:

12 eggs
1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (basil works well here too)
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons curry powder (I used a mix of Madras and Jaffna curry powders here)
1/2 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, ribs and stems removed, leaves torn into 2-inch pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Whisk eggs, parsley, sour cream, red pepper flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl until no streaks remain.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium cast-iron skillet over medium-high. Add chickpeas and curry powder and season with salt. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium, add onion, garlic, and remaining teaspoon oil to chickpeas in skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.

4. Add a handful of greens and tablespoons. water and cook until slightly wilted. Continue adding greens a handful at a time, letting them wilt slightly before adding more, until all greens are wilted, about 5 minutes total; season with salt. Let cool slightly.

5. Return pan to medium-low, pour in egg mixture, and cook, stirring eggs and swirling pan often, until edges are just set (texture should be like a very soft scramble), about 5 minutes. Transfer to oven and bake frittata until puffed slightly and center is just set, about 15 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve.