Avocado Salad with Pickled Mustard Seeds

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It’s avocado season and I’m eating them plain, in salads, in sandwiches, and with eggs — basically any way I possibly can. My new favorite way to enjoy avocados is with pickled mustard seeds: an acidic, vinegary foil for creamy avocados. Adapted from a Milk Street recipe, you can make the dressing ahead of time and you can assemble the salad just before serving.

Avocado salad with pickled mustard seeds

Ingredients:

For the pickled mustard seeds:

1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
3 allspice berries
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the dressing:

Pickled mustard seeds plus 2 tablespoons reserved brine
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh marjoram or 1 teaspoon dried
3 tablespoons olive oil

To serve:
3 avocados
5 teaspoons lemon juice

1. To make the pickled mustard seeds: In a small saucepan over high heat, combine the mustard seeds and enough water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the seeds are tender, about 8 minutes. Strain the seeds through a mesh strainer ands transfer to a bowl. Wipe out and reserve the pan.

2. To the pan, add the vinegar, sugar, water, peppercorns, coriander, allspice, bay leaf and pepper flakes, then place over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the spices are fragrant and the sugar has dissolved, 3 to 5 minutes. Strain the hot brine over the mustard seeds, discarding the solids, and let the mixture cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. To make the dressing: In a small bowl mix together the pickled mustard seeds and 2 tablespoons reserved brine, the shallot, mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Add the marjoram and olive oil and whisk until emulsified.

4. To assemble and sere, slice the avocados in half lengthwise, peel, and remove the pits. Place the avocado halves cut side down. Cut each into 6 lengthwise slices. Arrange the avocado halves on a serving platter or individual plates. Sprinkle lemon juice over the avocado slices. Spoon the dressing over the avocados and serve.

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.

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.

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.

Baby Arugula Salad with Date and Citrus Dressing

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I’ve been experimenting with more Middle Eastern flavors in my cooking lately and this salad is a riff on California meets Iran. What’s more Californian than arugula and citrus and what’s more Iranian than dates, mint, and pistachios?

I was iffy on how well citrus and dates would pair in a dressing the first time I made this, but the results were stellar. A little bit sweet, a little bit sour, you’ll want seconds of this salad.

Baby arugula salad with date and citrus dressing

Ingredients:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 cup mandarins, peeled and segments cut in half
1/2 cup pitted dates, thinly sliced, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 Belgian endives, sliced
6 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons mint leaves, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup toasted pistachios
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1 cup)

1. Whisk together olive oil, sherry vinegar, orange juice, shallot, and 1 tablespoon dates. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Place mandarins and remaining dates in a large bowl. Reserve and set aside 6 tablespoons vinaigrette. Drizzle remaining vinaigrette over mandarin mixture, and, using your hands, pull dates apart into individual slices. Add endives, arugula, parsley, mint, and remaining vinaigrette; toss to coat.

3. To serve, garnish with pistachios and shaved Parmesan cheese.