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.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms

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If you’re looking for a seasonal vegetable dish that’s easy and tastes more decadent than it really is, look no further. Tender asparagus and earthy mushrooms come together in a super-simple sauce that drapes the whole thing in herby butter. Enjoy this as a side dish with just about anything.

Roasted asparagus and mushrooms

Ingredients:

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise into 3-inch pieces

1 pound oyster or maitake mushrooms, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons butter

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling


1. Preheat the oven to 425F degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange asparagus and mushrooms in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Add butter and thyme leaves. Once butter is melted, toss vegetables to coat, and roast about 5 minutes.


2. Arrange roasted vegetables on a platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 


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.

Oven-Baked Garlic Fries

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There’s nothing revolutionary about these fries. But I love them because (a) they’re fries, (b) they’re oven-baked, so they’re healthy, obvs, and (c) they’re sprinkled with garlic, and who doesn’t love garlic fries?

Make sure to bake these potatoes unpeeled; otherwise, they won’t hold up their shape.

Oven-baked garlic fries

Ingredients:

2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 3/4-inch-wide fries
1/4 cup avocado oil
Salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450F degree. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Add the potatoes and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry.

2. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with the oil and season with salt. Spread on a large baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden on the bottom. Turn and bake for 20 minutes longer, turning occasionally, until golden. Transfer the fries to a platter, sprinkle with the garlic, parsley, and pepper, and serve.

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.