Scarred by childhood memories of dry, tasteless rice balls, I set out to create arancini the way we all want them to be: crisp on the outside with a shattering crust that breaks open to reveal tender grains of rice suspended in a rich and flavorful creamy sauce. At at the center: stretchy melted mozzarella cheese.
Appetizers And Hors Doeuvres
As Yotam Ottolenghi says in the introduction to this recipe from his new cookbook, Plenty More, this is only vaguely reminiscent of baba ghanoush. Garlicky broiled zucchini is topped with a funky and captivating custard sauce made with goat's milk yogurt and Roquefort cheese. Finally, toasted pine nuts and a sprinkle of za'ata finishes off this "volcanic eruption" (his words) of a spread.
Here's yet another winning recipe from Renee Erickson's new cookbook, A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus. She cooks her mussels in hard cider with shallots, butter, and Dijon mustard, and finishes them with uplifting and enriching lemon juice and crème fraîche, and a good amount of whole tarragon leaves, which perfume the delicious broth.
To get the most flavor in this shrimp scampi, we use vermouth instead of white wine, and a mix of fragrant herbs—parsley, tarragon, and chives—instead of just parsley. The silky butter sauce, meanwhile, is brightened with a splash of fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest. It's a quick, easy, one-pot Italian-American classic with just enough extra flavor and flair to make it special.
These pull-apart garlic knots are baked in a cast iron skillet for a crisp, golden brown bottom. They are intensely flavored with pepperoni, red pepper flakes, garlic, and two types of cheeses, and have a moist, buttery crumb. It's the kind of recipe that your guests will demand you make time and time again because they're that damn good. Good thing they're easy as well.
If you love ceviche, then Mexico's aguachile is for you. Traditionally made with raw shrimp, lime juice, chilies, cucumber, and onion, it's served immediately while still totally raw, unlike most other ceviche recipes. In this variation, sweet raw scallops are tossed with lime juice, jalapeño chilies, cucumber, and red onion, then served with tostadas and avocado (and if you like, beer or tequila).
If you love ceviche, then Mexico's aguachile is for you. Traditionally made with raw shrimp, lime juice, chilies, cucumber, and onion, it's served immediately while still totally raw, unlike most other ceviche recipes. This recipe is about as close to the classic as you can get, and it's delicious.
Though they're a dim sum classic, braised chicken feet (A.K.A. phoenix claws) can be a challenge for those unused to eating them. It takes a little while to get used to the plump claws sticking out of a little bowl, and a bit of work to get at the meat in between the tiny bones, but the flavor-packed rewards are well worth the mental and physical effort.
Grilled summer fruit is always a welcome addition at the table, and these peaches get extra boosts of flavor from sticky caramelized shallots, cooling buttermilk dressing and crispy bacon.
For this recipe from Buvette: The Pleasure of Good Food, chef Jody Williams was inspired by Thomas Keller's well-loved salmon rillettes, which she learned to make during her time under him at his by-gone West Village restaurant, Rakel. With fresh and smoked salmon, crème fraîche, and horseradish, it's a rich, creamy, punchy dish that disappears quick.
Firm apricots are the perfect fruit for grilling, becoming tender and sweet after a few minutes above the hot coals. Paired with goat cheese and pistachios, they make a quick and delicious appetizer that's perfect for summer.
Juicy cherry tomatoes are packed full of smoky, crunchy bacon, salty Parmesan cheese, creamy mayo, and a sprinkling of bright, fresh parsley for a simple, crowd-pleasing hors d'oeuvre.
This super-simple riff on Greek tyrokafteri—a salty, spicy dip of roasted peppers and feta—is packed with bold, fresh flavors. Though the traditional recipe calls for puréeing the ingredients, here they're chopped to preserve their individual textures. Together, they form a loose filling for hollowed tomatoes, which bake until tender and lip-smackingly sweet.
Chicken liver mousse always make me think of the sexy, cozy wine bar where I once worked in the West Village. I watched their mousse regularly provoke consummate liver-haters to clean the bowl with their fingers. Chicken liver mousse can do that; it's got everything going for it. It's creamy, fatty, savory, and pureed beyond recognition of anything anatomical. Tom Mylan's version, from The Meat Hook Meat Book, is sure to twist some arms: a little funky, a little boozy, and rich enough to be dessert.
Soft braised leeks are accented with basil and rounded out with ricotta cheese for these simple, summery crostini.
These easy, delicious crostini are topped with juicy balsamic-roasted cherries and tangy goat cheese.
Grilled sweet corn, buttery avocado, and tangy queso fresco are a Mexican-inspired topping for these easy crostini.
It's my opinion that fresh, sweet corn should be incorporated into pretty much every meal in the summertime. So as soon as I saw these bodaciously corn-y fritters in Kimberly Hasselbrink's new cookbook, Vibrant Food, I knew I'd be making and devouring them as soon as possible.