'Sides' on Serious Eats

Pickled Japanese Turnips with Shiso from 'Little Jars, Big Flavors'

Pickles are usually the easiest thing to put up, and the vinegar-ed recipes in Southern Living's Little Jars, Big Flavors, fall in line. Most of the pickles are simple, familiar choices like dills, bread and butters, and pickled green beans. This pickled turnip with shiso, however, stood out from the rest. Shiso is not ordinarily seen in American pickle recipes, especially from the dill- and mustard-focused South. Still, the lemony leaf makes plenty of sense in these Japanese-esque white wedges. More

Dry-Fried Green Beans from 'The Chinese Takeout Cookbook'

Diana Kuan's dry-fried green beans in The Chinese Takeout Cookbook are less embellished than versions seen at Chinese restaurants; she keeps things simple by skipping the ground pork and preserved vegetable that are often included. Instead, the beans are bolstered by minced and browned fresh shiitakes and the requisite Sichuan pepper, chili bean sauce, and dried red chiles. These changes not only make the dish easier to prepare with grocery staples, but they also give the beans themselves a greater chance to shine. More

Food52's Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin

For a twist on the standard potato gratin, consider cnevertz's Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin from the new Food52 Cookbook. The dish is a simple one with only six ingredients (including salt and pepper), but each element packs a punch. The Gruyère's funky flavor cuts the sweetness of the potatoes and richness of the cream, and the diced pancetta contributes its own salty, sweet, and spicy notes. The most unique part about this gratin, however, isn't in the ingredient list. Instead of shingling the potatoes in a large baking dish, cnevertz layers individual servings in a muffin tin, making for a button-cute finish to this easy side. More

Smitten Kitchen's Fingerlings Vinaigrette with Sieved Eggs and Pickled Celery

While potato salad is often thought of as a summertime picnic side dish, fall is the perfect time to dip into a comforting bowl of potatoes. The Fingerlings Vinaigrette in Deb Perelman's The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, for example, would make an ideal side dish for any fall dinner. The eggs add richness and a fun fluffy texture, the vinaigrette is boldly mustard-foward, and the pickled celery slices contribute crunch and tang to the creamy and subtly earthy potatoes. More

Tempura Green Beans with Tapendade Dip from 'Salty Snacks'

Vegetable tempura dipped in tapenade make for an utterly unique nibble in Cynthia Nims's Salty Snacks. To those used to dipping tempura in soy sauce and spreading tapenade on crackers, it may sound off-putting, but the two make better bedfellows than one might expect. In fact, the briny olive-caper-anchovy mixture is a perfect counterpoint to fried food, and the light grassiness of the beans takes well to delicate tempura batter. More

Mile End's Tsimis

For a traditional dish, Tsimis doesn't have the best reputation—most references to the dish include the words "mushy" or "cloying." Noah and Rae Bernamoff, however, employ some tricks in their recipe in The Mile End Cookbook to update the dish. They first roast the carrots to develop complexity and cook them almost all the way through in dry heat. Next, the carrots are tossed in a honey-thyme mixture with a mix of dried fruit and ginger. Finally, a huge handful of toasted sunflower seeds are tossed in for contrasting texture and slightly bitter, nutty bursts of flavor. More

Mark Bittman's Green Beans with Crisp Shallots

Leave it to Mark Bittman to show us how to make the best version of this side standard, Green Beans with Crisp Shallots. Bittman's go to method for beans with a little bit of bite involves briefly boiling the green beans, shocking them in ice water, and finishing them with a quick trip to the sauté pan. Tossed with crispy sweet butter and olive oil fried shallots, and almonds, if you'd like, this is the recipe that'll have your green beans moving out of blah territory and into much tastier place. More

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