Grilled corn with a rich and spicy Korean chili sauce.
'Sides' on Serious Eats
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.
The classic Mexican street food of grilled corn slathered in a creamy chili and lime-spiked sauce with cheese.
According to Matt and Ted Lee, older Charlestonians refer to cooked grits at "hominy," despite the difference between this dish and the larger nixtamalized corn used in Mexican cooking. These grits are the the bed for the Lee brothers' shrimp in their classic Shrimp and Grits recipe in their Charleston Kitchen cookbook.
Grilling ramps enhances their sweetness and gives them a tender-crisp crunch. It's the ideal way to cook this great wild spring vegetable.
In these parts, carrot cake is not the sweet cake covered with cream cheese frosting. Instead, you get a savory pan fried omelette filled with crispy, tender cubes of glutinous radish "cake".
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.
Mild and full of flavor, this carrot stir fry is a delicious way to dress up the old carrot stick.
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.
Little, sweet baby carrots simply prepared in a savory, spiced glaze of ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and pepper is perfect for the holidays.
Tender-crisp green beans tossed in a savory dressing flavored with anchovies and Worcestershire. Hot and tangy pepperoncini, shallots, and pinenuts finish the salad.
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.
This roasted sweet potato salad, adapted from Devon Delaney, is a welcome change from all those overly sweet holiday sweet potato recipes. Serve it warm as a side dish.
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.
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.
Spicy curried jalapeño peppers make a great side dish to any Indian meal.
Apple Sabzi looks like a vegetable dish until you bite it and discover the sweet taste of apple and the wonderful flavor of coconut oil.
Smokey, sweet, spicy, and tangy, esquites are the off-the-cob version of elotes—grilled Mexican street corn slathered with creamy, cheesy, lime-scented, chili-flecked sauce. In this version, we char the corn on the stovetop, though a trip to the grill wouldn't hurt.
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.