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Melissa Clark has been reaching millions of readers through her New York Times column “A Good Appetite” since 2007. She is also the face of the Times cooking videos, which are filmed in her now iconic Brooklyn-based home kitchen. Her delicious, seasonal recipes are simple to make and satisfying for the whole family. They are always executed with a touch of elegance and flair.
Favorite Recipes from Melissa Clark’s Kitchen curates more than 100 dishes, hand-selected by Clark herself, from her two previously published books, In the Kitchen With A Good Appetite and Cook This Now. The book is organized by meal including Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner Mains, Dinner Sides, Desserts, Cocktails and Snacks. In addition, it features an “Occasion Chart” that cross-references recipes into situational categories including weekday staples, perfect for 2, family meals, and company’s coming, making it easy for the reader to select the perfect recipe for any occasion.
A question that I often get asked is, out of the thousands of recipes I’ve developed for my cookbooks and column over the years, which ones are my absolute favorites? This seems like a pretty straightforward query to the person asking it. But for me, it can be puzzling. How can I whittle down decades of work into just a handful of dishes that I can quickly list off? Because the truth of it is, every dish has its time and place. Before I can start mentally scanning all the chicken dishes in my roster to recommend one (or ten), I need to understand how and when said dish would be served. Give me the context, and the ideas start flowing like an ice-cold Rye Manhattan into a chilled cocktail coupe (with Spiced Nuts on the side, please).
Are we talking favorite after-work meals? Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce will fit the bill for families with big kids, Roasted Chicken Thighs with Apples for families with little ones. And for the kid-less—or on kid-less nights when summer camp or sleepovers have absorbed your children—Buttery, Garlicky, Spicy Calamari couldn’t be easier or more delicious. Or perhaps you’re eating alone, cozy on the couch in front of your favorite movie. A big bowl of Carroty Mac and Cheese (to supply the vegetable quotient) isn’t just for families, but for anyone in need of something creamy, comforting, and supremely satisfying but quick to make.
If it’s fancy dinner party fare in question, for starters, do I suggest Port-Glazed Stilton with Homemade Oat Biscuits, or Crispy Onion Fritters? Depends on if you’re a make-it-ahead or last-minute-type cook, because both are recurring favorites at dinner parties chez moi. Then maybe I’d follow it up with tender, rich Braised Leg of Lamb and some Israeli couscous on the side, and a lovely crisp spinach salad. Or if you aren’t as in love with lamb as I am, I’d suggest my Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomatoes, Cinnamon, and Olives. And for dessert, is it summer when you’ve got fresh plums waiting to be turned into an Upside-Down Plum Polenta Cake? Or winter, when a Triple Chocolate Trifle is more fitting to the blustery time of year?
In this volume, I’ve collected enough of my favorite recipes to provide answers for every inquirer. No matter the occasion, no matter the season, no matter your craving, you’re sure to find something here to make for dinner—or lunch, or even a special breakfast when you’re dying for a Spanish potato tortilla instead of the usual fried eggs.
To help you prepare for any culinary circumstances that come your way, every recipe is tagged as a Weekday Staple, Perfect for Two, Family Meal, or Company’s Coming. The occasion charts on pages viii–xi will help you both create menus and provide quick ideas when you need them.
Of course, these recipes are not restricted to these categories alone. Perfect for Two can still be very kid-friendly, for example, and you can add extra side dishes or double recipes as needed for more people. Weekday Staples can be great for company; in fact, casual entertaining on a school night is underrated. And so on.
All these recipes have been published before in two of my other books: In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite and Cook This Now. But here, I’ve chosen my personal favorites to put in one volume. Even better, these recipes are illustrated with new photos, allowing you to see many more of the dishes than you could before.
I hope the recipe collection and the photos inspire you to find your own favorites. And then when someone asks what you love to cook for company, or for your kids, or for a late-night snack, you’ll know exactly what to say.
The Mysterious David Dares Pancake
Green-Poached Eggs with Spinach and Chives
Pesto Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Ricotta
LUNCH AND OTHER LIGHT MEALS
Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Raw Brussels Sprouts Salad with Manchego and Toasted Walnuts
Sesame Soba Salad with Roasted Shiitakes and Tofu Croutons
A Perfect Tomato Sandwich
Salami and Horseradish Cheddar Bagel Sandwich
Farro Pasta with Spicy Salami Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mint
Buttery, Garlicky, Spicy Calamari with Israeli Couscous
Coconut Fish Stew with Basil and Lemongrass
Thai-Style Ground Turkey with Chiles and Basil
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Apples, Gin, and Coriander Seeds
Lamb Merguez Burgers with Harissa Mayonnaise
Crushed New Potatoes and Pea Salad with Mustard Seed Dressing
Southeast Asian Tomato Salad
Celery Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Caraway
Chocolate Chip Pecan Loaf Cake
Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake
Brown Butter Maple Roasted Pears
COCKTAILS AND SNACKS
perfect for two
Anya’s Potato and Onion Tortilla with Allioli
Baked Flounder and Eggs
Rhubarb, Strawberry, and Lemon Marmalade
LUNCH AND OTHER LIGHT MEALS
Curried Coconut Tomato Soup
Cumin Seed Roasted Cauliflower with Salted Yogurt, Mint, and Pomegranate Seeds
Frisée Salad with Bacon and Eggs
Queso Fresco Quesadillas with Papaya-Avocado Salsa
Deviled Egg Salad with Anchovies, Hot Smoked Paprika, and Tomato
Fresh Corn Polenta with Roasted Ratatouille and Ricotta
Spicy Black Beans with Chorizo and Jalapeños
Pasta with Turkish-Style Lamb, Eggplant, and Yogurt Sauce
Sautéed Scallops with Tomatoes and Preserved Lemon
Olive Oil–Poached Halibut Nuggets with Garlic and Mint
Steamed Wild Salmon with Mustard Greens, Soy Sauce, and Ginger
Stir-Fried Chicken with Leeks, Oyster Mushrooms, and Peanuts
Seared Pork Chops with Kimchi
Barley with Carrots, Scallions, and Maybe Parmesan
Hello, Salad (Tender Greens with Herbs and Hazelnuts)
Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Wilted Collard Greens with Lemon and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Tiny Valentine’s Day Cake for Daniel (Devil’s Food Cake with Butter Rum Frosting)
COCKTAILS AND SNACKS
Speedy Coconut Eggnog
Roasted Pepper and Celery Leaf Crostini
Double Coconut Granola
Baked Apples with Fig and Cardamom Crumble
St. Mark’s Gooey Honey Butter Cake with Lemon and Cinnamon
Maple Blueberry Cake
LUNCH AND OTHER LIGHT MEALS
Spicy Chicken Barley Soup with Sweet Potato and Spinach
Creamy Parsnip and Leek Soup with Bacon
Ham Bone, Greens, and Bean Soup
Israeli Couscous with Fresh Corn, Tomatoes, and Feta
Carroty Mac and Cheese
Whole Wheat Pizza with the Very First Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, and Tuna
Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli
Braised Pork Shoulder with Tomatoes, Cinnamon, and Olives over Polenta
Homemade Spaetzle with Browned Onions, Swiss Chard, and Emmentaler
Coconut Rice with Optional Peas
Rich and Nutty Brown Butter Corn Bread with Fresh Corn
Roasted Acorn Squash, Honey, Smoked Paprika, and Sage Salt
Golden Parsnip Latkes
Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Coconut Fudge Brownies
Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Sandies
COCKTAILS AND SNACKS
Healthy Homemade Cheddar Crisps
Cheater’s Pork and Ginger Dumplings
Buckwheat Pancakes with Sliced Peaches and Cardamom Cream Syrup
Buttery Polenta with Parmesan and Olive Oil–Fried Eggs and Swiss Chard
Whole Wheat Biscuits with Spicy Cardamom Butter
Olive Oil Granola with Dried Apricots and Pistachios
Rhubarb “Big Crumb” Coffee Cake
LUNCH AND OTHER LIGHT MEALS
Cantaloupe and Yogurt Soup with Toasted Cumin Salt
Corn Salad with Tomatoes, Avocados, and Lime Cilantro Dressing
Shaved Zucchini and Avocado Salad with Green Goddess Dressing
Raw Kale Salad with Anchovy-Date Dressing
Sausage Salad with Radicchio and Frisée
Crisp and Juicy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches with Caperberry Tartar Sauce
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pistachios and Lemon
Roasted Blackfish with Olives and Sage
Spicy Three-Meat Chili
Crisp Roasted Chicken with Chickpeas, Lemons, and Carrots with Parsley Gremolata
Braised Leg of Lamb with Garlicky Root Vegetable Puree
Vietnamese Grilled Steak and Cabbage Salad with Peanuts, Mint, and Chiles
Chile-Coconut Braised Beef Short Ribs
Bulgur “Pilaf” with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots
Creamy Leek Gratin with Parmesan
Garlicky Sesame-Cured Broccoli Salad
Honey-Roasted Carrot Salad with Arugula and Almonds
Winter Salad with Fennel, Radicchio, Walnuts, and Manchego
Zucchini with Mint and Garlic
Red Chard with Pine Nuts, Garlic, and Golden Rum Raisins
Upside-Down Polenta Plum Cake
Whiskey-Soaked Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake
Berry Summer Pudding with Rose-Scented Custard
Triple Chocolate Trifle with Raspberries
Obsessive Twice-Baked Sour Cherry Pie
Spiced Maple Pecan Pie with Star Anise
Lemon Curd Squares with Rosemary
COCKTAILS AND SNACKS
Sweet and Spicy Candied Nuts
Pan-Roasted Radish and Anchovy Crostini
Port-Glazed Stilton with Homemade Oat Biscuits
Crispy Onion Fritters with Whole Spices and Hot Sauce
Cornmeal Blini with Salmon Caviar
Buckwheat pancakes with sliced peaches and cardamom cream syrup
makes about 10 pancakes
I’ve been experimenting with a range of different whole-grain flours, and have found that I absolutely adore the complex, winey nuttiness of buckwheat flour. It’s traditionally used in blinis, but since I don’t make blinis very often (because I don’t serve caviar very often, sadly), I decided to try it in a regular old pancake, the kind I make for breakfast on the weekends. Since I don’t bother using yeast, the flavor isn’t as complex as a blini, but the buttermilk gives it a nice fresh tang and the honey lends a little sweetness that makes these pancakes wonderful on their own, should you choose to forgo any syrupy distractions.
If you are interested in syrup, however, please try this oddball, creamy, exotic-scented, and utterly divine cardamom cream syrup at least once. I can’t really tell you how I came up with it other than to say I like the combination of cardamom with juicy ripe peaches. And I like cardamom cream cakes, which I ate on a brief trip to Sweden. Come to think of it, they grow buckwheat in Sweden, and I’m sure my subconscious was aware of this as I made breakfast that day. So there you have it: Cardamom, cream, peaches, and buckwheat are a natural—okay, a plausible—combination.
In any case, it all works and tastes delicious, no matter how you connect the dots.
FOR THE CARDAMOM CREAM SYRUP
1 tablespoon cardamom pods, crushed
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
Pinch kosher salt
FOR THE PANCAKES
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups buttermilk, plain yogurt, or sour cream (or a combination), plus more as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more as needed
Sliced fresh peaches, for serving
1. MAKE THE SYRUP: In a small saucepan over medium high heat, combine the cardamom, sugar, and ⅓ cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cream and salt and let it bubble gently for 2 minutes. Let the syrup cool completely; strain.
2. MAKE THE PANCAKES: In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and honey; whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter. Form a well in the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined.
3. Melt some butter on a griddle or in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, spoon ¼-cup dollops of the batter onto the griddle. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to set, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip and cook until golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Cook the remaining batter, adding more butter to the skillet between batches if necessary. Serve the pancakes hot, topped with the cardamom syrup and peaches.
The mysterious David Dares pancake
As I was growing up, my mother made what she called her “David Dares” pancake. I loved that pancake, with its airy, souffléd custard that browned in the oven, and its glazed-sugar top drizzled with a zippy burst of lemon. My mother baked it in a gratin dish deep enough for the eggs to set into a wiggly, flanlike layer beneath the buoyant, crunchy crust that deflated dramatically when you dug in.
The original recipe came from a story in the New York Times; the pancake was named after David Eyre, a gentleman in Hawaii with whom food editor Craig Claiborne once had brunch. Mr. Eyre got the recipe from a cookbook published in 1919, which recommended serving the pancake for dessert.
Naturally, when I made his original recipe, I could not suppress the urge to tweak. I added a little salt to deepen the flavor, and an extra egg to mimic the thick, flanlike quality of my mother’s version. Call it a German pancake, a Dutch baby, or clafouti, a puffy baked pancake is a basic foodstuff common to cultures with surfeits of milk and eggs, or at least a taste for sweet, custardy things. In my family, we didn’t want to wait until after dinner, so we did, and still do, eat our “David Dares” pancakes for breakfast.
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch kosher salt
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about ½ lemon)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, nutmeg, and salt until combined. The mixture will still have some lumps.
3. In a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Carefully pour in the pancake batter and transfer the skillet to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffy and golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes.
4. Working quickly, take the skillet out of the oven and, using a fine-mesh sieve, shake the confectioners’ sugar over the pancake. Return the skillet to the oven until the butter has been absorbed into the pancake and the sugar is lightly caramelized, an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
5. Splash the lemon juice over the pancake, cut into wedges, and serve immediately.
Buttery polenta with Parmesan and olive oil–fried eggs and Swiss chard
Given the American predilection for cold cereal, it’s odd that hot cereal beyond oatmeal less frequently enters the picture. But grits and her first cousin on the Italian side, polenta—served soft and steaming, with plenty of salt, pepper, and grated cheese, paired with sautéed Swiss chard with loads of garlic and a jolt of red pepper flakes—is exactly what to have for breakfast or brunch when you’re hungry for something more filling and savory than Wheaties.
Coarsely ground polenta and cornmeal are essentially the same thing, both made from ground dried corn. And they are similar to, but not exactly the same as, hominy grits, made from corn treated with an alkaline solution, a process called nixtamalization. Look for stone-ground and avoid “instant,” a euphemism for pasty. Though recipes tell you to patiently stand over the pot, dutifully stirring to prevent the cornmeal from clumping up in protest, I’ve found a brisk whisking every couple of minutes will correct any lumpy inclinations. (Stand back between stirrings to avoid getting burned by eruptions of molten polenta.)
While the polenta is bubbling, prep and cook the Swiss chard.
As a final garnish, there’s olive oil–fried eggs. Cooked sunny-side up, the runny egg yolk coats the greens and cornmeal mush like a golden, velvety sauce. It picks up and carries the flavors of the cheese, garlic, and pepper, imbuing each tender mouthful. If you cook the eggs over high heat, letting the whites get brown and crisp around the edges, they’ll shatter when you bite, adding crunch to the sea of softness. It’s the crowning pièce de résistance.
Buttery polenta with Parmesan and olive oil–fried eggs
4½ cups water or low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
1½ cups polenta (not quick cooking), coarse cornmeal, or corn grits
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 (1-ounce) chunk Parmesan cheese, or ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 large eggs
Coarse sea salt, for garnish
1. In a large pot, bring the water or broth to a simmer. Stir in the polenta and fine sea salt. Simmer the polenta, stirring frequently but not constantly, until thickened to taste, 10 to 20 minutes. Stir in the butter and pepper and cover the pot to keep warm.
2. Using a vegetable peeler, slice the cheese chunk into slivers. (Or grate the cheese on the largest holes of a box grater.)
3. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until very hot. Fry 4 of the eggs until the edges are crispy but the yolks are still runny. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and eggs.
4. Pile the polenta into bowls; top with the cheese and then the fried eggs. Garnish with coarse sea salt and more pepper, and serve.
Garlicky Swiss chard
2 bunches Swiss chard, stems removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Fine sea salt, for serving
1. Stack the chard leaves on top of one another (you can make several piles) and slice them into ¼-inch-wide strips.
2. In a very large skillet (or a soup pot) over high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds, until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the chard, coating it in the oil. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes, until wilted. Stir and cook, uncovered, for 2 minutes more. Season with salt. Serve in the same bowl as the polenta, if desired.
Green-poached eggs with spinach and chives
I call this creation “green eggs no ham,” and it’s an ideal vegetarian dish. Spiked with lemon zest, chives, chile, and cream, it really doesn’t want bacon or ham or all the other meaty things I automatically think of when I think of eggs.
It’s based on a recipe for sorrel-poached eggs that I came up with when I used to have a sorrel plant on my deck. The poor plant succumbed to the squirrels, who used it to bury (and aggressively dig up) nuts. Although I can certainly buy sorrel at the farmers’ market, it’s not dependably available.
Spinach, however, is always there, except in the broiling heat of summer. From September to June, I can count on finding bunches of the crinkly, dark green leaves, ready to be tossed into salads or wilted in a pan of butter or olive oil, and sometimes crowned with runny eggs.
If you do find sorrel, simply substitute it for the spinach. It will break down into more of a sauce than the spinach does, and the color will fade from verdant to olive drab, but the flavor will pop. Leave out the lemon zest if using sorrel; you won’t need it.
Either way, while I like this for supper (not dinner; eggs are for supper), it’s especially excellent for brunch.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 fat scallions, sliced, white and light greens kept separate from dark greens
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
⅓ cup finely chopped fresh chives
- On Sale
- Apr 3, 2018
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Black Dog & Leventhal