‘Everyone Sat Stunned After the First Bite’

June 4, 2024
Dining & Wine
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A confession: I almost always pull back the sugar in a dessert recipe. (I’m sharing this here because I don’t think I’m alone.) I do this because 1) I come from a home where “not too sweet” is the highest praise a dessert can get; 2) I get cavities just by thinking about sweets; and 3) I love, love, love fresh fruit, and the last thing I want to do to my perfect, beautiful, expensive farmers’ market finds is dull their bright personalities with heaps of sugar.

So maybe your eyes will widen like mine did at the first line of this blueberry cobbler recipe: “This cobbler, which comes from the kitchens of Chez Panisse, prizes the berries above all, using only ⅓ cup of sugar.” Just a third of a cup to sweeten four and a half cups of fresh blueberries! No wonder the comments on this Lindsey Remolif Shere recipe, adapted by Molly O’Neill, are glowing: “I have about a dozen cobbler recipes, this one is now number one,” and “I’ve made this many times and it’s so delicious I could eat the whole thing by myself.” My favorite: “Everyone sat stunned after the first bite and we were almost speechless for a moment.” A cobbler that clobbers.


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I haven’t yet made Sheree Sarabhaya’s kai yang — a recipe for Thai barbecue chicken adapted by Alexa Weibel — but I’m certain it will also be a showstopper. All our umami friends are here in this marinade: oyster sauce, Golden Mountain seasoning sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce, with earthy turmeric, acidic lemongrass and spicy ginger rounding everything out. Melissa Clark’s grilled salmon salad with lime, chiles and herbs is another flavorful hit, the dressing here based on nước chấm. I’ll absolutely make more salmon than I need for dinner so I can pile leftovers on rice with sliced cucumbers for a fantastic lunch.

Another confession: I like zucchini only when it’s been cooked within an inch of its life, on the verge of complete collapse, so this new roasted zucchini and shrimp with za’atar yogurt from Melissa calls to me with its deeply caramelized and soft half-moons. And while we’re talking za’atar, I must remind you that Ham El-Waylly’s za’atar and labneh spaghetti exists and that it is so, so good.

Lastly, we’re entering dips for dinner season, so I’ll leave you with a hot dip and a cold dip. I’d easily destroy Yotam Ottolenghi’s new butter bean dip with frizzled onions and preserved lemon in one sitting, which is OK, because it’s mostly beans (and beans are very good for you). Similarly, I would park myself close to Margaux Laskey’s cowboy caviar at a cookout and steadily scoop away at this mix of beans, corn, diced tomatoes and peppers. As Margaux notes, it’s also called Texas caviar, and our Texan readers have shared plenty of tips in the comments.

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