Grilled Polenta with Mushroom Ragout
It seems to me that mushrooms must mean to vegetarians what steak means to carnivores. They are both stick-to-your-ribs, center-of-the-plate comfort foods. These days our supermarkets always boast a huge selection of mushrooms, many of which were terribly exotic a generation ago. My advice for this hearty vegetarian entree is to mix together a few of the exotics and add some button mushrooms for filler. But don’t combine too many of the most pronounced in flavor—such as morel and shiitake—because… more »
Baked Whole Fish with Rosemary, Olive Oil, and Lemon
Fish, like meat or poultry, has more flavor when it is cooked on the bone. But many people are daunted by the prospect of cooking a whole fish because they have no idea how to fillet it. In fact, if you wait to fillet your fish until after it’s cooked, it’s a snap – because at that point the flesh is almost ready to fall off the bone. This is one of those fun entrées that you can set up… more »
Escarole Soup with Meatballs
I was working at the Harvest Restaurant in Harvard Square in the late seventies when Peter Vezan, one of the managers, steered me to a little trattoria in Boston’s North End. It wasn’t much more than a hole in the wall, but it boasted some of the best down-home Italian food in the city. My favorite dish on the menu was an escarole soup with meatballs. It was very old hat to Italian-Americans—the equivalent of matzo ball soup to American… more »
Crispy Broccoli with Capellini in Broth
Once you have your pasta water at a boil and your broccoli cut into florets, this dish—a perfect weekday quick comfort meal—takes no time at all to prepare. The star here is the crispy broccoli. You create that crispness by allowing your pan and oil to get a lot hotter than you normally would—to the point where the oil is just about smoking—and then quickly throwing in the broccoli and covering the pan. The broccoli sears around the edges, caramelizes,… more »
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich with Goat Cheese
Being the ignorant Northerner that I am, I always thought that green tomatoes were transformed at the beginning of the season into fried green tomatoes because nobody could wait for those first tomatoes to ripen. I have been enlightened by my Southern friends and now understand that these tomatoes are actually harvested at the end of the season out of fear of the upcoming frost. I am happy to eat them at either end of the season, particularly gilded with… more »
Kielbasa and Celery Root Salad
When I came up with the idea for this salad I was focusing on the celery root part of it. Celery root, also known as celery knob or celeriac, is the thickened aromatic root of a variety of celery plant with a dense crunchy texture. In France, it is often julienned or shredded and tossed in a mustardy vinaigrette, which was my inspiration for this dish. I decided to start with another sharp flavoring, horseradish, and enhance it with mustard.… more »
Egg Foo Yung
When I was growing up, egg foo yung was a very popular item on Chinese take-out menus and in most Chinese Restaurants. In recent years, however, it seemed to disappear. Reading a recipe for egg foo yung in an old cookbook not long ago, I was struck by its adaptability. It is, after all—a kind of Chinese omelet—and, as with any omelet, the filling possibilities are endless. I have done what I can, however, to improve on the old egg… more »
Brie, Bacon, and Spaghetti Frittata
Here’s how to turn your leftover pasta into a new meal in the form of an Italian omelet. You can bulk it up with just about anything kicking around in the fridge—including leftover vegetables, meat, and poultry. If you have one of those great old cast-iron skillets, use it for this dish. Then you can bring the skillet to the table and serve your frittata family-style. Serve with a tossed green salad and crusty bread.
Makes 6 servings
Hands-on time:… more »
Baked Orzo and Cheese
I can’t tell you how hard I tried when the kids were little to come up with a homemade macaroni and cheese that they would choose to eat over that stuff in the box. They just weren’t interested. But now that they are older and have traveled a little bit, they seem to be open to new tastes. Their affection for this dish is proof.
This recipe is really just a blueprint. It is your basic macaroni and cheese baked… more »
Shrimp Niçoise Salad
Niçoise salad, fairly well known in America these days, is a specialty from the city of Nice in the south of France. It consists of tuna, tomatoes, blanched string beans, boiled potatoes, hard cooked eggs, and a vinaigrette dressing. I have adapted it by pureeing the tuna in the sauce and adding shrimp. You’re welcome to replace the shrimp with the leftover-cooked protein of your choice including turkey, chicken, or ham. A cozy way to serve this salad is to… more »
Fresh and Smoked Salmon Salad
I think smoked salmon is a wonderful secret ingredient, it adds not only a unique salmon taste but also an appealing smokiness, and a little goes a long way. This is my favorite way to cook fresh salmon on a weeknight, drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil and baked in a hot oven. You could make just the baked salmon part of this recipe and then top it with any number of the quick sauces found in Sara’s Secrets … more »
Penne with Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Any excuse to eat ripe tomatoes in season is a good one, but the best reason to check out this delicious vegetarian recipe is that it gives you the chance to sample and support some of the wonderful artisanal cheeses—including homemade fresh goat cheese—now being produced all over the U.S.
Taking a belated cue from the Europeans, small-time American entrepreneurs began to produce great local cheeses about 35 years ago. These producers include people like Miles and Lillian Cahn. After… more »
Basil Chicken Salad with Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato
Time and again viewers of my show e-mail me wondering, “How do I cook white meat chicken so that it doesn’t get tough?” The answer appears to be simple. Don’t overcook it. In fact, that is easier said than done these days. The threat of salmonella requires that you cook your chicken until it is well done. However, there is a brief moment, just before it dries out, when chicken is cooked perfectly. If you poach your chicken breasts according… more »
Chopped Salad with Feta, Chickpeas, and Pita Croutons
I love almost any kind of salad—and the more ingredients, the better. “Chopped Salad,” a catchall for any salad boasting a rich variety of chopped vegetables, is my favorite. This recipe was inspired by a low-fat dish I first encountered several years ago in Gourmet. Created by Chef Ed Brown of New York’s Sea Grill Restaurant, its most interesting ingredients were chickpeas and diced dill pickles. As a big fan of crunch, I transported those two items to my everyday… more »
Arugula Salad with Aged Gouda, Savory Praline, and Mustard Dressing
This is a guests are coming for dinner salad, fancier and more labor intensive than most, but the extra effort really pays off. My husband, the salad hater, scarfed it down so enthusiastically that I added extra arugula to the recipe to stretch it. All the parts can be made ahead, Just toss them together at the last moment.
I tend to prefer so-called bitter greens like arugula to milder ones like romaine and Boston lettuce—but if you don’t, just… more »
Sara’s New Book
|In my newest book, I share more than 200 new family-tested, family-pleasing recipes. Whether you’re new to the kitchen or just looking for a way to spice up your recipe repertoire, my carefully tested quick and easy recipes will help you get dinner on the table every night of the week.