Peaches With Rosemary-Mascarpone Whipped Cream
This is an Italian twist on the classic American peaches and cream. Fresh rosemary and mascarpone flavor the cream, while store-bought pizzelle — Italian waffle cookies — serve as crispy, elegant platforms for the sliced peaches. The rosemary needs to steep in the cream for at least 2 hours and preferably 4 hours to impart maximum flavor.
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped rosemary, plus rosemary sprigs for garnish
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 pounds peaches (about 3), pitted and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1/2 cup mascarpone
Combine the rosemary and cream in a small bowl or other container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably 4.
Place the peaches in a medium bowl, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, toss well and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Combine the mascarpone, salt and the remaining 2 teaspoons of brown sugar in a medium bowl, stirring to mix thoroughly.
Pour the cream through a fine-mesh strainer into the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer, discarding the chopped rosemary. Beat the cream at high speed until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.
To assemble, set a pizzella in the middle of each plate. Spread some of the cream mixture on each pizzella, then top with peach slices, fanning them decoratively if desired. Drizzle with any juices from the macerated fruit, if desired, and garnish with rosemary sprigs. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 250 calories, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 20 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 70 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 12 g sugar.
Herbed Pita Bread Salad
In this play on the Mediterranean bread salad fattoush, stale pita bread gets revived by juicy tomatoes, a briny mix of olives and pepperoncini, and a sharp vinaigrette. Look for fresh-smoked mozzarella, which has a soft, creamy texture in addition to the smoky flavor. Leftover green beans, grilled asparagus or corn could also find a home in this salad.
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved (use different colors for visual interest)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
1/2 cup olive oil, or more to taste
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/4 cup chopped pepperoncini
2 whole-wheat pitas, left out overnight to go stale, then broken up into 1-inch pieces
1 large head Boston lettuce, cored, cut into 2-inch pieces, rinsed and spun dry
6 ounces smoked mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 leaves basil, torn into large pieces
3 tablespoons chopped parsley, preferably flat-leaf
Place the tomatoes in a large bowl, toss with the salt, and let them sit for 10 minutes to pull out their juices.
Whisk together the vinegar and olive oil in a medium bowl and add about 3/4 of it to the tomatoes along with the olives and pepperoncini. Toss to combine. Add the pita, toss and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Add the lettuce, mozzarella, basil and parsley; toss to thoroughly combine. Taste, and add more of the dressing mixture or salt as needed. Serve immediately. Makes 10 servings.
Per serving: 180 calories, 5 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 10 mg cholesterol, 550 mg sodium, 2 g dietary fiber, 2 g sugar.
Spicy Noodle Salad With Sesame-Hoisin Chicken
Dried cellophane noodles made from mung beans need only a brief soaking in hot water to become tender and translucent.
For the salad
3 3/4 ounces packaged mung bean noodles
2 to 3 bok choy, halved, cored, rinsed and spun dry
2 medium carrots (or 1 large carrot), peeled and trimmed, then shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
4 scallions (white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes), or more to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, or more to taste
1 to 3 Thai chili peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
For the chicken
3 cups shredded or diced store-bought rotisserie chicken
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
For the salad: Fill a large bowl with 4 cups of very hot water. Add the noodles and let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes or until they become tender. Drain them and rinse under cold running water to cool them to room temperature. Let them drain in a colander.
Meanwhile, thinly slice the bok choy to yield 4 cups and transfer it to a large bowl. Add the carrots, scallions and 1 teaspoon of salt; stir to combine. Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes or until the vegetables start to wilt.
Combine the lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and chilies to taste in a small bowl, whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Add the mixture to the vegetables along with the noodles and cilantro. Toss to combine, then let the salad sit for several minutes to marinate. Toss again; taste, and add lime juice, fish sauce or salt as needed.
For the chicken: Place the chicken in a large bowl.
Combine the hoisin sauce, oil and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Add a couple tablespoons of cold water and whisk to combine. If the mixture does not thin to a pourable consistency, whisk in a little more water. Add to the chicken and toss to combine.
To serve, divide the salad mixture among individual plates, top equally with the chicken, and sprinkle with cilantro for a garnish. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 330 calories, 35 g protein, 29 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 90 mg cholesterol, 1,170 mg sodium, 3 g dietary fiber, 11 g sugar.
Salami, Fennel and Arugula Panini
In their most basic form, panini are simply sandwiches to Italians. The whole griddle/press thing isn’t required, particularly on days when it’s 100 degrees outside. In this case, look for great, crusty bread to provide the desired crunch. You’ll probably have leftover aioli, which can be used as a sandwich spread or as an accompaniment for fish, meat or vegetables.
For the aioli
1 jarred roasted pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Freshly ground pepper
For the sandwich
1/2 bulb fennel (about 1/2 pound), trimmed, cored and thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
3 cups arugula (about 2 ounces)
3/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano curls (use a peeler)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 slices olive bread
1/2 pound thinly sliced salami
For the aioli: Drain the red pepper in a strainer or colander, use a paper towel to pat it as dry as possible and coarsely chop it. The yield is about 1/2 cup. Process it in a food processor until the pepper is finely chopped. Add the mayonnaise and garlic, and process until smooth. Fold in the thyme, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
For the sandwich: Place the fennel in a large bowl, sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and let it sit for 5 minutes, so it starts to wilt. Add the arugula and cheese curls; then add the oil, vinegar and another light sprinkling of salt.
Spread aioli on 1 side of each slice of bread. Top 4 slices of the bread with equal amounts of the salami, then with a mound of the fennel-arugula mixture. Top with the remaining bread, cut each sandwich in half, and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Note: Ingredients are too varied for a meaningful analysis.
Smoked Salmon Sandwiches With Quick Pickles
These are a cross between tea sandwiches and a Sunday morning bagel and lox. The ricotta is a little sweeter than cream cheese, and the sharpness of the pickles is a fine counterpoint. Grind the pepper coarsely for the pickles, so it adds some texture.
1/2 English cucumber (about 1/2 pound), cut into 1/4-inch rounds
Coarsely ground pepper
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup ricotta (preferably whole milk)
1/4 cup thinly sliced chives
2 tablespoons capers, chopped
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon (2 to 3 teaspoons)
8 thick slices crusty pumpernickel bread
4 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
Combine the cucumber, 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons of pepper in a medium bowl and let the mixture marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes, tossing occasionally. Add the vinegar, toss to combine and and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
While the cucumber is marinating, combine the ricotta, chives, capers and lemon zest in a medium bowl. Season lightly with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble the sandwiches, spread the ricotta mixture equally on one side of each slice of bread. Top four of the slices with the salmon, then with the cucumber. Top with the remaining bread slices, cut the sandwiches in half, and serve. Makes 4 sandwiches.
Note: Ingredients are too varied for a meaningful analysis.