Good morning. Summer may not start until the 21st, but I’m cooking as if it were the high season already: grilled proteins and spicy sauces; slaws everywhere; steamed clams as often as I can manage. I can’t wait to bring Hetty McKinnon’s new recipe for crispy gnocchi with tomatoes and red onion (above) into the mix, a dish inspired by Tuscan panzanella, with the gnocchi taking the place of the traditional stale bread. It’s heavy foreshadowing, a taste of August in June.
I’m also partial to Melissa Clark’s new recipe for egg-in-a-hole with asparagus, which is like a savory Parmesan French toast served beneath a thatch of roasted asparagus. You can make it on a single sheet pan for an easy midweek dinner that allows time to consider all that you will cook in coming days.
Like, for instance, Nargisse Benkabbou’s baked chicken, which pairs chicken legs with tfaya, a classic Moroccan garnish of sweet-savory caramelized onions and raisins. Also, Colu Henry’s shrimp linguine with herbs, corn and arugula. And Tejal Rao’s delightful beans and garlic toast in broth.
Me, I’ll knock out Ferran Adrià’s potato chip omelet, too, as well as Kay Chun’s sesame salmon bowls and Sarah DiGregorio’s slow-cooker honey- and soy-braised pork with lime and ginger.
And at some point, all those who can find them should be making soft-shell crabs. David Tanis serves them with curry butter, and Melissa Clark broils them over toast. I take the no-recipe recipe approach, getting some oil on them so a sprinkle of Wondra and a little Old Bay will stick, then searing them top-side down in a wide skillet until they develop a crust, and flipping them over for just a minute or so to finish. I serve each crab on a potato bun with a thick slice of tomato and a smear of mayonnaise, which is pretty humble for a pricey unit of seafood. You might put them on a pile of spring greens with a squeeze of lemon instead. That’s all the dressing you need given the amount of “sauce” within each crab.
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Jeremy Redmon wrote a searing and difficult memoir of his father’s death from suicide for The Oxford American, and it’s very much worth reading.