1 ½ pounds mixed mushrooms, such as maitake, oyster, cremini or shiitake, torn into bite-size pieces
1 to 2 fresh red or green chiles, such as Fresno, thinly sliced (or 3/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes)
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce, plus more to taste
¼ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar, plus more to taste
8 to 10 ounces noodles, such as udon, soba, rice or spaghetti
2 cups herbs (tender leaves and stems), such as cilantro, mint, chives, parsley or a mix, for serving
Sesame seeds, sesame oil or both, for serving (optional)
Heat oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic and shallots, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots start to turn a nice golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add mushrooms and half the chile, and season with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have softened, released much of their water and turned a deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. (A browned mushroom will have infinitely more flavor than an unbrowned mushroom, because the water inside it evaporates and the flavor concentrates. So do not skip this step.)
Add 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup vinegar and 8 cups of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer until the flavors have melded and the broth tastes good enough to drink (you will be drinking it), 15 to 20 minutes. Season with more soy sauce and vinegar as you like.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. (The timing will depend on the type and brand of noodles, so consult the package.) Add the noodles to the pot with the broth, and let them hang out in there for a minute or two to finish cooking and soak up all that flavor.
To serve, use tongs to divide the noodles and mushrooms among bowls, then ladle the hot broth over the top. Serve with the remaining chile, the herbs and the sesame seeds and oil (if using) for people to dress their own bowls to their liking.
Extra-virgin olive oil 3large shallots, diced, about 1 cup 4garlic cloves, minced Salt and pepper
2pounds large ripe tomatoes
½teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 ½pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4ounces Greek feta cheese
½teaspoon dried oregano
2tablespoons roughly chopped mint
Put 4 tablespoons olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 to 8 minutes. Lower heat as necessary to keep mixture from browning. Remove from heat while preparing tomatoes.
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add whole tomatoes and cook for about 2 minutes, until skins loosen. Immediately plunge tomatoes in a bowl of cold water to cool, then drain. With a paring knife, core tomatoes and slip off skins. Cut tomatoes into thick wedges.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Return skillet to stove over medium-high heat. Add tomato wedges and season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, until mixture is juicy and tomatoes have softened, about 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a shallow earthenware baking dish.
Put shrimp in a mixing bowl. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, season shrimp with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Arrange shrimp over tomato mixture in one layer. Crumble cheese over surface and sprinkle with oregano.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until tomatoes are bubbling and cheese has browned slightly. Remove from oven and let dish rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mint and serve.
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
3 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, and stemmed shiitake, thickly sliced or quartered
3/4 cup brine, strained from a jar of dill pickles
In a very large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat, swirling, until the butter is golden, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/3 of the pickle brine and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving bowl and keep warm. Repeat the process 2 more times with the remaining butter, olive oil, mushrooms and pickle brine. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Maybe nobody told you that tossing pickle brine is just like tipping a perfectly good bottle of vinegar or fish sauce or Worcestershire down the drain. Maybe you never heard that you could cook with brine, not just use it as a bracing, salty slap to chase your sorrows. Or maybe you assumed that brine would always take over, setting its vinegar and salt and spice on top of everything else. You might even have slipped some pickle juice into potato salad or Bloody Marys, where blandness signals a crushing defeat.
1stick plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3medium shallots, thinly sliced (1 1/2 cups)
3pounds mixed mushrooms, such as cremini, oyster, and stemmed shiitake, thickly sliced or quartered
3/4cup brine, strained from a jar of dill pickles
In a very large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderately high heat, swirling, until the butter is golden, about 2 minutes. Add 1/3 of the shallots to the skillet and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute. Add 1/3 of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 1/3 of the pickle brine and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute. Transfer the mushrooms to a serving bowl and keep warm.
Repeat the process 2 more times with the remaining butter, olive oil, mushrooms and pickle brine. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper to taste and serve.
4 (8-ounce) fish fillets such as red snapper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces crème fraîche
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons drained capers
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. (You can also use an ovenproof baking dish.) Place the fish fillets skin side down on the sheet pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Combine the crème fraîche, two mustards, shallots, capers, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Spoon the sauce evenly over the fish fillets, making sure the fish is completely covered. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, until it’s barely done. (The fish will flake easily at the thickest part when it’s done.) Be sure not to overcook it! Serve hot or at room temperature with the sauce from the pan spooned over the top. (Serves 4)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup minced celery
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1 quart half-and-half cream
2 (12 ounce) containers fresh shucked oysters, undrained
salt and ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne
dash of worstershire sauce
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, and cook the celery and shallots until shallots are tender.
Pour half-and-half into a large pot over medium-high heat. Mix in the butter, celery, and shallot mixture. Stir continuously. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour the oysters and their liquid into the pot. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Stir continuously until the oysters curl at the ends. When the oysters curl the stew is finished cooking; turn off the heat and serve.