Cooking with Spicy New Flavors

Try these great recipes with pomegranate molasses, Espelette pepper and fennel pollen

by Susan Spungen
Espellete peppers
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

Salad of Tuna, White Beans and Red Peppers
High-quality ingredients make this simple dish worth eating.

Prep time: 10 minutes

  • 1 4-ounce can tuna packed in olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • ½ 14-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 red pepper marinated in olive oil, cut into strips
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion (or 2 sliced scallions, including their green parts)
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1. Put the tuna in a bowl with its oil and the lemon juice. Add the beans, red pepper and onion, and toss gently. If necessary, add a little more olive oil.

2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

Spaghetti Al Limone
Parmesan in a chunk is great for the single cook. Wrap it in wax paper, then foil and put in a plastic bag to keep it moist. It will keep for weeks in the freezer. To calculate the portion of spaghetti for one, make a circle with your thumb and forefinger between the size of a nickel and a quarter. Enough strands to fit inside this circle will amount to about 2 ounces.

Prep time: 12 minutes
Cooking time: 9 minutes

  • 2 ounces spaghetti 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon basil and/or parsley leaves, snipped

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Meanwhile, combine the cheese and the lemon juice in a small mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the olive oil so the mixture is thick and creamy (the cheese will melt into the oil). Stir in the grated lemon zest.

2. Cook the spaghetti until al dente, drain, and empty it into a warmed medium-size bowl.

3. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti, and toss it well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with basil or parsley, and serve.

Pasta Con Le Sarde
A tasty last-minute pasta dish made with ingredients from the pantry.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

  • 2 ounces spaghetti
  • 1 4-ounce can good-quality sardines packed in olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed, drained and dried on paper towels
  • 1 small onion, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • A pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for the spaghetti. Drain the sardines. Put them in a bowl that’s large enough to hold the spaghetti, and cut them into smaller pieces, using a fork.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the capers, and fry, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, until crisp. Remove them with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, about 8 minutes, until translucent. Put them in the bowl with the sardines.

3. Put the spaghetti on to cook. Add remaining oil to skillet. When it’s hot, add the breadcrumbs and the pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook the breadcrumbs until they are lightly browned (3 to 4 minutes). Remove from heat. Add them to the sardines and mix them in with a fork.

4. Drain the spaghetti when it’s al dente, and add it to the bowl. Toss well, and season to taste with the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and capers, and serve. No cheese is necessary with this dish.

Portobello Mushroom and Yukon Gold Potatoes Provençal
This is a vegetarian meal made with a portobello mushroom prepared like a steak. It is rich, meaty and filling.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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