Pressure Cooker

Smash! Pound! Grind! Thwack! Forget “if you can read, you can cook.” These recipes are all about bringing some brawn to bear. So get out the brick, the mallet, the rolling pin. Your dinner (and your biceps) will be the better for it.

By Susan Spungen

CHICKEN UNDER A BRICK
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes plus 1 hour
for marinating
Serves 4
1 3½-pound chicken
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled,
lightly smashed
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon roughly chopped
rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
½ teaspoon freshly ground black
pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. If the chicken is whole, use kitchen scissors and a large knife to cut along each side of the backbone to remove. Turn the chicken over, breast side up, and flatten. Cut through the middle of the breast to form two halves. Cut out the large piece of cartilage attached to one of the breasts. Cut off the wing tips. (You can, of course, have your butcher do all this for you.) Discard bones. Place chicken in a large bowl or -plastic bag. Add the red pepper, salt, garlic, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the rosemary, thyme and black pepper. Rub to distribute. Refrigerate to marinate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

2. Preheat the oven to 450º. Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on the stove over -medium-high heat for 5 -minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and cook the chicken, skin side down with a heavy weight on top (such as a brick wrapped in foil or a smaller cast-iron skillet with a grill weight), for 20 minutes, rotating pan and checking occasionally to ensure even browning. Re-move weight, and carefully turn chicken so it is skin side up. Add the garlic from the marinade to the -skillet, and transfer skillet to the oven to finish cooking, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with the garlic and lemon.

PRESSED REUBEN SANDWICH
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes
Makes 4 sandwiches
½ cup Thousand Island dressing
1½ teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce,
optional
8 slices rye bread
¾ pound corned beef, sliced
11⁄3 cups drained sauerkraut
½ pound sliced Swiss cheese
3 tablespoons unsalted butter,
softened

1. Mix the Thousand Island dressing with the Sriracha to taste. Slather about a tablespoon onto each slice of bread. Layer each of four bread slices with 3 ounces corned beef, 1⁄3 cup sauerkraut and 2 ounces Swiss cheese; top with another slice. Spread softened butter on the outside of each sandwich, about 1 teaspoon on each side.

2. Heat a large pan or a panini griddle over medium heat until hot. Grill each sandwich with a weight on top until cheese is melted, bread is golden brown and sandwich is hot, 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

RUSTIC APRICOT TART
Prep time: 43 minutes
Baking time: 45 minutes plus
30 minutes for chilling
Makes one 9-inch tart
Crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
9 tablespoons unsalted butter,
cold, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons ice water
1 egg yolk
Filling
8 fresh apricots, pitted
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam or
preserves
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
or sliced almonds

1. To make the crust: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until butter pieces are the size of peas. In a small cup, combine the water and egg yolk. Add the water mixture with the machine running. Process for 15 to 30 seconds, until dough begins to come together. Turn into a large bowl, and knead quickly into a rough mass. Place on a sheet of plastic wrap, and gather the wrap around the dough. Flatten into a 7-inch round disk, and chill until firm, at least 30 minutes.

2. Place the disk on the countertop, and whack with a rolling pin to soften the dough. Sprinkle the counter, dough and rolling pin with a little flour to prevent sticking, and roll the dough into a circle, about 3⁄8 inch thick and 14 inches in diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and chill until firm again, about 10 minutes.

3. To make the filling: Preheat the oven to 400º. Cut the apricots into quarters. Combine the flour and 2 tablespoons sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Arrange apricots, cut sides up, in concentric rings, leaving a 2-inch border. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons sugar. Fold up the edges of the dough over the fruit, and press down lightly to pleat. Patch up any tears in the dough using a little cold water and a piece of dough from the edge. Brush edges of dough with cold water, and sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar.

4. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes, and reduce oven heat to 375°. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes more, turning the tart halfway through the baking time, until golden brown on edges and bubbling. Place baking sheet on a rack to cool. If any syrup leaked from the tart during baking, loosen with a spatula while it is still warm.

5. Microwave the jam in a small -microwave-safe bowl, and brush the fruit with it. Sprinkle with the nuts, and let cool completely. Slide parchment paper and tart together onto a serving platter, and slip the paper out.

 

SHRIMP TACOS
Prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cooking time: 18 minutes plus
15 minutes’ resting time
Makes 8 tacos
Tortillas
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold vegetable
shortening
¾ cup warm water, plus more
if needed
Crema
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons crème fraîche
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt, to taste
Taco Filling
¾ pound peeled and deveined
medium shrimp
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of black pepper
½ small head green cabbage,
finely shredded
Cilantro leaves, chopped
tomatoes, salsa and lime
wedges for serving

1. To make the tortillas: Combine the flour and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the shortening, and pulse until incorporated. Add the water with the machine running. Process to knead the dough until smooth, about 1 minute. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal portions. Roll into balls, place on sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 15 -minutes.

2. To make the tacos: Heat a dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Place a dough ball in a tortilla press between 2 sheets of plastic wrap, and press into a circle, or roll out with a rolling pin. Pick up dough, and gently stretch and pull with your hand to make the circle about an inch larger in diameter. Cook in the heated pan until dark golden spots form, about 1 minute on each side. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining dough. Cover tortillas with plastic wrap so they don’t dry out.

3. To make the crema: In a mini blender, puree the avocado, crème fraîche, lime juice and salt until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside.

4. To make the filling: Heat a large skillet or grill over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp with the lime juice, olive oil, chili powder and pepper. Sauté or grill shrimp, in batches if necessary, until slightly charred and cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes for each side.

5. To assemble: Layer each tortilla with shredded cabbage, 3 shrimp, a dollop of avocado crema, cilantro leaves and tomatoes. Serve immediately with salsa and lime wedges.

PARMESAN-OLIVE MASHED POTATOES
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
2 pounds russet potatoes
Salt
1 cup hot whole milk, plus more if needed
½ cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
5 Kalamata olives, pitted and slivered

1. Scrub potatoes, cut in half, and place in a large pot. Cover with cold water, and add ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain, and let cool enough to slip off the skins.

2. Put potatoes through a ricer, and return to cooking pot. Add the hot milk, and stir to combine. Stir in the crème fraîche, olive oil and Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in olives, and add more milk if needed to achieve a creamy consistency. Serve immediately.

BEEF PAILLARDS WITH GREEN BEAN SALAD
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves 4

4 4-ounce portions beef tenderloin
Extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces haricots verts or green beans
Salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
Pepper
1 tomato, cored, seeded and
thinly sliced lengthwise
4 cups baby arugula
Fresh Parmesan for garnish

1. Rub a piece of beef with a little bit of the olive oil, and place between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound until about 1⁄8 inch thick using a meat mallet or pounder. Repeat with remaining beef. Refrigerate.

2. Slice the beans lengthwise (French cut), then briefly blanch in salted boiling water, and refresh in ice water. Drain well, and pat dry. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, vinegar, shallot, salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil while whisking. Toss beans and tomato together with the vinaigrette. Divide arugula among four plates, and top with bean salad.

3. Drizzle the beef with a little olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Heat grill or grill pan over high heat. Grill beef 1 minute per side. Serve alongside bean salad, topped with shaved Parmesan.

INDIAN-SPICED LAMB SKEWERS
Prep time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 4

Lamb
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
¼ teaspoon black peppercorns
1 small dried red árbol chile
(or ¼ teaspoon crushed
red pepper flakes)
1¾ pounds top round of lamb,

cut into 16 1½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cucumber Salad
12 ounces fat-free or 2% Greek yogurt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Pinch of freshly ground black
pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded
and cut into matchsticks
8 leaves Boston lettuce
Carrot ribbons, for garnish

1. To make the lamb: Combine the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a small dry pan. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and slightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar. Add the peppercorns and red chile. Grind with a pestle to make a coarse powder.

2. In a medium bowl, toss the lamb with the ground spices, ginger, salt, oil, and lemon juice. Marinate in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours (or at least 30 minutes).

3. To make the cucumber salad: Whisk together the yogurt, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper. Stir in cilantro, and toss with cucumber.

4. Skewer cubes of lamb onto each of 4 skewers. Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

5. Place 2 lettuce leaves on each of 4 plates. Top with the cucumber salad and a skewer, and garnish with carrot ribbons.

First Published Mon, 2011-04-18 08:34

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