Spring Side Dishes
Pan-Roasted Asparagus with Cherry Tomatoes and Black Olives
To vary our pan-roasted asparagus recipe, we wanted to add other vegetables to the same skillet, even though the pan was already crowded. The answer was to divide and conquer. We cooked the accent vegetable first, removed it from the pan, and wiped the pan clean. The asparagus could then be cooked on its own in the now-empty pan, plated, and garnished with the other vegetables, giving us a variety of asparagus side dish recipes to enjoy.
Napa Cabbage Slaws
"While traditional green cabbage has long been the favorite for making coleslaw, napa cabbage is a great alternative. Its crinkly, thin leaves have a more tender texture and a sweeter flavor that can put a new spin on the picnic classic. While our traditional slaw recipes call for salting the cabbage to draw out excess liquid and soften the dense leaves, I wanted to retain napa cabbage’s delicate texture. I found that even a brief salting made the shreds too limp, so I decided to skip it. But simply tossing the shredded cabbage with dressing didn’t work either; I ended up with a waterlogged, bland slaw. It turns out that what gives napa cabbage its appealing tenderness—thinner, weaker cell walls—is also a liability."
The Nicest Rice
Korean Rice Bowl (Dolsot Bibimbap)
Simple rice bowls—individual portions of rice topped with vegetables, eggs, and spicy sauce—are popular across Asia, but the crisp crust on Korean dolsot bibimbap makes it the ultimate version. Unfortunately, making bibimbap requires special stone bowls, a lot of sautéing, and a lot of knife work. We make a more approachable, family-style bibimbap by substituting one enameled cast-iron Dutch oven for a set of stone bowls, using just three easily prepared sautéed vegetable toppings instead of the usual six or more, and turning the pickles, sauce, and vegetables into make-ahead options. Skipping the traditional step of rinsing the rice before steaming it saves time and makes no discernible difference to the finished dish. A quickly pickled mixture of bean sprouts and cucumbers adds crisp brightness.
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"Paging Mrs. Jetson! The future is here—or so some multicooker manufacturers would have us believe. Multicookers are electric pots that promise to do it all. What “it all” means varies from product to product. Some multicookers are simply slow cookers with searing functions; others promise to be a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker, and skillet all in one. Ambitious. If successful, they’d cut down on the equipment a well-stocked kitchen needs, saving space and money—the total cost of the equipment these appliances promise to replace tops $500.00, while multicookers cost only half that or less. We had to put them to the test."