Simple, nutritious and flexible recipes for everyone at your table—from meat eaters to vegetarians and everyone in between—from Roslyn Heights native Peter Berley.
Quinoa Salad with Green Beans, Corn and Tomatoes
If you have tender young green beans that are so sweet you could eat them raw, just blanch them briefly along with the corn. They’ll take the same amount of time. But try a bean first—if it seems a little tough, boil the beans separately, as described below, to be sure they cook through. I like to use red quinoa here, which is nutty-tasting and has a striking mahogany color, but you can use any kind.
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup red quinoa
- Sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 ears corn, shucked
- 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered or halved if small
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon if using pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
In a small pot, combine the quinoa with 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat slightly, cover and simmer until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
Spread the quinoa on a rimmed baking sheet, set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the corn and boil, uncovered, until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Lift the corn from the water, leaving the water over the heat and rinse under cold water until cool. Drain well.
Add the green beans to the water and boil, uncovered, until crisp-tender, 3 to 5 minutes, or longer if necessary. Drain the beans and spread them on a towel-lined baking sheet to cool.
One at a time, hold each ear of corn upright on a cutting board and slide a knife down the cob from top to bottom to slice off the kernels.
In a large serving bowl, toss together the quinoa, green beans, corn and tomatoes.
If using pumpkin seeds, heat 1 teaspoon of the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seeds and toast, tossing until they begin to make popping sounds and are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
Toss the salad with ¼ cup of the olive oil, the lemon juice and ½ teaspoon salt or to taste. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds (if using), parsley and chives.
Pea Shoot, Radish and Smoked Trout/Tofu Salad
This salad was inspired by a smoked trout and daikon radish salad I had at Ici, a great little place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I loved the pairing of the smoky protein and crunchy radish, so I created my own version with smoked tofu or smoked trout, or both. The soft texture and rich flavor of the protein are offset by the crisp, refreshing radish. I use toasted sesame oil in the dressing, which has a complementary smokiness. When I tested the recipe, Emma, my then teenage daughter, devoured about three quarters of the bowl, so I knew I was on to something.
Tip: If you have a mandoline or Benriner, it will make short work of slicing the radish and julienning the daikon and carrot. Otherwise, use your sharpest knife—thin radish slices will make the salad much more elegant.
Serves 4: 2 Servings Trout; 2 Servings Tofu
- 1 cup red radish matchsticks
- 1 cup daikon radish matchsticks
- 1 cup carrot matchsticks
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 3½-ounce package (about 3 cups) sweet pea shoots or large mild sprouts, such as sunflower
- 2 teaspoons fresh mint, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh chives, finely chopped
- 1 fillet smoked trout (about 4 ounces), skin removed and coarsely chopped
- 3 ounces (half a standard package) smoked tofu, cut into matchsticks
- 2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, preferably naturally brewed
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, lightly toasted, for garnish
For the Salad: In a medium bowl, toss together the red radishes, daikon, carrots and salt. Transfer to a strainer, set it over the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes to drain. Squeeze the excess water from the salted vegetables and transfer them to a large bowl. Toss with the pea shoots or sprouts, the mint and the chives. Divide the salad between two bowls. Add the trout to one bowl and the tofu to the other and toss well.
For the Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except the sesame seeds. Pour half the vinaigrette over each salad and toss well. Garnish with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Charmoula Lamb/Tempeh Kebabs
Charmoula is a Moroccan mix of spices and lemon—if you’ve ever eaten in North African restaurants, you’ll recognize its bright, savory flavor. Lamb from the neck, which is often sold for kebabs, will work well here, but I prefer to buy boneless leg of lamb and cut it into cubes myself, as the meat is leaner and will absorb the seasonings more quickly.
Note: Double either the tempeh or the lamb to serve only one kind of kebab.
Tip: There’s no such thing as medium-rare tempeh—it becomes palatable only when it’s fully cooked—so simmering is necessary before the final grilling, which gives the tempeh a charred, smoky flavor.
Serves 4: 2 servings lamb; 2 servings tempeh
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- ½ cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2½ teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin, preferably toasted and freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander, preferably toasted and freshly ground
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 12 ounces boneless lamb, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- 8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1½-inch cubes
- Assorted vegetables, such as summer squash, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and onions (optional)
For the Charmoula: In a food processor, combine the lemon juice, parsley, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander, paprika and cayenne and process to a smooth paste. Add the oil and process until thoroughly combined.
For the Lamb: Place the cubed lamb in a bowl, add half the charmoula and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Soak four 10- to 12-inch or eight 4- to 6-inch wooden skewers in cold water for at least 1 hour, or use metal skewers. Light a grill fire.
For the Tempeh: Whisk the remaining charmoula with 2/3 cup water. Arrange the tempeh cubes in one layer in a large skillet and pour the charmoula mixture over them. Bring to a simmer over high heat, cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the white streaks in the tempeh have disappeared, so the color is uniform all the way through, about 15 minutes. If the pan looks dry before the tempeh is cooked through, add a little more water.
Thread the lamb and tempeh (separately) onto the skewers, alternating with the optional vegetables, if desired. Grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until well charred on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Serve.
Roslyn Heights native Peter Berley is a private chef, cookbook author and culinary instructor. He has spent the past 30 years devoted to the development of local sustainable food systems and the fate of home cooking in America. He has also written The Modern Vegetarian Kitchen and Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour. He holds classes at The Institute of Culinary Education and The Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, and launched North Fork Kitchen and Garden Culinary Studio in South Jamesport four years ago.