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Bon Appétit, feature story, June 2009

Bon Appetit Jun 2009 Cover 15 Dishes in 15 Minutes

With just 15 minutes of prep, dinner’s on the table. Read on for the recipes – and the tips and tricks of the speedy cook.

Herbed Balsamic Chicken with Blue Cheese

This dish requires just four ingredients (aside from oil, salt, and pepper). Serve with an arugula salad on the side.

6 SERVINGS

6 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each)

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 teaspoons herbes de Provence*

1 3-4 ounce wedge blue cheese, cut into 6 slices

Place chicken in large resealable plastic bag. Whisk vinegar, 3 tablespoons oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Add to chicken; seal bag. Chill 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare barbecue grill (medium high heat. Brush grill rack generously with oil. Arrange chicken on grill. Sprinkle with herbes de Provence, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to plates; top each with a slice of cheese.

*Sold in the spice section of supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Spice-Roasted Cornish Hens with Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce

The hens roast in about half the time it takes to cook a whole chicken. Offer wilted spinach alongside.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

3 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, split lengthwise

1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 3/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

1/2 10-ounce cucumber, peeled, cubed

1/2 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

12 fresh cilantro sprigs

4 garlic cloves, peeled

2 tablespoons sour cream

Position rack in top third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Arrange hens, skin side up, on large rimmed baking sheet. Finely grind cumin and next 3 ingredients in spice mill.

Brush hens with oil. Sprinkle on both sides with spice mixture. Roast hens until cooked through, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine all remaining ingredients in processor. Blend until almost smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Place hens on plates. Serve with sauce.

Rosemary Trout with Cherry Tomato Relish

A couple of rosemary sprigs are all you need to flavor each whole trout. Serve with tabbouleh.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1 pint cherry tomatoes (preferably assorted colors), halved

1 large shallot, chopped

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary plus 8 large sprigs

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Coarse kosher salt

4 10- to 12-ounce whole trout, gutted, boned, heads removed, if desired

Mix tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, and chopped rosemary. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Open trout like book on work surface. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Place 2 rosemary sprigs on each; fold over to close.

Divide 3 tablespoons oil between 2 large nonstick skillets. Place over medium-high heat. Add 2 trout to each skillet. Cook trout until brown outside and just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce alongside.

Mahi Mahi Skewers with Tapenade and Couscous

Purchased tapenade gives rich, briny flavor to the fish and the couscous

4 SERVINGS

1 cup plain couscous (about 6 ounces)

1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, divided

1/3 cup purchased tapenade

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound mahi mahi fillets, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup purchased pico de gallo, drained

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT Metal skewers

Preheat broiler. Bring 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water to boil in heavy medium saucepan. Stir in couscous and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand until water is absorbed and couscous is ender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir tapenade, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt in small bowl to blend. Transfer 3 1/2 tablespoons tapenade mixture to another small bowl and reserve for couscous.

Thread fish pieces onto 4 metal skewers; arrange on broiler tray. Brush fish on both sides with remaining tapenade mixture. Broil fish until just opaque in center, about 4 minutes per side.

Fluff couscous with fork. Gently stir in reserved tapenade mixture. Stir in pico de gallo or serve it alongside. Mound couscous on plates. Top with fish skewers.

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-Fry

Why get takeout when you can make orange chicken so quickly at home?

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice or long-grain white rice (10 to 11 ounces)

3/4 cup orange juice

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced

Large pinch of dried crushed red pepper

1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 8-ounce package stringless sugar snap peas

Cook rice according to package directions. Cover to keep warm; set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk juice, soy sauce, and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Mix in orange peel.

Heat oil in large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add onion and crushed red pepper. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to wok and stir-fry until onion is crisp-tender and chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add sugar snap peas and juice mixture. Toss until sauce thickens and comes to boil and peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with rice.

Hoisin Pork Tenderloin with Asian Carrot Salad

Because it’s such a tender cut, pork tenderloin is relatively quick-cooking – and it’s impressive to serve. Add steamed rice to complete the meal.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1/3 cup hoisin sauce*

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 1-pound pork tenderloins, trimmed

2 cups pre-shredded carrots

1 cup purchased broccoli slaw

1/4 cup purchased Chinese chicken salad dressing

Preheat oven to 450°F. Place rack in 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Add enough water to reach depth of 1/4 inch (it should not touch rack). Stir hoisin and soy sauce in small bowl; brush thickly all over pork. Arrange pork on rack in pan. Pour any remaining sauce over.

Roast pork until internal thermometer inserted into center registers 145°F, about 30 minutes. Transfer pork to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil; let rest 10 minutes (internal temperature will rise slightly).

Meanwhile, toss carrots and all remaining ingredients in large bowl.

Thickly slice pork on slight diagonal. Arrange on platter. Drizzle with any juices from board. Serve with carrot salad.

*Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Jalapeno Crab Cakes with Slaw and Salsa

Serve with warm tortillas.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1 pound fresh crab meat, picked over, patted dry

1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*

2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno chiles (1 to 2 large)

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

4 large eggs, beaten to blend

1/4 cup canola oil or other vegetable oil

4 cups (about 6 ounces) coleslaw mix

2/3 cup purchased salsa

1/3 cup sour cream

Lime wedges

Line rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir in eggs. Using moist hands, shape mixture into 8 cakes, each about 3/4 inch thick. Arrange cakes on prepared sheet.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in each of two medium skillets over medium heat. Add 4 cakes to each. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side.

Mound slaw mix on 4 plates. Top each serving with 2 cakes. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and lime wedges.

*Available in the Asian foods section of some supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Honey-Mustard Chicken Sausage Kebabs

The chicken sausages are a terrific time-saving ingredient: They’re already cooked and full of flavor.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

6 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 small red onion

4 fully cooked sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, each cut into 6 pieces

24 mini bell peppers

Olive oil

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT Metal skewers

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Whisk mustard, honey, and mayonnaise in small bowl to blend. Thread 3 sausage pieces alternately with 3 peppers onto each of 8 skewers and place on baking sheet. Brush with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Grill skewers until vegetables are lightly charred and crisp-tender and sausage is heated through, turning occasionally and brushing with mustard mixture during last 1 or 2 minutes, about 8 minutes total.

Arrange skewers on platter. Brush with any remaining mustard mixture.

Chile and Cheese Tart

Eggs are always a go-to ingredient for the quick cook. Here, they’re used in a quiche-like southwestern tart. Round out the meal with a romaine salad or a cup of gazpacho.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

3/4 cup heavy cream

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 7- to 8-ounce package shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1 7-ounce can diced mild green chiles

1 purchased frozen 8-inch diameter deep-dish pie crust (do not thaw)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion. Cover and cook until just tender, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly.

Whisk cream and next 4 ingredients in bowl to blend. Mix in cheese, chiles, and onion mixture. Pour filling into frozen crust.

Bake tart until golden brown and set in center, about 40 minutes.

Pasta with Goat Cheese, Lemon, and Asparagus

Don’t be tempted to buy pre-crumbled goat cheese, despite the time savings – it won’t melt as well.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1 pound fusilli or rotini (spiral shaped pasta)

1 pound slender asparagus spears, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus sprigs for garnish

1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce package chèvre, crumbled

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until almost tender, stirring occasionally, about 7 minutes. Add asparagus and cook until pasta is tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, combine oil, lemon peel, and chopped tarragon in large bowl. Coarsely crumble in goat cheese.

Drain pasta and asparagus, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Add hot pasta, asparagus, and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to bowl with cheese mixture. Toss to coat, adding more reserved liquid if dry. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to shallow platter. Garnish with tarragon sprigs.

Flank Steak and Chimichurri Salad

The famous Argentine herb sauce is thinned out with a little more olive oil and vinegar to make a bright herbal dressing for the salad. Instead of a big rib eye, this recipe calls for flank steak, a thin cut that’s ideal when you’re pressed for time.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1 large bunch fresh Italian parsley

2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon chipotle hot pepper sauce

1 1 1/2-pound flank steak

8 ounces mixed baby greens

1 12-ounce container marinated small fresh mozzarella balls,* drained

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Combine parsley (with stems), oregano, and garlic in processor and puree; blend 10 seconds. Add 1/2 cup oil, vinegar, and hot pepper sauce; blend until almost smooth. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Brush grill rack with oil. Sprinkle steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill steak to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Transfer steak to work surface; let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, toss greens in large bowl with some dressing. Transfer to large platter. Sprinkle mozzarella over.

Thinly slice steak across grain on slight diagonal. Arrange steak atop greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

*Available in the cheese section of many supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Italian markets.

Portobello Burgers with Pesto, Provolone, and Roasted Red Peppers

Later in the summer, you can use eggplant in place of the portobellos.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1/2 cup prepared pesto

1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 sourdough, whole grain, or ciabatta buns, split horizontally

4 portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills scraped out

Olive oil

Roasted red peppers from jar, drained

4 cup arugula (about 2 ounces)

4 slices provolone cheese

Stir pesto and mayonnaise in small bowl to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Grill rolls, cut side down, until lightly toasted. Transfer to plates. Spread grilled side of rolls with pesto mayonnaise.

Brush mushrooms on both sides with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill, rounded side up, 4 minutes. Turn mushrooms over. Cover and grill until mushrooms are tender, about 4 minutes. Place 1 mushroom on each roll bottom. Top with each with enough red pepper pieces to cover, then with arugula and cheese. Press roll tops over and serve.

Spanish Ham and Cheese Monte Cristo Sandwiches

The egg-dipped ham sandwiches are even better with Spanish ingredients: salty Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and sweet membrillo (quince paste), which is available at some supermarkets, at specialty foods stores, and from igourmet.com.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

8 1/2-inch thick slices sourdough or country-style French bread (each about 5×3 inches)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

6 ounces Manchego cheese,* thinly sliced

2 ounces thinly sliced Serrano ham or prosciutto

4 tablespoons membrillo (quince paste) or quince preserves

4 large eggs

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter

Arrange 4 bread slices on work surface. Spread each with 1/2 tablespoon mustard. Top each with 1/4 cheese, then 1/4 ham, folding it to fit. Spread 1 tablespoon quince paste on each of remaining 4 bread slices; place bread, paste side down, atop ham.

Beat eggs in pie dish until well blended. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in each of 2 large skillets over medium-low heat. Working with 1 sandwich at a time, hold sandwiches tightly closed and dip into beaten eggs to coat on all sides. Place 2 sandwiches in each skillet. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden, about 4 minutes. Turn sandwiches over. Cover and cook until bottoms are golden, cheese is melted, and egg coating is cooked through, about 4 minutes longer.

*A Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk; sold at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores.

Shrimp Scampi with Green Onions and Orzo

This dish is like risotto (only quicker and easier) and features cooked orzo topped with garlicky shrimp.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

3/4 cup orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined

4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/3 cup dry white wine

Cook orzo in large saucepan of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter with oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic; stir 10 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Add green onions and toss until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 1 minute longer. Add wine and toss until wine boils, about 1 minute. Mix in remaining 2 tablespoons butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Drain pasta; transfer to large bowl. Top with shrimp and onion-garlic butter.

Chicken and Watercress Salad with Almonds and Feta

Supermarket roast chicken can be easily dressed up, as in this lovely salad. Look for almond oil at some supermarkets and at specialty food stores.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1 shallot, chopped

3 tablespoons almond oil, walnut oil, or grapeseed oil

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil

3 large bunches watercress, thick stems trimmed

2 fully cooked chicken breast halves, meat torn into bite-sized pieces

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

4 apricots, pitted, each half cut into 3 wedges

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Combine vinegar and shallot in medium bowl. Whisk in both oils. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Place watercress, chicken, cheese, and apricots in large bowl. Add dressing; toss. Divide salad among 4 plates. Sprinkle each with almonds.