Archives for August 2012

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices and Raita

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices
During the summer, there’s not much that makes me happier than sitting outside with a glass of wine in my hand while the entire dinner cooks on the grill – this is a recipe that allow you to do just that.

Using a cedar plank to grill salmon has a few bonuses: It adds a distinctive smoky flavor, it’s an easier way to cook fragile salmon fillets on the grill, and it makes a great presentation on the table.

Grilling corn for the accompanying relish pulls everything together with the salmon, along with an Indian-inspired spice butter and cooling yogurt raita on the side.

Planked Salmon with Indian Spices and Raita

Serving Size: serves 4


  • 4 ears corn, shucked
  • 1 serrano chile pepper
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori spice mix *
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ pounds skin-on salmon filet
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup chopped seedless cucumber
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Soak a cedar grilling plank in a shallow pan of water (a roasting pan works well) until saturated, at least 2 hours ahead of cooking.
  2. Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling or heat a gas grill to medium high. Roast the corn on the grill until browned on all sides, turning every few minutes. Cool, then slice the kernels off the cobs with a sharp knife. Combine the corn, chile, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
  3. Put the cedar plank on the grill rack and heat until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  4. Mash together the spice mix and butter until blended. Lay the salmon on the cedar plank and season with salt and pepper. Smear the butter over the salmon and place the plank back on the grill. Cover the grill and cook 12 – 15 minutes, or until the salmon is translucent and begins to flake.
  5. Stir together the yogurt, cucumber and cilantro.
  6. Cut the salmon into 4 portions, but not through the skin. Slide each portion off the skin with a spatula. Serve the salmon with some corn relish and raita on the side.


* To make your own tandoori spice blend stir together ¼ teaspoon each ground cumin, turmeric, ginger, coriander, paprika and cayenne pepper.

Blueberry Buttermilk Shortcakes

I’m pretty sure that after graduating as a young cook from the recipe on the side of the yellow bag for chocolate chip cookies, my next adventure in baking was making shortcakes.

This is a recipe that I’ve never bothered to tweak, change or otherwise tamper with, and it’s straight out of the Joy of Cooking. It’s a great way to introduce kids to baking because the dough is fun to play with; you get to pat it out and cut it into chunky circles. And because they bake in about 10 minutes and should be served warm from the oven –with sweet berries and freshly whipped cream! – we’re talking immediate gratification at its finest.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Zucchini and Chili Breadcrumbs

Before my daughter could even form words into a sentence, she’d order herself a plate of bacon in a restaurant just by waving her fork at someone else’s breakfast plate and moaning.

Today happens to be my daughter’s birthday AND National Zucchini Day, so this post seems super appropriate.

Over time I’ve adapted my recipe to include all shapes of pasta, depending on whatever I happen to have on hand. I’ve been known to use frozen baby peas in my Carbonara, but that isn’t a hard and fast rule either. When zucchini is growing in the garden during the summer, in it goes.

The buttery, toasted spicy breadcrumbs are a recent addition to my usual recipe. I love this crunchy garnish, a rustic addition I use with or sometimes without additional cheese, which is traditional in the regional cooking of Italy’s boot heel.

Spaghetti Carbonara with Zucchini and Chili Breadcrumbs

Serving Size: serves 4 - 6


  • 3 slices crusty bread such as ciabatta, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ¼ pound sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into matchsticks or grated in box grater or food processor
  • Salt and fresh black pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for serving
  • Freshly chopped Italian parsley or fresh basil


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the bread with1 tablespoon of the olive oil and chile flakes on a large baking sheet; toast in the oven until crunchy and golden in color, about 15 minutes. Cool and grind the bread in a food processor or blender to form coarse, chunky crumbs.
  2. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil for the spaghetti.
  3. Heat the remaining olive oil and the butter in a skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the prosciutto and cook until the pieces begin to crisp. Stir in the shallot and cook until softened. Add the zucchini to the pan and cook a 2 – 3 minutes, stirring. Season to taste with salt and black pepper – you might not need much salt depending on how salty the prosciutto is, so taste first. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm while you cook the spaghetti.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water then add the spaghetti, cooking until al dente.
  5. Scoop out and reserve 1/3 cup of the water before draining the spaghetti. Whisk the hot water into the beaten eggs a few tablespoons at a time to temper them. Stir the cheese into the eggs.
  6. Put the hot spaghetti in a large bowl and immediately pour the egg mixture over. Add the zucchini mixture to the bowl and toss everything together to coat the spaghetti. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and parsley over the spaghetti and serve with additional Parmesan cheese.