This is a fresh, tart slaw that pairs well with rich chicken, beef, and pork. It’s also tasty on an omelet. The pickled green peppercorns and capers are readily available from Italian or Mediterranean markets, but you can add any salty pickled item that appeals to you.
African bird’s-eye chilies have grown wild for centuries in Malawi, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. They are the main ingredient in this sauce, which is popular throughout Africa. If you can’t find bird’s-eye chilies, you can substitute another pepper, like serrano, which will be milder, or a habanero, which will be hotter. Drizzle this hot sauce over fritters or any other main dish.
Although this version is a bit thicker than a typical barbecue sauce from my hometown of Memphis, the important characteristics are all here: It’s tomato based, tangy, and sweet from rich pomegranate molasses and fresh peaches. Enjoy this sauce over grilled or roasted vegetables, or add it to beans or black-eyed peas for a new take on baked beans.
Blackening is a Cajun technique in which food is coated with a medley of spices and cooked over high heat, usually in a cast-iron skillet or on a grill. To give your food big, complex flavors, toast whole spices, then pulverize them in a mortar or spice grinder. This blackened seasoning pairs well with vegetables like the grilled okra seen here.
Braising softens radish roots and tempers their spicy rawness. The sweet honey and aromatic black pepper in this recipe complement, rather than detract from, the character of the radishes, and the browned edges of the radishes themselves add a flavorful touch.
Think beyond the pea pod. Succulent pea shoots have long been a staple in Chinese cooking, and some U.S. farmers are now growing peas especially for their shoots and leaves. Look for pea shoots in late spring, and enjoy them in any dish as a replacement for greens like spinach, Swiss chard, or kale. You can add raw pea shoots to salads for an extra kick, but wilting them really brings out their flavor.
Garlic scapes are the tender shoots of the garlic plant that grow up and out of the stem, curling their way toward the sky. Most commercial growers remove the scapes to preserve the energy of the garlic bulbs and increase yield. For home cooks, though, they’re a real treat. Look for scapes at farmers’ markets in early summer. You can chop and prepare them like green beans or slice them thinly and sauté to bring out their delicate aroma. Scapes have a far milder taste than mature garlic.