Shrimp Cakes, Stir-Fried Snow Peas & RomaineHere’s a meal that celebrates summertime, with its ingredients and its ease. Both recipes called out to me from the April 2015 issue of Food and Wine.

The “Shrimp Cakes” (recipe below) were easy to assemble and fry.

Shrimp Cakes
Food and Wine, April 2015
Makes 8 cakes

1 lb. chopped raw shrimp
3/4 cup panko
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. minced scallions
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Form into eight 3/4-inch-thick cakes. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. In batches, cook the shrimp cakes over moderately high heat, turning once, 4 minutes total.

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I “chopped” my raw shrimp in my food processor, so the texture was ideal for my cakes. It’s a gratifying pleasure to put all these ingredients in a big bowl, then form eight cakes with my hands. The smoky paprika made its place known in the final flavors.

Also, I made the “Stir-Fried Snow Peas and Romaine,” because I love the opportunity to stir-fry lettuce: the results are always wonderful, in taste and texture, and I don’t do it enough (why?). You’ll spend the most time here stringing your snow peas. Enjoy the tediousness of this task, because you’ll regret not doing it. And here’s a great gimmick: the frizzled capers! Appreciate all of this.

Shrimp (1 lb.) = $19.12
Snow Peas (1 lb.) = $2.19
Romaine Lettuce (1 lb.) = $2.73

PREP TIMES: shrimp cakes need less than 30 minutes to prep and fry; boil an egg, string the snow peas, frizzle the capers, quickly stir-fry the greens
smoky paprika in perfect shrimp cakes; salty capers with stir-fried lettuce whose texture is better cooked than raw

Next time, I will delve into a cookbook, published in 2014 by Diana Henry, called A Change Of Appetite. I’ll try the “Sicilian Artichoke and Fava Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing” and the “Persian Spice Bread” (recipes below). Come back to my site next week, to see what happens with these.

Sicilian Artichoke and Fava Bean Salad with Saffron Dressing
A Change Of Appetite, Diana Henry
Serves 4 as a light lunch

1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
good pinch of saffron stamens
1 tsp. honey
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained
3 cups shelled fava beans
1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
4 shallots, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4-1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
leaves from 1 bunch of mint, torn

Put the raisins to soak in boiling water for 30 minutes, then drain. Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, and saffron in a small saucepan and gently heating; the saffron will color and flavor the liquid as it heats. Let cool, then whisk in the honey, salt and black pepper, and extra-virgin oil. Slice the artichoke hearts, put them in a serving dish, pour on the dressing, and gently turn to coat. It really helps the artichokes if they can sit in this for a while (an hour is great).

Put the fava beans in a saucepan with boiling water and cook until they are tender (about three minutes). Drain, run them under cold water, and then slip off the skins. Set aside.

Heat the regular olive oil and gently sauté the shallots until soft and pale gold, then add the garlic and chile and sauté for another minute. Scrape these into the dish with the artichokes. Add all the other ingredients to the dish and gently toss together. Taste for seasoning and sweet-savory balance, then serve.

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Persian Spice Bread
A Change Of Appetite, Diana Henry
Makes 8 rolls

1 1/4 tsp. active dried yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup warm water
1 egg, lightly beaten, plus 1 egg yolk, to glaze
1 Tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to oil
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra to dust
1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. tumeric
1/3 cup chopped pitted dates
2 1/2 Tbsp. butter, cut into 8 pats
1 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds, lightly crushed

Put the yeast into a bowl with 1/4 tsp. of the sugar and 3 1/2 Tbsp. of the water and let stand in a warm place to froth (it will take about 15 minutes). Mix half the beaten egg (retain the other half) with the 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.

Mix together the flours, salt, remaining sugar, and the turmeric in a bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in the frothy yeast followed by the egg and oil mixture. Add the remaining water. Gradually bring the dry ingredients into the middle, using a blunt knife, then start working the mixture with your hands.

Knead for 10 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and feels elastic. Very lightly oil the ball of dough with your hands, then put it into a bowl and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place to rise for an hour (it should double in size). Punch down the dough, then return it to the bowl and let stand, covered with the plastic wrap, for another hour.

Divide the dough into eight equal balls. Roll each out on a lightly floured surface into a circle about 5 inches across. Divide the dates among these, putting them in the center, and put a little pat of butter on top of the dates. Pull the dough up over the dates and butter, pinch it, then smooth it over and turn what is now a ball of dough over so the seam is underneath. Set these on a nonstick baking sheet, cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix the reserved half egg with the egg yolk. Brush the tops of each roll with it and sprinkle with the cumin seeds. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, by which time the rolls should be golden brown and cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.