Easy recipes: five things to cook in hot weather

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IIf you own a barbecue, what a quick and delicious way to cook dinner on a weeknight.

Even if you don’t do anything fancy with it, it’s fine to put sausages or fish in it at dusk. (For people without a grill, these recipes also work well in the oven.)

And no matter how you prepare them, spring-bright ingredients are a delight. Here are the five dishes to cook this week.

Garlic chicken with guasacaca sauce

Guasacaca is one of the wonderful condiments of Venezuelan cuisine

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Simple to prepare, versatile and complex in flavor, guasacaca sauce is one of the wonderful condiments in Venezuelan cuisine. Creamy from the addition of avocado with a crisp, tangy herbal base and lime, it makes an evocative pairing for any vegetarian, seafood or meat dish. Here it accompanies a griddle dinner of roast chicken and carrots but will also do well with anything off the grill.

Through: Yewande Komolafe

Makes: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

125ml olive oil

3 large garlic cloves, peeled

680 g carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into 5 cm pieces (1.5 cm wide)

Salt and black pepper

1 to 1.5 kg chicken thighs with bone and skin, drumsticks, breasts or a combination, patted dry

1 avocado, pitted and chopped

1 jalapeno, stemmed and chopped

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Zest and juice of 1 lime

20 g chopped parsley leaves with tender stems

20 g chopped cilantro leaves with tender stems

Method

1. Heat the oven to 220C. In a medium bowl, combine half the oil and grate 2 garlic cloves using a zester. Add carrots and toss to coat. Season lightly with salt and black pepper and transfer to a baking sheet, reserving the garlic oil in the bowl. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat with the remaining garlic oil. Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet, skin side up, between the carrots.

2. Roast until carrots are tender and chicken is cooked through with crispy skin and browned in spots, 35 to 40 minutes.

3. While the chicken cooks, in a food processor or blender or using a mortar and pestle, combine the avocado, jalapeno, vinegar, lime zest and juice, remaining garlic clove, half the chopped parsley and cilantro, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper. Puree or reduce to a coarse mixture. With the machine running or while mixing with a pestle in a mortar, slowly drizzle the remaining olive oil and 1 tablespoon room temperature water. Puree or stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt if necessary. The sauce can be prepared a few hours in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container.

4. Sprinkle the remaining parsley and cilantro over the chicken and carrots. Transfer to individual plates with the pan juices. Drizzle a few tablespoons of guasacaca sauce on the side for dipping. Serve hot with additional sauce on the side.

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Primavera pasta with asparagus and peas

Use the last of your spring vegetables in this pasta primavera

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This simple pasta primavera uses a combination of the earliest vegetables available in spring – asparagus, peas and spring onions – making it a true celebration of the season. The sauce works best with springy egg pasta, preferably homemade or a good purchased brand. Be sure not to overcook it; you need the chewy bite to resist the gently cooked vegetables. If you can’t find good fresh peas, you can substitute frozen peas, but only add them at the last minute of cooking.

Through: Melissa Clark

Makes: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

115g snap peas, stems trimmed

225g asparagus, ends split

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

130g peas

25 g spring onion, thinly sliced, white part only (or use shallot)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ tsp fine sea salt, plus more if needed

Black pepper, more as needed

340g fettuccine or preferably fresh tagliatelle

60g grated parmigiano-reggiano, at room temperature

115 g fresh cream or Greek yogurt, at room temperature

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon

Method

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. While the water begins to boil, cut the snow peas and asparagus stalks into 0.5 cm thick pieces; leave the asparagus tips whole.

3. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add snow peas, asparagus, peas and onion. Cook until vegetables are barely tender (but not too soft or mushy), 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper; put aside.

4. Drop pasta into boiling water and cook until al dente (1-3 minutes for fresh pasta, more for dry pasta). Drain well and transfer the pasta to a large bowl. Immediately mix the pasta with the vegetables, the Parmigiano-Reggiano, the fresh cream and the herbs. Season generously with salt and pepper, if necessary.

Skillet Pierogies with Brussels Sprouts and Kimchi

Roast the pierogis for crispy, golden skin but a soft, chewy filling

(Getty/iStock)

This one-pot dinner is a sure win in less than an hour, with your oven doing most of the heavy lifting. Roasting pierogies results in a golden, crispy skin with a soft, chewy interior, but if you don’t have pierogies, you can use gnocchi instead. (No pre-cooking necessary!) Cooking kimchi over high heat may seem surprising, but it becomes sticky and caramelized, imparting lots of flavor and texture to the final dish. Finally, a dill sour cream adds a cool richness, but feel free to swap out the sour cream and use a good quality Greek yogurt, sour cream, or even buttermilk (it will be more runny, so not need to dilute with water).

Through: Hetty McKinnon

Makes: 4 servings

Total time: 50 mins

Ingredients

450 g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

225g cabbage kimchi

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and black pepper

2 packets (360-400g) fresh or frozen cheese or potato pierogies

½ small lemon, to serve

A handful of chopped dill, to serve

For the dill sour cream:

180g sour cream

5g chopped dill

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon of salt

Method

1. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and heat the oven to 200°C. Add Brussels sprouts and kimchi to a rimmed baking sheet. (A small amount of kimchi juice is good and adds lots of flavor.) Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and black pepper, and toss to combine.

2. Prepare the dill sour cream: Combine sour cream, dill, oil, lemon and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine. If the cream is too thick, add a tablespoon of water. (You’re looking for the consistency of heavy cream.)

3. After 15 minutes, take the mold out of the oven and add the pierogis. Drizzle everything with the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil and, using a spatula, mix everything together. Return to oven and roast until Brussels sprouts are tender and pierogies are puffed and golden, another 20 to 25 minutes. (Do not flip pierogies.)

4. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with dill and serve with dill sour cream and halved lemon.

Grilled sausages, onions and peppers

There is no more reliable guest at a barbecue than a sausage

(Getty/iStock)

There is no more reliable guest at a barbecue than sausage, roasted over the open fire. But before you grill the meat, get some sweet, dark, fragrant peppers and onions from the heat, and use them as a bed on which to serve the links. Italian sausage works wonders here, as do hot links and bratwurst. If you’re cooking brats, consider simmering them in beer and onions first, then finishing them over the stove.

Through:Sam Sifton

Makes: 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound sweet peppers (green, red and yellow, if available) seeded and cut into 8

2 large yellow onions, peeled and cut into large pieces

3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, more to taste

1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste

2 pounds mild or hot Italian sausage, or bratwurst or other fresh sausage

Method

1. Light a fire in your barbecue, leaving one side free of charcoal. When the embers are covered with gray ash and the temperature is medium (you can hold your hand 10-15 cm above the embers for 5-7 seconds), you are ready to cook. (For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, lower lid and heat for 15 minutes, then turn burners to medium.)

2. Meanwhile, toss the peppers and onions with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Prick the sausages lightly all over so they don’t burst.

3. Place peppers and onions in a grill basket or directly on the grill, turning occasionally, until softened and darkened around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Move them to the side of the grill without coals.

4. Place sausages on hot side of grill, cover and cook, turning occasionally, until cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Transfer the peppers and onions to a dish and top with the sausages. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Salmon with parsley sauce

Don’t Take Parsley For Granted

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Parsley is the herb taken for granted. A few strands solve the topping problem. A scattering of chopped leaves livens up almost any dish with a bit of bright green. But parsley can play a more assertive role, becoming the main component of a sauce. Here, flat-leaf parsley is combined with capers, scallions and garlic to make a tangy, leafy sauce for salmon. It contrasts perfectly with the richness of the fish.

Through: Florence Manufacturer

Makes: 6 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

4 teaspoons of capers

1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic

80ml extra virgin olive oil

900g salmon fillets, cut into 6 portions

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Method

1. Combine parsley, capers, spring onions and garlic in a bowl. Stir in half the olive oil. Put aside.

2. Preheat your grill. Brush the salmon with the remaining oil and grill near the heat source for about two minutes on each side for medium-rare or until desired doneness. Remove from the heat and let stand for two minutes.

3. Season the salmon to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Add the lemon juice to the parsley mixture, drizzle or brush this mixture over the salmon and serve.

© The New York Times

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