Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cooks' Illustrated recipes: kofte and Tunisian grilled vegetables

Flavorful, grilled meatballs and vegetables in wraps make a delicious summer pairing.

Two magazines we subscribe to and read faithfully are The New Yorker and Cooks' Illustrated. CI's claim to fame is engineering the perfect version of a classic recipe, with widely available ingredients and often a pared down prep time, as well. I love Middle Eastern foods, spice blends, and lots of fresh herbs in my cooking. The flavors of the recipe for Tunisian grilled vegetables in this summer's issue of CI came to my mailbox at least a month early to try out on this season's fresh tomatoes, so I tried them in a roasting pan of what I had on hand, and confirmed they work well on earlier summer roasting vegetables, like zucchini and summer squash, and in the oven as well as on the grill.

Early summer roasting vegetables: summer squash, zucchini, beets, turnips, radishes, and carrots
Herbs and spices to be tossed into the roasted vegetables. The mise en place bowls contain a cube of frozen garlic scape pesto, and a dry spice blend. At bottom is a mince of parsley, cilantro, and mint.
For a guest who prefers beef to lamb, we made the beef variation offered in the CI recipe for kofte in the same issue. Split and served over fresh greens and with Tunisian spiced and grilled vegetables, on a wrap or over rice. If you serve this with rice, try seasoning the rice right after it finishes cooking, by fluffing it with a fork and tossing in a big handful of minced parsley and mint, plus a little lemon zest. The herbs give the rice a fresh, light flavor that brightens any meal, without overpowering. 


Tunisian vegetable recipe, adapted to earlier summer produce and the oven
Cooks' Illustrated recipes for Grilled Lamb Kofte recipe (requires subscription) with video, and the beef kofte recipe and their Tunisian-style grilled vegetable salad, or mechouia, (also has a video).

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