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Five colourful recipes to spruce up your plate this week

These radiant recipes will take your plate from drab to fab and deliver maximum flavour in as little time as possible

By House & Garden South Africa | April 11, 2022 | Recipes

SHEET-PAN GNOCCHI 4 SERVINGS

Though the package of shelf-stable gnocchi might tell you to boil them, the secret – which I learned from my friend and recipe developer Ali Slagle – is that these types of gnocchi are at their best when roasted or pan-fried. Direct heat from the oven (or pan), along with a glug of olive oil, helps them crisp on the outside while remaining tender within. Roasting them with cherry tomatoes, which burst to create a jammy sauce, means you have got dinner in 25 minutes – just add a heap of greens and lots of sharp cheese, and you are good to go. – Sarah Jampel, senior editor, cooking, at Bon Appetit

Sweet-pan gnocchi. Photgraph: Supplied

INGREDIENTS

1/2 large red onion, cut into

1.5cm-thick wedges

2 large garlic cloves, unpeeled

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1 215g package shelf-stable or refrigerated potato gnocchi 4T extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling

1t kosher salt, divided, plus more

Freshly ground black pepper

1T fresh lemon juice

2 cups baby rocket

1 cup basil leaves, large leaves torn

55g Parmesan, shaved

1. Place a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 220°C. Toss onion, garlic, tomatoes, gnocchi, 3T oil, and 1 3/4t kosher salt on a rimmed baking sheet to coat; season generously with pepper and toss again to combine.

2. Roast, stirring once or twice until gnocchi is golden and starting to crisp, most of the tomatoes have burst, and onion is golden, 20-25 minutes.

3. Remove garlic from baking sheet, peel, and place in a small bowl. Mash with 1/4t salt (garlic should be quite soft). Whisk in lemon juice and remaining 1T oil; season dressing with pepper and more salt if needed. 4. Add rocket, basil and Parmesan to baking sheet and drizzle dressing over; toss to combine. Divide among plates and drizzle with a little more oil.

VIETNAMESE TOMATO SALAD 4-6 SERVINGS

Our roving Vietnamese pop-up restaurant in New York always serves a version of this bright, wonderfully herbaceous salad. During the summer months, tomatoes are the ideal match for this acidic, sweet, and slightly funky dressing, which is inspired by Anthony’s mom’s nuoc cham. She blew our minds when she revealed her recipe is as simple as equal parts lime juice, sugar and fish sauce.

It hits all the notes and can make just about anything taste better. – chefs Anthony Ha and Sadie Mae Burns

Vietnamese Tomato Salad

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced

1 cucumber, halved

lengthwise, sliced into half-moons

1 green bell pepper, seeds

and piths removed, sliced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced 680g mixed heirloom

tomatoes, halved if small, cut into wedges if large

2 cups coarsely chopped mixed tender herbs (such as dill or coriander)

Freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup crushed salted dry roasted peanuts

1. Place sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and 1T water in a jar. Cover and shake dressing vigorously until combined and sugar has dissolved.

2. Combine fennel, cucumber, sweet pepper, raw shallot, tomatoes and herbs in a large bowl; season generously with black pepper. Drizzle 1/2 cup dressing over and toss salad to combine. Taste and add more dressing if desired.

3. Transfer salad to a platter and top with peanuts.

Boss Sauce

The dressing for this salad is essentially Vietnamese nuoc cham that has not been cut with as much water, and it is worth doubling for later.

A few ways to deploy it:

1. Pour over grilled chicken and top with plenty of fresh herbs.

2. Toss with poached shrimp and other chilled shellfish for a punchy salad.

3. Dilute by half with water and use as a dipping sauce for summer rolls or lettuce wraps.

GRILLED SWORDFISH WITH TOMATOES 4 SERVINGS

If you are new to grilling fish, swordfish steaks are an easy place to start – sturdy and meaty, they take to the grill like a champ. I like to finish mine with a relish-y tomato topping flavoured with saffron, almost-crispy garlic, and buttery olives for a superfast and summery dinner that begs to be eaten outdoors. Multicoloured cherry tomatoes from the farmers market make for the best presentation but are not required; a cold bottle of wine at the ready, however, isnon-negotiable. – Kendra Vaculin, staff writer at epicurious.com

Grilled Swordfish with tomatoes. Photograph: Supplied

INGREDIENTS

2T vegetable oil, plus more for grill

2 2.5cm-thick swordfish steaks (about 340g each)

Kosher salt

3T extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/2t saffron threads

340g cherry tomatoes, halved, quartered if large

1 small bunch chives, cut into 1.5cm pieces (about 1/4 cup)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped parsley

1/2 cup pitted green olives, stones removed

1T sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Prepare a grill for medium-high heat; oil grate with vegetable oil. Season fish on both sides with salt. Pour 2T vegetable oil into a shallow bowl or a baking dish; add fish and turn to coat.

2. Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low. Add garlic and saffron, crushing threads between your fingers, and cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic is just starting to turn golden at the edges, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.

3. Grill fish until firm when gently pressed and opaque throughout, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter.

4. Add tomatoes, chives, parsley, olives and vinegar to bowl with reserved garlic mixture and toss to combine; season with salt and pepper. Spoon over fish.

Temp Job

The key to grilled swordfish steaks that taste like a summer dream? Not overcooking them. You are aiming for an internal temperature that is just shy of 158°C, which will yield meat that is just-opaque and juicy. And if your fish is sticking to the grate once your timer dings, do not panic: as long as your steaks are properly oiled, they will release when they are ready.

COCONUT TOFU STIR-FRY 2-4 SERVINGS

I never liked to cook green beans until Chitra Agrawal, the owner of Brooklyn Delhi, introduced me to green beans palya, a South Indian preparation where the vegetables are cut into bite-size pieces. The green beans cook fast – we are talking 3 minutes – and achieve my ideal tender-yet-crisp happy place. Here, the beans are seasoned with a spicy Southeast Asian-inspired sauce that counters the slightly sweet coconutty tofu. The fish sauce is optional but highly recommended – Sarah

400g block extra-firm

tofu, drained

Kosher salt

1T plus 1 1/2t sambal oelek

1Tplus 1 1/2t soy sauce or tamari

2t light or dark brown sugar

1t fish sauce (optional)

1 lime, halved

3T vegetable oil, divided

1/4 cup unsweetened

shredded coconut

225g green beans, trimmed,

cut into 0.5cm pieces

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 2.5cm piece ginger, peeled,

coarsely chopped

1 cup (loosely packed)

very coarsely chopped

basil leaves

Short-grain or jasmine rice (for serving)

1. Slice tofu 1.5cm thick. Arrange in a single layer on a kitchen towel set on a rimmed baking sheet or dry cutting board. Season lightly with salt. Wrap towel over tofu, as if tucking it in, and press to expel some moisture. Set aside.

2. Mix sambal oelek, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce (if using), and 1T water in a small bowl to combine; squeeze in juice from one lime half and stir again. Cut remaining lime half into wedges; set aside for serving.

3. Heat 2T oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Unwrap reserved tofu and arrange in pan in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until golden brown underneath, about 4 minutes. Turn over and cook until other sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle coconut over tofu and cook, turning often to prevent burning, until tofu is coated and coconut is toasted, 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet; season lightly with salt.

4. Heat remaining 1T oil over medium-high. Add green beans and toss to coat; season lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium, add 1T water and cover pan. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover pan and add garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Return tofu to pan and add sambal mixture. Cook, tossing gently, until sauce has nearly evaporated, about 30 seconds. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Remove from heat and gently toss in basil.

5. Divide rice among bowls; top with tofu mixture. Serve with reserved lime wedges.