31 Recipes to Make in May
May means warmer weather, and while it might not be summer yet, it’s not too early to break out the grill and mix up some refreshing drinks. We’ve rounded up 31 recipes (one for each day) that you can try throughout the month, including spring herbs soup with fregola and pancetta, creamy vegan pasta primavera, and strawberry-rhubarb cornmeal skillet cake for the ultimate seasonal dessert. Read on for the full spread.
Strawberry-Rhubarb Cornmeal Skillet Cake
Juicy strawberries and tart rhubarb stud the golden brown top of this simple skillet cake. The mix of all-purpose flour and fine cornmeal gives this dessert a pound-cake-like density, while goat cheese and buttermilk keep the crumb nicely tender and moist. A dollop of rosemary-infused whipped cream ties the sweet and savory flavors together.
Pain Perdu with Roasted Plums
Los Angeles pastry chef Karen Hatfield sprinkles her egg-soaked bread with cinnamon sugar before cooking it, creating an excellent crispy crust. She then tops the French toast with roasted plums and crème fraîche, creating the ultimate breakfast (or dessert).
A knockout ceviche is the result of a delicate balance of heat, salt, acidity, freshness, and crunch.
Smashed Cucumber Salad with Butter Beans and Tarragon
Gently crushing the cucumbers for this salad releases their aroma and creates nooks and crannies for soaking up the dressing. They still retain plenty of crunch, a great contrast to the rich, creamy butter beans.
Grilled Carrots with Lemon and Harissa
At Maydan restaurant in Washington, D.C., these carrots are cooked directly in the coals of their massive hearth. Grilling over charcoal until charred gives a similar result. A blend of roasted and dried peppers and chiles give the harissa sauce fruity, smoky depth. Use the leftovers to season roasted chicken or vegetable soup.
Rhode Island–Style Clam Stuffies
Quahogs, also known as chowder clams, are the Godzilla of the bivalve kingdom. As big as a fist, their meat is full of briny flavor but can be a bit tough when cooked. The solution? Steam and chop the clam meat before folding it into a stuffing with good company: Portuguese linguiça, red bell pepper, garlic, and fresh herbs. Packed back into their shells and roasted, “stuffies” are a hearty way to enjoy quahogs and a staple of summer meals in Rhode Island.
Butter-Basted Scallops with Spring Greens and Snap Peas
Crisp-tender snap peas, spinach, and dandelion greens finish in the same pan for a truly springy, masterful main dish.
Grilled Chicken with Coconut Rice and Chile-Lime Sauce
The best strawberry daiquiri is bright and full-flavored but never too sweet, balancing juicy berries and tart lime.
Creamy Vegan Pasta Primavera
A few smart swaps transform your favorite creamy spring pasta into a vegan-friendly masterpiece. Umami-rich nutrional yeast shoulders the duties of Parmesan, while buttery macadamia nut milk stands in for heavy cream.
Spring Pea Chaat with Lemon Raita
This fresh and crunchy chaat stars a trio of spring peas punched up with a tempered mixture of whole cumin seeds, mustard seeds, chiles, and ginger. The tart lemon raita brings a welcome cooling element; spoon the extra over rice, naan, or fresh fruit.
Smoky Pasilla-and-Citrus Grilled Flank Steak
“On a recent trip to Oaxaca, I was mesmerized with the fruity, smoky pasilla de Oaxaca chiles so much that I brought back a bag of the chiles, as well as a basalt molcajete, in my suitcase,” Andrea Slonecker writes. “The deep flavor the chiles impart to beef is exceptional; if you can’t find them, chipotle morita or chipotle meco chiles are good substitutes.”
Mussels with Harissa and Basil
Chickpea Doubles with Tamarind and Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
Traditional Trinidadian doubles are served open-faced and quickly wrapped in wax paper, letting the bara steam, and keeping the spicy filling piping hot. Try leftover tamarind sauce in margaritas, drizzled over fresh mangoes, or with roast pork.
Woven Lasagna with Prosciutto and Fresh Spinach Sauce
Weaving the pasta sheets in this lasagna allows the outer pieces to bubble and crisp in the oven around the creamy, rustic prosciutto-ricotta filling. Don’t skip the fresh pasta sheets; their length and texture are key to weaving together this show-stopping dish.
Quick-Cured Salmon Steaks with Grilled Tomatoes and Tzatziki
Salmon steaks are essentially two fillets attached by the spine of the fish. Less expensive, and easier to grill than a fillet, these steaks are quickly cured in a brown sugar-based dry cure that’s also wonderful on fillets.
Mango-Cashew Kulfi Pops
Canned mango pulp works better in these frozen ice pops than fresh mangoes because of its concentrated flavor, which helps cut through the rich cashews and sweetened condensed milk.
Smashed Fava Beans on Toast with Pecorino and Mint
This simple, springy appetizer from Andrea Slonecker comes together in just 45 minutes. We’d suggest pairing it with a lightly herbal Vermentino.
Masala Paneer Kathi Rolls
Fresh cabbage salad adds a sharp, acidic crunch to these warmly spiced, vegetable-filled rolls.
Stir-Fried Garlicky Snow Pea Shoots
This recipe from cookbook author Grace Young is a delicious example of a “clear” stir-fry that uses very few ingredients, focusing on a pure translation of simple flavors. Sweet, tender snow pea shoots shine through mellow garlic, while white pepper perfumes the dish with its mild heat and fragrant floral notes. If using a skillet, cook the pea shoots in two batches to avoid crowding the pan.
Life-Changing Udon with Soft-Boiled Egg, Hot Soy, and Black Pepper
Butter, egg yolk, and starch enrich the soy broth, dressing chewy udon noodles in a silky sauce inspired by Hetty McKinnon's visit to Udon Shin, a restaurant in Tokyo's bustling Shinjuku ward. Sharp black pepper and scallions break up its deeply savory edge with light spice and fresh flavor.
Spring Herbs Soup with Fregola and Pancetta
Inspired by s’erbuzzu, a classic Sardinian soup packed with more than a dozen varieties of herbs and spring greens, this recipe delivers big flavor with fresh parsley, tarragon, and chives. White beans, crispy bits of pancetta, and fregola sarda, tiny balls of dried semolina pasta, add heft; orzo or Israeli couscous are delicious substitutes.
Babi Panggang Karo (North Sumatran Grilled Pork)
Batak chef and adventurer Rahung Nasution shared this recipe for a fatty marinated pork dish beloved by the Batak people of North Sumatra, Indonesia. A simple but flavorful marinade of lemongrass, garlic, lime juice, and soy sauce holds up to high-heat grilling and helps the pork shoulder caramelize beautifully over the hot coals. Nasution pairs the smoky, rich pork with North Sumatran Sambal Andaliman, a powerfully refreshing condiment of green chiles, salt, and andaliman, the juicy green local relative of numbing Szechuan peppercorns, pounded together.
Opulent Grilled Cheese
Inspired by Margaret Eby's love of Zabar's in New York City, the combination of creamy, silky Taleggio and nutty aged Gruyère cheeses in these small but decadent sandwiches results in the perfect melt, with plenty of flavor. Pops of fresh salinity from lightly smashed capers stirred into sweet, jammy strawberries balance the richness. Use Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserves for the ultimate version of this sandwich—it is made from tiny, sweet strawberries. You can find it at Zabar's or online at brandsofbritain.com.
Kashke Bademjan (Persian Kashk and Eggplant Dip)
A little thicker and saltier than yogurt, kashk is an Iranian dairy product that gives this aromatic eggplant dip its luscious texture and tart flavor. Floral saffron, fried dried mint, and more kashk dot the top, adding beautiful color. Serve this Kashke Bademjan, inspired by Naz Riahi's love of California-based Mission Ranch Market with fresh vegetables and toasted flatbread for dipping.
Nasi Goreng Jawa (Javanese Fried Rice)
Nasi goreng is a classic Indonesian fried rice. Whether you make it at home or you pick it up from a street cart, it makes for a fantastic breakfast (or late-night snack) that uses up leftovers. "Nasi goreng is a comfort food," says Indonesian chef and TV personality William Wongso, who is very particular about that comfort. He makes his version in small batches, in a hot wok, with cold rice, and with distinct colors—yellow from scrambled egg, red from sambal bajak (a sweet and spicy condiment), and green from a scattering of scallions. This, Wongso's favorite style, is one he grew up eating in Surabaya, a city in East Java.
Rosemary-Roasted Chicken with Artichokes and Potatoes
Chicken and aromatic rosemary have long been a perfect pair. Added in stages, hardy rosemary sprigs infuse this spatchcocked chicken with herbal, piney flavor from start to finish. Add baby potatoes, shallots, and tangy marinated artichokes to the sheet pan to turn this roast chicken into a one-pan meal that’s elegant enough for a dinner party but quick enough for a weeknight.
Lamb Shoulder Chops with Herb and Sunflower Seed Salad
Lamb shoulder chops cook quickly; they’re a very forgiving cut that’s perfect for outdoor grilling. Here, Justin Chapple pairs the grilled lamb with a simple salad of parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, chives, and crunchy sunflower seeds—the tender herbs are a fresh foil for the lamb.
Chicken Fricassee Stir-Fry with Asparagus
Here, tender asparagus joins carrots and chicken in a speedy stir-fry seasoned with white wine and garlic, and cream enriches the sauce.
Quindim (Brazilian Coconut Egg Custards)
These Brazilian treats feature a rich egg custard on the top and a chewy coconut crust on the bottom. Both crust and custard come from a single batter: The macaroon-like crust forms as the shredded coconut floats and browns while baking; once cooled, the desserts are inverted, revealing the shiny, sunny custard layer. White sugar will result in sunny yellow custard, while light brown sugar will tint it pale gold. Quindim, a term that traces its etymology from both Brazilian Portuguese and West African languages, may also appear in the plural as quindins.
Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Scampi
Although “scampi” are technically langoustines, in the United States the term has come to describe shrimp cooked with butter, garlic, and white wine. Here, the use of tequila, cilantro, and fresh lime juice offer a bold twist on the classic. Tender cilantro stems mellow slightly after a quick sauté, accenting the fresh cilantro leaves used to finish this dish. Serve it with a torn baguette to sop up the juices.