Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Pan-Seared Salt-and-Vinegar Potatoes

This easy potato side dish brings a burst of unexpected flavor to the dinner table—a little tangy, a little salty, a little buttery, and so very tasty. Cooking the baby Yukons in white vinegar instills them with a light vinegary taste, just enough to know it’s there without being overpowering. A splash of malt vinegar at the table gives the potatoes a delicious finish, reminiscent of a fish-and-chips pub.

The potatoes here are essentially cooked twice—first in vinegar, water, and salt to make them tender, then in a hot skillet with butter to add that wonderful golden color and slight crispiness on the outside.

Note: You want to pat the potatoes as dry as you can before searing them in butter, but even then, they will release considerable liquid in the skillet. They'll appear to be steaming in their own liquid for the first several minutes, but the key is not to disturb them. As the liquid evaporates, the potatoes will begin to take on a buttery, golden sear just before they’re finished. 

Serves 4

  • 1 lb baby Yukon Gold potatoes, halved
  • 3/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fine table salt
  • 1-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh rosemary, for garnish
  • malt vinegar, for serving
Baby Yukon Gold Potatoes

  1. Place the potatoes, white vinegar, and fine table salt in a pot and add just enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, 20-25 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes and place on layers of paper towels. Top with more towels and pat dry.
Potatoes Ready to Cook

Pat the Potatoes Dry
  1. Heat a heavy, preferably cast-iron, skillet over medium heat and add the butter. As it melts, swirl the pan to coat. 
  2. Add the potatoes cut-side down and season with sea salt and pepper. Cook undisturbed, until the liquid evaporates and the potatoes begin to turn golden, 8-10 minutes.
  3. Turn and sear 1-2 minutes longer.
Potatoes Beginning to Sear

Garnish the potatoes with chopped rosemary and serve with sea salt and malt vinegar at the table.

Pan-Seared Salt-and-Vinegar Potatoes

Friday, March 31, 2023

Pasta with Prosciutto and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Sweet, colorful tomatoes, slightly briny prosciutto, creamy asiago cheese—a few simple ingredients to make a simply delicious dinner. This dish is light, fast, and perfect for spring- or summertime pasta.

For another light pasta dish, check out Spaghetti with Shrimp and Three-Color Tomatoes.

Serves 4

  • 8 oz thin spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1-1/2 cups halved red grape tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups halved yellow grape tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 lb very thin prosciutto slices, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded asiago cheese
Sauce Ingredients 
Prepared Ingredients
Sliced Prosciutto
  1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 4-5 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water.
  2. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-low heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and cook until very fragrant and beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add all tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the tomatoes just begin to break, 6-7 minutes.
  4. Add the drained spaghetti, 1/2 cup pasta water, and prosciutto to the skillet, tossing well to coat. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
Garlic and Onion
Tomatoes Added 
Cooked Tomato Mixture
Pasta and Prosciutto Added
Cooked Pasta and Sauce

Divide among 4 pasta bowls and drizzle each with olive oil. Divide cheese on top and garnish with basil leaves. Serve right away.

Pasta with Prosciutto and Fresh Tomato Sauce

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Mushroom-Noodle Soup with Poached Egg

This light but very flavorful and satisfying soup combines shiitake mushrooms, rice noodles, Thai chiles, ginger, and garlic in a chicken broth base highlighted with soy sauce and a touch of rice vinegar. I think you could call it quits right there, but a poached egg on top seems like the perfect finish.

Poached eggs are light and fluffy, and if your yolk is runny enough, it will blend into the chicken broth for a rich, creamy finish. That’s a good thing.

Note: If you’re not familiar with poaching eggs, please see Pancetta and Poached Egg Open-Faced Sandwiches. In that recipe, I used lemon juice as the acidic in the poaching water, but for this soup recipe, I used rice vinegar.

Serves 2

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (remove thick stem ends) 
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp rice vinegar, divided
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 oz Thai rice noodle sticks, steeped and drained
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • thinly sliced scallions and coarsely chopped cilantro, for serving

Soup Ingredients

  1. Heat a pot over medium heat and add the peanut oil. Add the chiles, garlic, and ginger and sauté 1 minute.
  2. Add the mushrooms, chicken broth, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the mushrooms are tender, 12 minutes.

Chiles, Garlic, and Ginger 
Mushroom Mixture
  1. Meanwhile, fill a deep skillet with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a rapid simmer and stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Reduce the water to a low simmer.
  2. Crack each egg into a small bowl. One at a time, hold each bowl just above the water and gently tip the egg into it. Turn off the heat immediately and cover the pan. Poach the eggs until the whites are just set and yolks are still runny, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Use a slotted spoon to lift each egg from the water, holding paper towels against the bottom of the spoon to help drain the water away from the egg. Transfer to a plate.

Tip the Egg into the Water
Beginning to Poach
Poached Eggs

To serve, divide the steeped, softened noodles between 2 shallow bowls and divide the soup on top. Place 1 egg in each bowl and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Garnish with scallions and cilantro and serve right away.

Mushroom-Noodle Soup with Poached Egg