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Photo: Lauren V. Allen

Marinated Peppers

Instead of roasting whole peppers over an open flame, we first cut them into strips, then char them in a hot cast iron skillet. They’re then soaked in a garlicky, slightly pickle-y marinade, and emerge as a colorful, brightly flavored topper that works with any protein that comes off the grill, from burgers and brats to chicken, pork, and fish. Use the leftover marinade as a delicious salad dressing.

Seared Cabbage Slaw

We love any side dish that doubles as a crunchy garnish for burgers, hot dogs, brats, tacos, and so on. Searing cabbage wedges in cast iron lends the slaw a lightly smoky flavor that’s cooled by an acidic and slightly creamy dressing.

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam

Most bacon jam is too jammy-sweet and can overwhelm a burger. Our version is chunkier and more savory, meant to be applied anywhere you’d use caramelized onions. Make a double batch, if you wish, and use the extra to make the ultimate grilled cheese sandwich.

Recipe

Marinated Bell Peppers

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

1 each red, yellow, and orange bell peppers
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (use a mandoline if you have one)
1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons thinly sliced mint
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup red wine vinegar

Instructions

1.

Cut the bell peppers lengthwise into ¼-inch strips; discard the stems and seeds. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add the bell pepper strips and cook, turning frequently, until charred all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a bowl, cover with a plate, and let steam for 15 minutes.

2.

While the peppers steam, heat the olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the jalapeno. Transfer to a bowl and add the mint, salt, lemon juice, and vinegar. Stir in the roasted peppers. Let sit at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving, or refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Recipe

Seared Cabbage Slaw

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 small (or ½ large) green cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges through the core
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sour cream
Tabasco or other vinegary hot sauce, to taste
¼ cup thinly sliced scallion greens

Instructions

1.

In a medium cast iron skillet, heat the oil over high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches if necessary, add the cabbage and cook until charred on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, then turn the cabbage over and cook until charred on the other side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the charred cabbage wedges to a bowl and drizzle with the vinegar. Toss the cabbage every couple of minutes in the vinegar until it cools to room temperature.

2.

Transfer the cabbage to a cutting board and shred or coarsely chop (depending how intact your wedges are); discard the core. Pour about half of the vinegar out of the bowl and reserve; add the sour cream to the bowl and whisk to combine. Season the dressing with salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste, then add the cabbage and scallions and toss well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Refrigerate until ready to use, up to 2 days.

Recipe

Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam

Yield: about 1½ cups

Ingredients

½ pound bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

Instructions

1.

Add the bacon to a medium cast iron skillet and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon starts to crisp and most of the fat has rendered, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour off (and reserve) most of the rendered bacon fat, leaving about 3 tablespoons behind.

2.

Add the onions and mustard seeds, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened and well browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the brown sugar and 3 tablespoons water, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a thick, jammy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a heat-proof bowl and stir in the vinegar. The jam can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.