By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times
Hello, everyone. I missed writing to you when I was out on my summer vacation, though I didn’t miss trying to come up with different ways to say “delicious.” (“Toothsome!”)
I returned and plunged directly into fall madness — a maelstrom of back to school, back to office, back to everything. Naturally, as I tried to determine who in my home had to be where and at what time, I wondered what I was going to have for dinner. (What, you’re not constantly thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner?)
I find that after Labor Day, a switch flips, and the collective yearning for summer food comes to a halt. Enough with the pan con tomate; it’s time for roast chicken. So this week, for me, is all about those meals: not heavy, but not light either, and sufficiently filling for the hectic early days of fall. And, because of the aforementioned crazy schedules, it’s also about speed and ease.
1. Peanut Butter-Glazed Salmon and Green Beans
This fast and fun weeknight meal reveals an unexpected use for peanut butter, transforming it into a savory five-ingredient sauce. The pantry favorite is combined with tangy lemon juice, fragrant ginger and toasted sesame oil to create a rich, supernutty glaze that pairs well with fatty salmon. Here the salmon is roasted on a rack of green beans, but a bed of broccoli florets would be an excellent alternative. The sweet-salty glaze can be made a day ahead and brought to room temperature before using.
By Kay Chun
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
- 1 pound green beans, trimmed
- 1 bunch scallions (about 6), halved lengthwise then cut crosswise into thirds
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil, such as safflower or canola
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (either conventional or natural works)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus lemon wedges for serving
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated peeled ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 4 (6-ounce) center-cut salmon fillets
- 1/4 cup chopped unsalted roasted peanuts (optional)
1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet, combine green beans, scallions, garlic and 2 tablespoons of the neutral oil; season with salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat, then spread in an even layer.
2. Prepare the peanut butter glaze: In a small bowl, combine peanut butter, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil and 1 tablespoon water. Season with salt and pepper, then whisk until smooth.
3. Rub salmon with the remaining 1 tablespoon neutral oil and season with salt. Arrange salmon on top of beans and spoon half of the peanut butter glaze on top of the fish. Roast for 5 minutes, then spoon over the remaining glaze. Roast until salmon is cooked to medium and beans are crisp-tender, 5 to 7 minutes more, depending on thickness.
4. Divide salmon and beans among serving plates. Top with peanuts and serve with lemon wedges.
2. Pad Krapow Gai (Thai Basil Chicken)
As dynamic as it is speedy, this ground chicken and green bean recipe from “Night + Market” (Clarkson Potter, 2017) by Kris Yenbamroong and Garrett Snyder, delivers a wallop of flavor with punchy ingredients that stir-fry in just 15 minutes. While this popular Thai street food can be whipped up using a range of proteins, Yenbamroong refers to his riff as “low-rent” because it’s prepared with ground chicken rather than pricier slices of meat. It’s piled with basil; Thai basil or holy basil provide more assertive licorice notes, but sweet basil adds herbal bursts of brightness. Spiked with Thai seasoning (see tip below), the chicken mixture is salty on its own, but it’s inextricably linked with rice and imparts the right amount of salinity when dispersed.
Recipe from Kris Yenbamroong
Adapted by Alexa Weibel
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground chicken (preferably dark meat)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 2 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh bird’s-eye chile or other fresh chile (from 1 chile)
- 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon Thai seasoning sauce (such as Golden Mountain; see tip below)
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves (preferably Thai basil or holy basil)
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- Steamed jasmine rice, for serving
- 4 crispy fried eggs (optional)
1. Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over medium-high, then swirl in the oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the ground chicken and cook, actively breaking the chicken up into small pieces, until it is mostly cooked, about 6 minutes.
2. Stir in the garlic, sugar and chile until evenly distributed and fragrant, about 2 minutes, then add the green beans, oyster sauce, fish sauce and Thai seasoning, and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken is fully cooked, the green beans are crisp-tender and the krapow is glossy, about 2 minutes.
3. Remove from heat, add the basil and a dash of white pepper and toss to combine. If the sauce seems to cling too tightly to the mixture, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to make it loose and glossy.
4. Serve over rice, and top with a crispy fried egg, if desired. Serve with additional Thai seasoning to sprinkle on top, according to taste.
TIP: Golden Mountain is made with fermented soybeans, like soy sauce, and imparts sweetness along with its jolt of salinity. It can be purchased in Asian supermarkets or online and lasts indefinitely. A dash of it adds complexity to stir-fries, curries, fried rice, and cooked proteins and vegetables.
3. Sheet-Pan Baked Feta With Broccolini, Tomatoes and Lemon
When baked, feta gains an almost creamy texture, similar to goat cheese but with feta’s characteristic tang. In this easy vegetarian sheet-pan dinner, broccolini (or broccoli), grape tomatoes and lemon slices roast alongside the feta until the broccolini crisp, the tomatoes burst and the lemon rinds soften. (Remember, broccolini has a tender, delicious stalk so only the bottom 1/2-inch needs to be trimmed.) Serve this dish over a pile of orzo for a complete meal. If you like, cut the broccolini, feta and lemon into bite-size pieces and toss with the orzo.
By Yasmin Fahr
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
- 1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed, thick stalks split lengthwise, or broccoli, stalks trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
- 1 small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 2-inch wedges
- 1 lemon, 1/2 cut into thin rounds and the remaining 1/2 left intact, for serving
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 (6- to 8-ounce) blocks feta, cut into 1-inch slices
- Cooked orzo or farro, for serving
- 1/2 cup fresh basil or cilantro leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped (optional)
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack set in the lower third. On a sheet pan, combine the broccolini, tomatoes, onion and lemon slices with the olive oil and toss. Add cumin and red-pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and toss again until evenly coated. Nestle the feta slices into the vegetables. (It’s OK if they break apart a little.)
2. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through but leaving the feta in place, until the broccolini is charred at the tips, the stems are easily pierced with a fork and the tomato skins start to blister and break down.
3. Serve over orzo or farro. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining lemon half for squeezing. Top with fresh herbs, if using.
4. Baked Mustard-Herb Chicken Legs
“A model of simplicity” is how Mark Bittman described this 2004 recipe from San Francisco chef Gary Danko. Painted with mustard and tossed in an herbed mix of breadcrumbs, they go right into an oven, to be pulled out about 30 minutes later. It’s dinner party-worthy fare, made just as easily on a weeknight.
Recipe from Gary Danko
Adapted by Mark Bittman
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 45 minutes
- 4 leg-thigh chicken pieces, cut in 2, or 8 thighs
- 1 1/2 cups coarse fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon or other herb
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Trim excess skin and fat from chicken. Combine breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, tarragon and salt and pepper on a plate or waxed paper. Use a pastry brush to paint mustard lightly on chicken legs. Carefully coat chicken legs with breadcrumb mixture.
2. Gently place chicken in a roasting pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until completely cooked. Serve hot or cold.
5. Pasta With Fresh Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
This pasta’s sauce comes together using the same trifecta found in lemon-ricotta pasta: a juicy fruit, a creamy cheese and a salty cheese. This recipe makes good use of those summer tomatoes with juices just barely contained by their thin skins. The creamy cheese is goat cheese, whose tang balances the sweetness of the tomatoes. Parmesan adds salty depth, while herbs and red-pepper flakes complete the dish. For a more filling pasta, feel free to add shrimp, corn or green beans to the boiling pasta in the last few minutes of cooking.
By Ali Slagle
Yield: 4 servings
Total time: 25 minutes
- Kosher salt
- 2 pounds very ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more as needed
- 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated, plus more as needed
- 1 pound fusilli or another spiral pasta
- 1 (4-ounce) log goat cheese, crumbled
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, thyme, red-pepper flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mash with a fork or potato masher until tomatoes are juicy. Stir in the Parmesan. Set aside while the pasta cooks or up to 2 hours at room temperature.
3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
4. To the bowl of tomatoes, add the goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir until the cheese is mostly melted. Add the pasta and stir vigorously until the noodles are well coated. Add more pasta water as needed until the sauce coats the noodles. Season to taste with additional Parmesan and red-pepper flakes.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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