Weeknight Cooking

Dinner This Week: Nut-Crusted Chicken

This week’s menus include Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Steaks, New England Fish Chowder, and Nut-Crusted Chicken for dinner in an hour or less.

Published Mar. 22, 2019.

Every week, Executive Food Editor Keith Dresser pairs each main dish with a side to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. Look for the game plan section to learn tips on how to streamline your kitchen work so dinner comes together quicker.

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Dinner 1: Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Sugar Snap Peas

Game Plan: While the pork is in the oven, prep all the ingredients for the sugar snap peas and make the almond topping (step 1). As the pork rests after searing (step 4), wipe out the skillet and use it to cook the peas.

For Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin, we lightly pound tenderloins to create two flat sides for searing, then halve them crosswise to create moderately sized steaks that are easy to maneuver in the pan. Before searing, we slowly cook the pork in a low oven to ensure that it's rosy and moist from edge to edge. Finally, for great browning, we pat the pork very dry before searing it on the stovetop. To guarantee that our Sugar Snap Peas with Almonds, Coriander, and Orange Zest cook evenly, we use a hybrid method of steaming the peas briefly before sautéing them; the trapped steam transfers heat more efficiently than air does so that the pods cook through quickly. Cutting the peas in half further reduces the cooking time so the pods retain more of their snap, and the pockets capture the seasonings.

Printable Shopping ListsPan-Seared Pork Tenderloin with Sugar Snap Peas

Equipment Review

Best Chef's Knives

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Dinner 2: New England Fish Chowder with Kale Caesar Salad

Game Plan: Start by soaking the kale and making the croutons, then make the fish stock for the chowder (step 1). Once the potatoes have been added to the chowder, prepare the salad dressing and toss it with the kale. Refrigerate the salad until the chowder is ready to serve.

Many fish chowders are so rich with cream that you can hardly taste the fish. We start our New England Fish Chowder by gently poaching flaky cod in water flavored with salt pork, onions, and herbs, which creates a quick, clean-tasting fish stock. Next, we introduce milk, as opposed to other rich dairy additives like half-and-half and heavy cream. Our Kale Caesar Salad starts by soaking the greens in warm water for 10 minutes to tenderize them. A dressing made with equal amounts of mayonnaise and Greek yogurt boasts a pleasant tang and is thick enough to coat the hearty leaves. A 20-minute rest after the greens and dressing are mixed helps to blend the flavors before serving.

Printable Shopping ListsNew England Fish Chowder with Kale Caesar

Equipment Review

Meat Pounders

Flattening a pork or chicken cutlet takes a steady hand and the right tool.
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Dinner 3: Nut-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Broccoli Rabe

Game Plan: Start by bringing water to a boil for the broccoli rabe, then prep and start cooking the chicken. As the chicken cooks (step 4), prep, blanch, and drain the broccoli rabe (step 2). As the chicken rests, sauté the broccoli rabe.

To ensure that our Nut-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Orange and Oregano are juicy and flavorful, we poke the meat with a fork, salt it, and let it rest before dredging it with a seasoned mixture of half nuts and half panko bread crumbs. To enhance the nutty taste, we cook the coating in browned butter. For Broccoli Rabe that delivers less bitterness and a round, balanced flavor, we start by blanching the rabe in a large amount of salted water to tame its harsh edge. We then sauté the blanched rabe with garlic and red pepper flakes, ingredients that complement its bold taste.

Printable Shopping ListsNut-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Broccoli Rabe

To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.


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