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.
Dinner This Week: Crispy Salmon Cakes
Dinner 1: Sautéed Chicken Cutlets and Pan-Steamed Asparagus
Sautéed Chicken Cutlets with Shallot and White Wine Sauce features juicy, ultrathin chicken paired with a sauce that complements, rather than overpowers, the delicate meat. For evenly sized cutlets, we take a two-step approach: We halve chicken breasts horizontally before pounding them to an even thickness under plastic wrap. This ensures that they cook at the same rate and turn out moist, tender, and juicy. Pan-Steamed Asparagus with Garlic preserves the fresh, sweet, grassy flavor of the vegetable and produces a crisp-tender texture. We steam the asparagus in a small amount of water in a skillet to which we also add butter, salt, and garlic. Next, we allow the water to evaporate, leaving the asparagus glossed with garlicky butter.
Printable Shopping Lists: Sautéed Chicken Cutlets and Pan-Steamed Asparagus
The Best Stainless-Steel SkilletsPerfect searing, flavorful sauces, and stove-to-oven versatility make stainless-steel frying pans essential to home kitchens. Which is best?
Dinner 2: Easy Salmon Cakes and Sautéed Peas with Fennel
Game Plan: Both recipes call for a 12-inch skillet. If you only have one traditional skillet, a nonstick or cast-iron skillet can be used to cook the salmon cakes. First, mix and shape the cakes. Next, start cooking the peas. Once the fennel is softened (step 1), fry the salmon cakes. While the cakes brown, finish the peas.
For our Easy Salmon Cakes, we turn to the food processor. Pulsing small pieces of salmon allows for more even chopping and results in small, discrete pieces of fish. We also ditch the somewhat messy egg and flour steps of the breading process. Instead, we simply coat the cakes with panko bread crumbs, which we also use to bind the fish mixture. Frozen peas have already been blanched, so the key to good Sautéed Peas with Fennel is to avoid overcooking. Just five minutes of simmering is all that is needed to produce bright, tender green peas. Switching from a saucepan to a skillet allows the peas to heat more quickly and evenly over the larger surface, further reducing the cooking time.
Printable Shopping Lists: Easy Salmon Cakes and Sautéed Peas with Fennel
Clip-On Probe Thermometers for Meat, Deep Frying, and Candy MakingWe made French fries, fried chicken, and caramel sauce, evaluating four thermometers for accuracy, functionality, and durability.
Dinner 3: Juicy Pub-Style Burgers and Easier French Fries
Our Juicy Pub-Style Burgers start with flavorful sirloin tips that we coarsely grind in a food processor. Melted butter ensures juiciness and encourages browning. Loosely mixing the beef and gently forming the patties helps prevent overworking the meat, which can toughen burgers. Searing in a superhot skillet and then finishing in a low-heat oven yields a crispy, well-browned crust and a juicy center. Our Easier French Fries recipe uses a modest amount of oil and doesn't call for double frying. We start the potatoes in cold oil and fry them over high heat until browned. Low-starch Yukon Golds make for a crisp exterior and a creamy interior.
Printable Shopping Lists: Juicy Pub-Style Burgers and Easier French Fries
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Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!
Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.
Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!
John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.