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 1: Crunchy Baked Pork Chops with Celery Root and Potato Roesti
To get a thick coating on our Crunchy Baked Pork Chops, we make a quick batter by whisking flour into egg whites and mustard. Once the chops are coated in this glue-like mixture, they hold on to a flavorful blend of toasted bread crumbs, garlic, Parmesan, and herbs. Celery Root and Potato Roesti starts with raw shredded potatoes and celery root—not boiled, mashed vegetables as many recipes recommend. This produces a moist cake with a thick, crisp crust and fresh potato and celery flavor. Cooking the roesti over moderate heat is important to ensure that the center will be tender by the time the crust has turned crisp and golden brown.
GratersA box grater has always been the go-to tool for shredding cheese and vegetables by hand. But given that most of us only ever use one side, shouldn’t there be something better?
Dinner 2: Creamy Tomato Soup with Grown-up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Our Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup is velvety smooth with a bright tomatoey taste—all without added cream. We start with canned tomatoes because they often have better flavor than supermarket tomatoes. Then, we blend in a surprise ingredient—a slice of white bread torn into pieces—to give the soup body without having to add flavor-deadening cream. Our Grown-Up Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Gruyère and Chives start with flavorful aged Gruyère to which we add small amounts of white wine and Brie. These ingredients help the aged cheese melt evenly without becoming greasy. A sprinkle of fresh chives increase the sandwiches’ complexity without detracting from the cheese, and a smear of mustard butter livens up the bread.
12-Inch Nonstick SkilletsWe demanded our contenders clear a slew of sticky hurdles.
Dinner 3: Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Romaine and Radicchio Salad
Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a lively and piquant dish with tangy tomatoes countering briny, plump shrimp, and pepper flakes and garlic providing a spirited kick. We boost the seafood flavor of the dish by first browning the shrimp shells and using them to make stock. This stock forms the basis of the sauce in which we poach the shrimp, leaving them plump and succulent. To finish, we add a bit more heat in the form of minced pepperoncini peppers; generous amounts of chopped parsley and basil contribute freshness. Our Romaine and Radicchio Salad with Figs and Pecorino uses a combination of romaine lettuce and bitter, crisp radicchio. Fresh figs contribute a necessary sweetness while toasted walnuts provide extra crunch. Salty, tangy shaved Pecorino Romano cheese adds richness that contrasts with the bitterness of the radicchio.