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: Pan-Seared Salmon and Couscous with Carrots, Raisins, and Pine Nuts
Game Plan: Start by brining the salmon. As the salmon brines, prep the ingredients for the couscous. Once the couscous has been removed from the heat to steam, start searing the salmon. Finish the couscous and keep it warm as the salmon finishes cooking.
For our Pan-Seared Salmon, we brine the fillets to season them and keep them moist as they cook. We then place the fish skin side down in a cold, dry nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. The skin protects the fish from drying out during cooking and releases fat that helps to brown and crisp the flesh side once the fillets are flipped. Couscous with Carrots, Raisins, and Pine Nuts calls for the pilaf method to keep the grains of pasta fluffy and separate: We first brown the couscous in butter, then add liquid, cover the pot, and let it stand until the grains are tender. We bump up the flavor and add textural contrast with sweet raisins and rich pine nuts.
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Dinner 2: Weeknight Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce and Pan-Roasted Broccoli
Game Plan: Prepare the bolognese sauce. While sauce simmers in step 5, prep the broccoli. Cook the broccoli while boiling the pasta.
Weeknight Tagliatelle with Bolognese Sauce rivals the depth and richness of long-cooked versions. Ground pancetta and deeply browned aromatic vegetables form a flavorful base. Tomato paste contributes brightness, while reduced beef broth and Parmesan cheese add umami richness. For Pan-Roasted Broccoli, we start with a whole head of broccoli and trim the florets into small pieces and the stalks into oblong coins. We then layer the stalk pieces in a hot, lightly oiled skillet. Once they begin to brown, we add the florets along with seasoned water and allow the mixture to steam until all of the broccoli is tender-crisp.
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Dinner 3: Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic and Caesar Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the croutons and soaking the garlic paste in lemon juice for the salad dressing. While the grill heats, finish the dressing. Grill the steaks. Toss the salad while the steaks rest.
Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic is a simple dish that consists of a beautifully grilled steak lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. The grassy oil complements the beef, while the acidic lemon juice sharpens the flavors. For heady— but not overpowering—garlic flavor in our Caesar Salad, we use a rasp-style grater to turn garlic cloves to a paste and then steep the paste in lemon juice to temper its bite. To emulsify the dressing, we beat egg yolks, anchovies, and Worcestershire sauce into the lemon juice and garlic and then slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. For tender-crisp croutons, we sprinkle cubes of ciabatta bread with a little water to preserve their moistness even after they are toasted.