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 that dinner comes together quicker.
Dinner 1: Grilled Chicken Thighs with Sautéed Corn
Our Grilled Chicken Thighs recipe calls for grilling the chicken slowly over indirect heat, which allows its collagen to break down into gelatin so that the meat tastes moist and silky. We coat the thighs with a bold paste, applying most of it to the flesh side so as not to introduce too much moisture to the skin that would interfere with crisping. To ensure that the corn in our Sautéed Corn with Cherry Tomatoes, Ricotta Salata, and Basil has rich, toasted flavor, it is important not to stir it in the skillet while it cooks for a few minutes so that it has a chance to brown. Once the corn is cooked, we mix in plenty of salty ricotta salata and bright cherry tomatoes.
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Dinner 2: Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps and Baby Bok Choy
To produce uniform, moist pieces of meat in our Thai Pork Lettuce Wraps, we chop the pork in the food processor and then marinate it in a little fish sauce so that it will retain moisture during cooking. Next, we add sugar to balance the tart (lime juice), salty (fish sauce), and hot (dried chiles) flavors characteristic of Thai cuisine. Sautéed Baby Bok Choy with Shallot and Fish Sauce calls for lightly steaming the bok choy to soften its stems before it is quickly sautéed. A mix of fish sauce, shallots, and garlic forms the base of a salty, aromatic sauce.
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Dinner 3: Shrimp Scampi and Pan-Steamed Broccolini
Our Shrimp Scampi recipe uses a few test kitchen tricks to ensure flavorful and well-cooked shrimp. First, we brine the shrimp to season them throughout and keep them moist and juicy. Then we poach the shrimp in wine rather than sautéing them so that they cook evenly and gently. The tender florets of broccolini cook more quickly than the thicker stems, resulting in overcooked florets by the time the stalks become crisp-tender. For Pan-Steamed Broccolini with Shallot, we ensure even cooking by splitting the thicker stems lengthwise so that they are the same size as the thinner ones.