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 Chopped Carrot Salad
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. Chopped Carrot Salad with Celery and Raisins starts by finely chopping carrots in the food processor instead of grating them by hand. This produces a delicately crunchy, light-textured base in just seconds. Crisp celery, sweet raisins, and plenty of parsley brighten things up and a lively dressing brings the salad together.
Food ProcessorsHow much do you need to spend to get a machine that makes light work of chopping, slicing, shredding, and mixing?
Dinner 2: Thai Basil Chicken and Steamed White Rice
For Thai Basil Chicken, we start by infusing aromatics and basil into the cooking oil. Grinding the chicken in a food processor along with some fish sauce produces coarse-textured meat that retains moisture when it is stir-fried. A combination of oyster sauce and white vinegar adds a rich but bright flavor to the sauce. Steamed White Rice is soft enough to soak up savory sauces, yet sticky enough to pick up with chopsticks. Rinsing the grains removes some of their surface starch and starting the rice in boiling water provides enough agitation to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.
The Best Silicone SpatulasA spatula should feel like an extension of your arm, nimbly stirring, scraping, and folding any food you put in its path. Why is a good one so hard to find?
Dinner 3: Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce and Warm Bitter Green Salad
The North African dish Shakshuka makes a great meal any time—if you can get the eggs to cook properly. For eggs with runny yolks and tender whites, we add the eggs to the skillet off the heat, cook them in a smooth rather than chunky sauce for more even heat transfer, and cover the whites with sauce just after adding them to the pan to help speed their cooking. For the sauce, we blend whole peeled tomatoes and jarred roasted red peppers for a mix of sweetness, smokiness, and acidity. Bitter Greens, Carrot, and Chickpea Salad with Warm Lemon Dressing begins with a preheated Dutch oven to provide just the right amount of heat to wilt hearty bitter greens without actually cooking them. We start by sautéing carrots, raisins, and almonds in the pot and then pull the pot off the heat to let it cool slightly. When we add the greens, the warm mix-ins slightly soften the greens.