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: Grilled Spice-Rubbed Steak and Sautéed Corn
Game Plan: Prep the steak and let it sit (step 1). While the steak sits, prep the spice rub and the ingredients for the corn. Grill the steaks. Sauté the corn while the steaks rest.
For Grilled Steak with Spicy Chipotle Chile Rub, we use a two-stage rub to make the most of relatively inexpensive shell sirloin steak. We start with a combination of salt, onion powder, garlic powder, fish sauce, and tomato paste. This umami-rich blend makes the steaks more savory and enhances juiciness. For the second stage, we mix coarsely ground toasted whole spices and dried chiles. 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 during the first few minutes of cooking so 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: Sautéed Pork Cutlets and Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Game Plan: Start by prepping and brining the pork. While the cutlets brine, make the sauce for the pork (step 2) and prep the herb mixture for the potatoes. Start roasting the potatoes. Once the foil has been removed from the potatoes, remove the cutlets from the brine and sauté them. The two dishes will finish cooking at about the same time.
Instead of using supermarket pork cutlets for our Sautéed Pork Cutlets with Lemon-Caper Sauce, we opt for boneless country-style spare ribs that we pound ¼-inch thick. We brine the meat to retain moisture and then sauté it in a combination of olive oil and butter to promote browning. For creamy, tender Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Mixed Herbs, we start cooking in a covered 13 by 9-inch metal baking pan, which steams the potatoes. We then remove the cover and let the potatoes finish roasting in order to brown them. Finely chopping fresh thyme and sage with salt and then tossing the hot potatoes with the mixture helps to disperse all three ingredients evenly over the potatoes.
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Dinner 3: Fresh Corn Chowder and Romaine and Watercress Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the chowder, using any unattended cooking time to prep the salad. Toss the salad right before serving.
Fresh Corn Chowder starts with a combination of rendered salt pork and butter for rich, slightly meaty flavor. To pump up the corn flavor, we add grated corn and corn milk (which comes from scraping the cobs with the back of a knife). Adding whole corn kernels at the very end prevents overcooking. Romaine and Watercress Salad with Apple and Kohlrabi combines crisp romaine lettuce with spicy, tender watercress. Thinly sliced kohlrabi and sweet apple combine cohesively with the salad greens and provide complexity.