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: Deviled Pork Chops with Steamed Kale
Our Deviled Pork Chops are slow-roasted in a low oven in order to keep the lean meat as juicy as possible. We “devil” the chops by painting them with a bold, balanced mix of sharp Dijon mustard combined with dry mustard (for an extra jolt of heat), minced garlic, and cayenne and black peppers. For textural contrast and visual appeal, we coat the tops of the chops with crispy toasted panko bread crumbs. Our Pan-Steamed Kale with Raisins and Almonds starts by cooking the greens in a small amount of chicken broth. Once the kale is just tender, we remove the lid and allow excess liquid to evaporate, then briefly sauté the greens with a few flavorings that accent but don't overpower its earthiness.
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Dinner 2: Cod and Potato Cakes with Sautéed Peas
For our Cod and Potato Cakes, we use a relatively small amount of mashed potato to keep the cod flavor at the forefront. We cook the fish and potato without extra liquid (the former in a skillet and the latter in the microwave) to keep the cakes firm rather than mushy. A single egg helps bind the cakes, and a short stint in the freezer firms them up so they are easy to maneuver in a skillet. Simple aromatics—garlic, scallions, and thyme—complement the mild fish. Sautéed Peas with Shallot and Mint start with frozen peas, which we often find to be sweeter and fresher tasting than fresh peas. We enliven the peas with ¼ cup of minced mint
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Dinner 3: Almond-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Napa Cabbage Slaw
To ensure that our Almond-Crusted Chicken Cutlets with Lime and Chipotle are juicy and flavorful, we pierce the chicken breasts with a fork, salt them, and let them rest before dredging them with a seasoned mixture of half almonds and half panko bread crumbs. To enhance the nutty taste, we toast the coating in browned butter. Napa Cabbage Slaw with Jicama and Pepitas offers a more tender, delicate texture and a sweeter flavor than traditional green cabbage slaw. To avoid a bland, watered-down slaw, we make a potent dressing with a high ratio of vinegar to oil. After tossing the cabbage with the dressing and letting it sit for about 5 minutes, moisture from the cabbage dilutes the dressing slightly, so the slaw reaches the perfect level of bright acidity.