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: Skillet-Roasted Fish Fillets and Pita Bread Salad
For evenly cooked Skillet-Roasted Fish Fillets, we sear the fish in a hot pan, flip it over, then transfer it to a hot oven to finish cooking. A sprinkle of sugar mixes with moisture on the surface of the fish, accelerating browning and giving the fillets a rich color and deep flavor that’s anything but sweet. Pita Bread Salad with Tomatoes and Cucumber (Fattoush) is at its best when it combines fresh, flavorful produce with crisp pita chips and bright herbs. To make the pita moisture-repellent, we brush its craggy sides with plenty of olive oil before baking. The oil prevents the chips from absorbing too much moisture from the salad and becoming soggy.
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Dinner 2: Cheese Pupusas with Curtido
Pupusas, a traditional dish from El Salvador and Honduras, consist of small masa harina cakes stuffed with cheese. Hydrating the masa harina with boiling rather than room temperature water allows the starches in the flour to absorb it more quickly and completely, resulting in a well-hydrated dough that is easy to work with and doesn't dry out when cooked. Curtido is a traditional accompaniment to pupusas. Instead of fermenting the cabbage, we marinate thin slices of it, along with chiles, in a fruity cider vinegar–based pickling liquid. Waiting to add the cilantro until after draining the liquid ensures that the herb is vibrant and fresh for serving.
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Dinner 3: Stovetop Roast Chicken and Sautéed Swiss Chard
Stovetop Roast Chicken with Lemon-Herb Sauce has all the features of an oven-roasted bird, without having to preheat your oven. A technique of searing, steaming, and searing again yields chicken with crisp, golden skin, evenly cooked meat, and a flavorful sauce. The key to mastering Sautéed Swiss Chard with Garlic is getting the stems to finish cooking at the same time as the leaves. Sautéing the stems first over relatively high heat provides a desirable tender-crisp texture and lightly caramelized flavor that acts as a foil to the tender leaves, which we cook very briefly to maintain their earthiness.