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: Sautéed Pork Cutlets and Sautéed Spinach
Game Plan: Start by prepping and brining the pork. While the cutlets brine, make the sauce for the pork (step 2) and fry the garlic chips for the spinach. Once the second batch of cutlets has been transferred to the warm oven, sauté the spinach while finishing the sauce for the pork.
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. To wilt the spinach leaves for Sautéed Spinach with Garlic Chips, we place them, still a little damp from washing, into a pot with a small amount of fat over medium-high heat and cover the pot. The water clinging to the spinach is all that is required to wilt down the huge volume of raw leaves to a manageable quantity.
The Best Metal SpatulasThis essential tool can be a cook's best friend—but only if you choose the right one.
Dinner 2: Grilled Shrimp Kebabs and Rice and Pasta Pilaf
Game Plan: Start by brining the shrimp (step 1). While the shrimp brines, prep and microwave the vegetables (steps 2 and 3). Soak the rice (step 1) while assembling the kebabs. Cook the pilaf (step 3), while the grill heats. Once the pilaf has been removed from the heat, grill the kebabs. Once the kebabs are cooked, the pilaf will be ready to serve.
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs are notoriously difficult to get right because of the incompatible cooking times of shrimp and vegetables. Our recipe works by pairing slower-cooking jumbo shrimp with quick-cooking vegetables: mushrooms, bell peppers, and scallions. We parcook some of the vegetables in the microwave to give them a head start before skewering them. Finishing with a fresh lemon-herb vinaigrette while the skewers are hot from the grill makes for a flavorful finish. Rice and Pasta Pilaf combines tender rice with toasted, nutty pieces of vermicelli. In order to have both ingredients finish cooking at the same time, we soak the rice in hot water for 10 minutes to soften its outer coating and help it absorb water quickly. We let the cooked pilaf stand for 10 minutes with a towel under the lid to keep it from becoming soggy.
SkewersWe got grilling with six different sets to find the best of the bunch.
Dinner 3: Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic and Caesar Salad
Game Plan: Start by making the croutons and soaking the garlic paste in lemon juice for the salad dressing. While the grill heats, finish the dressing. Grill the steaks. Toss the salad while the steaks rest.
Grilled Tuscan Steak with Garlic is a simple dish that consists of a beautifully grilled steak lightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice. The grassy oil complements the beef, while the acidic lemon juice sharpens the flavors. For heady— but not overpowering—garlic flavor in our Caesar Salad, we use a rasp-style grater to turn garlic cloves to a paste and then steep the paste in lemon juice to temper its bite. To emulsify the dressing, we beat egg yolks, anchovies, and Worcestershire sauce into the lemon juice and garlic and then slowly drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil and Parmesan cheese. For tender-crisp croutons, we sprinkle cubes of ciabatta bread with a little water to preserve their moistness even after they are toasted.