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 Beef Kofte and Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato
Game Plan: Prep the kofte (steps 1 and 2) and let it stand while preparing the salsa. Once the salsa has been mixed, heat the grill and cook the kofte.
For Grilled Beef Kofte, we skip the traditional bread panade in favor of a little gelatin, which retains moisture and keeps the patties tender. Ground pine nuts add richness and keep the kofte from being too springy. Steeping corn kernels in boiling water with a touch of baking soda works like magic to soften the raw corn for a side dish of Fresh Corn Salsa with Tomato. As the corn steeps, its hulls soften just enough that they aren’t leathery, but the kernels still burst with crisp sweetness.
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Dinner 2: Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Bibb and Frisee Salad
Game Plan: Prep all of the ingredients for the shrimp and salad. Prepare the shrimp recipe, then toss the salad while the sauce simmers in step 3.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine is a lively and piquant dish of briny, plump shrimp and tangy tomatoes with red pepper flakes and garlic to provide a spirited kick. We boost the seafood flavor of the dish by first browning the shrimp shells and using them to make stock. This stock forms a sauce base in which we poach the shrimp. To finish, we add a bit more heat in the form of minced pepperoncini peppers; generous amounts of chopped parsley and basil contribute freshness. Our Bibb and Frisée Salad with Grapes and Celery uses a combination of frilly, crunchy frisée and soft, buttery bibb lettuce. Thin slices of celery incorporate easily with the greens. Seedless red grapes add pops of juiciness and freshness, while blue cheese adds salty richness.
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Dinner 3: Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts and Tomato and Burrata Salad
Game Plan: Start by baking the chicken (step 1). While the chicken is in the oven, salt the tomatoes (step 1). Meanwhile, prep the remaining ingredients for the chicken and salad. Sear the chicken (step 2). Assemble the salad while the chicken rests.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook quickly, but they’re also notoriously dry and bland. To keep our Pan-Seared Chicken Breasts moist (and well-seasoned), we salt them and then gently parcook them in a low oven. We then coat the breasts in a protective layer of oil and cornstarch and sear them in a hot skillet to develop a crisp crust. Tomato and Burrata Salad with Pangrattato and Basil is our deluxe version of a Caprese-inspired salad. Creamy, soft burrata is paired with standard tomatoes and sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and extra-virgin olive oil. A topping of Italian pangrattato (garlicky bread crumbs) helps bring the dish together, soaking up both the tomato juice and the burrata cream.