Hi and welcome to Five Weeknight Dishes. Much of the talk here at NYT Cooking headquarters has been focused on the resplendent Samin Nosrat and her latest project: Her 10 essential Persian recipes, the dishes that to her encapsulate the cuisine she grew up with in her Iranian-American home in San Diego.
I can’t wait to cook them, starting with this beautiful kuku sabzi, which is like an emerald-green Persian frittata, and which everyone at the photo shoot went wild for; and of course this polo ba tahdig, rice with a bread crust that elicits actual gasps when you bring it out to the table; fesenjoon, my favorite, which is a sweet and sour and silky chicken stew made with pomegranate juice and walnuts; and this easy cucumber-and-herb yogurt, which goes on nearly anything.
Is this weeknight food in the “I’m just catching the train now — oh wait I forgot my work ID at my desk but I’m late and wait what’s for dinner” sense? It isn’t. (Except for the yogurt and the Shirazi salad, that is, with cucumbers and tomatoes. Those are fast.) But if you’re a make-ahead sort of cook, know that these stews freeze beautifully, and that pulling a container of fesenjoon out of the freezer on a Thursday morning so you can eat it that night with a fresh pot of rice is one of those slo-mo victory moments, a total win. (I learned this from personal experience.)
For the non-make-ahead cooks, I see you, and I’ve got light, sharp, speedy recipes below. Questions? Feedback? Which cuisines would you like to see featured down the line? Tell me! I’m [email protected].
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Here are five dishes for the week:
The problem with boneless, skinless chicken breasts is that they often turn out dry — but not if you stuff them with fresh mozzarella. This fantastically simple recipe will only get better when summer tomatoes are full-on in the markets. Until then, cocktail tomatoes, which are often sold on the vine, work well here. Serve with asparagus, snap peas or a salad, and something carby.
It’s sprrrriiiiing! And here is how you can weeknight-ify this gorgeous recipe: Use frozen peas rather than fresh English peas; use any combination of the vegetables mentioned, feeling free to use more of one and skip another if you can’t find it; use dried fettuccine or pappardelle from the box if you can’t buy fresh. It will still be great.
Vegan brilliance: Swap out the meat in chicken adobo, a sweet-and-sour classic of Filipino cooking, and replace it with cauliflower, which caramelizes and soaks up the rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Serve this with rice or farro, and kale or another steamed or sautéed green on the side. (If you go with rice, double or triple the batch and have it on hand to eat with the larb or fish below.)
This is a streamlined version of a Thai staple, which you could make with ground turkey or chicken if you’d prefer. (Dark meat if you can, please!) The flavors here are fully alive: Lime juice! Fish sauce! Herbs, herbs, herbs! You could skip the first step, in which you toast and grind rice into powder, but know that the dish will be less authentic for it — though still delicious on a Tuesday.
I made this recipe just the other night, using one big piece of cod instead of individual fillets, doubling the sesame oil and ginger (the recipe as written is meant to be subtle, but that’s not my thing), marinating it while the oven heated, and then baking it for about 15 minutes. It’s perfect with quinoa or rice and sautéed spinach, or spinach salad with gingery dressing, on the side.
These recipes and about 19,000 more are on NYT Cooking, where subscribers luxuriate in all of their amazing culinary options. Join them! Subscribe here. Follow me on Instagram or NYT Cooking on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Previous newsletters are archived here. I’m [email protected], and if you have any problems with your account, email [email protected].