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Sweet Corn, Spicy Shishitos, Super Salad



Sweet Corn, Spicy Shishitos, Super Salad
Sweet Corn, Spicy Shishitos, Super Salad

This week brings the official start of summer, and with it comes the kickoff, in my house at least, of salad-for-dinner season.

Our family eats salad with dinner year round. While I cook, our 15-year-old salad captain seasons a bowl of greens with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and then tosses everything together with her hands. It’s always a perfect accompaniment to the meal (and it gets the kid involved).

But summer’s the season when salad barely needs company. Lidey Heuck’s spicy corn and shishito salad — a jubilant, cumin-y combination of sautéed peppers and crunchy raw corn kernels — is hearty and flavorful enough to be a light meal unto itself, maybe with some crusty bread on the side. You can always add some pasta if your tablemates require more heft; just add a dash more olive oil to coat until shiny. It’s a salad for all comers.

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Like the idea of a vegetarian pasta main, but hot? Give Vivian Chan-Tam’s one-pot ratatouille pasta a go. She cooks the vegetables in stages like a classic ratatouille: first the eggplant and onions, and then the zucchini and peppers so they keep some texture. The pasta is simmered right in the sauce, to absorb all those summery, herby flavors.

For an easy chicken dinner, Ali Slagle’s delightfully full-flavored crispy sour cream and onion chicken is based on the flavors of the classic dip. She slathers chicken breast cutlets with onion-powdered sour cream, which helps tenderize the meat, and then dips them in panko before frying until burnished and potato-chip crunchy. A squeeze of lemon at the end adds just the right tang. Magnifique. (For more excellent chicken breast recipes, make sure you’re signed up for Emily Weinstein’s Five Weeknight Dishes newsletter, which gives that white meat lots of love tomorrow.)

Moving from the chicken to the egg, Genevieve Ko’s egg-in-a-nest sandwich is basically a toasty, buttery grilled cheese with a runny egg in the center. Her 10-minute recipe is just the thing to make for yourself when you need something speedy and satisfying. I like mine with a pool of hot sauce on the side.

You could add a runny egg to Hetty “Favors Currying” Lui McKinnon’s crispy coconut rice with tofu, though it might be gilding the lily. The pan is already packed with curry-paste-slicked rice, cubes of tofu and slices of red chiles, all nestled in a golden, crackling crust. I keep frozen cooked rice on hand precisely for dishes like this; it comes out even crunchier than freshly cooked rice.

For dessert, I’ve been dreaming about my lemon poppy seed poundcake with its brittle, translucent glaze. Made with olive oil instead of butter, it’s got a light and very moist crumb, and you can easily whisk up the batter without an electric mixer. Leftovers freeze well, too, so you can keep extra slices on hand for citrusy snacking on the fly.

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That’s all for now. I’ll be back on Wednesday.

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