Weeknight Kitchen with Melissa Clark takes on one of the biggest dilemmas of busy people: what are we going to eat? In each episode, you’ll join Melissa in her own home kitchen, working through one of her favorite recipes and offering helpful advice for both beginners and seasoned cooks. It’s a practical guide for weeknight eating, from the makers of The Splendid Table.
On Sundays in South Africa, you can smell these curried lamb skewers cooking over live fires throughout every neighborhood as families gather around the braai, an Afrikaans word that describes both the social event and the actual technique of grilling over a live fire. These sweet and savory skewers can be made with pork, beef, or lamb and are displayed in almost every South African butcher’s counter or grocery store, already prepped and marinated for convenience. Stateside, I make my own sosaties with boneless lamb and marinate them overnight when time permits. We love serving these to guests who visit our home for a braai, with a round of Springbokkie (a traditional peppermint liqueur shot)—the best conversation starter!
This is a spectacularly refreshing salad, especially when it is made when cantaloupe melons are at their densely honeyed best. You can roast your own peppers or get them out of a jar if you are in a hurry but do make sure your tomatoes are sumptuously ripe. The bread will soften by soaking up all the fruity juices. This is one to make throughout the summer.
“If you keep a jar of concia in the refrigerator during the summer, you will always have something delicious for making sandwiches and pasta,” said Daniela Gean, a restaurateur in Rome’s Monteverde neighborhood. She’s right. This dish of fried zucchini marinated in vinegar, garlic, and fresh herbs is ubiquitous in Roman Jewish homes because it is equal parts tasty and useful. What’s not ubiquitous, however, is the way home cooks choose to slice their zucchini. Some insist it must be cut into long planks, while others argue that thin coins are the only option. (Call me a peacemaker, but I like both methods!)
Whether shopping in your own garden or your neighbor’s, or at a farmers’ market, look for small vegetables for this. You want baby eggplant, either long Asian-style or smaller Italian globes, picked when the skin is still shiny and the interior seeds are still small. Skinny Italian frying peppers. Sweet garden onions with the green tops still attached. Thin-skinned cherry tomatoes and zucchini picked well before they explode. I’d avoid those tiny, bland “baby zucchini”; in my experience, zucchini doesn’t develop any personality until adolescence.
Serves 3 or 4
Carrots stand up well to quite aggressive spicing, and they really deepen in colour and change texture when roasted. In this dish I use my jerk seasoning, which is a wonderful blend of earthy spices. It’s really lovely as a sweet glaze with the salty and creamy texture of the vegan feta cheese. I’m a big fan of sweet and salty flavours in the same dish. This feels like it could be a good weekday dinner with a couple of other sides.
When we decided to write this book, our first thought was, “You know what the world needs right now? Another take on vitello tonnato!” Just kidding—nobody needs another version of this classic Piedmontese dish. But because tomato season is so special and because Ryan’s and Steph’s moms really loved this version, in which savory beefsteak tomatoes play the part of thinly sliced veal, we just had to include it in here.
Who knew Italians love bacon (pancetta) as much as we do? This is pure comfort food, and it is a quick and easy solution for a satisfying dinner using simple ingredients.
We love adding fresh herbs to any salad because they are loaded with micronutrients and add a pop of flavor. Think basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, mint, thyme, and in this recipe, dill! Dill is a medicinal herb that has been used for more than 2,000 years. Rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, and vitamin A, it combines beautifully with the mustard in this dressing. Go ahead and make a double batch of dressing for dipping crackers and veggies—it stores well for up to 5 days in the fridge. Garnish with chopped dill and sunflower seeds.
Even though transplants and visitors to Atlanta complain constantly about the Southern humidity and heat, my favorite memories as a kid are still from summertime in Georgia—from climbing rocks in backyard creeks and swimming in Lake Allatoona to walking through the dancing fountains in Centennial Olympic Park and, yes, sipping sweet iced tea on the porch. After camping out in Seward, Alaska, with a dear friend and colleague, I learned firsthand about sustainable fisheries—and got a taste of wild Alaskan salmon. I was hooked.
This recipe was inspired by my love of salmon and the hot weather of a Southern summer that calls out for cool comfort food. The smoked salmon is chilled, with refreshingly cold basil, mint, cucumber, and green onion added to the roll along with the noodles.