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.
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We make a lot of shakshuka in our house, both red and green, for brunch and for dinner. This green version is milder and lighter than its tomato-based cousin, and is perfect for when you are looking for ways to increase your leafy vegetable consumption, or just want to try something new. The joy of shakshuka of any color is the soft egg yolk running all over the savory, lightly spiced vegetables. Here, crumbled feta adds a salty bite, and avocado slices, a velvety texture. Serve it with some crusty bread to sop up all the saucy goodness.
You can use any salmon, swordfish, cod or tuna for this recipe, as capers, fennel, celery and lemon juice are great accompanying flavours for just about all fish. If using tuna, remember it only needs to be seared for a very short amount of time, as you don’t want to overcook and ruin a fine-quality cut.
Hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner—things don’t get much more versatile than this fiber-filled frittata. Mix up the veggies to keep it seasonal and interesting for endless weekday options. It’s earned a regular spot on my menu.
Make the labneh: Line a medium sieve with muslin or finely woven cheesecloth and place atop a container large enough to catch any drips. Transfer the yogurt to the muslin and place the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight. The liquid that separates is whey and can be saved for another use, such as baking sourdough, adding to salad dressings, or fermenting. Store the labneh refrigerated in a sealed container for up to 10 days.
Most North American Jews are familiar with sweet noodle kugels. But there are also many savory noodle kugel varieties, which can include garlic, onions, mushrooms, or even spinach. This kugel is a recipe from my husband’s grandmother, Baba Billie. It has an extra garlic kick, fantastic mouthfeel, and a nice crunchy top. You can use fresh garlic if you want, but I think the jarred garlic in oil really is the preferred ingredient.
This salad is my riff on kasha, the name given to toasted buckwheat groats cooked (in water or milk) throughout Russia and Ukraine. The word kasha basically translates as ‘porridge’ but although in the west we think of porridge as a breakfast food, kasha is commonly a comforting, hearty, savoury dish or side at lunch or dinner – often far less liquid and overcooked than oat porridge. By all means you can serve this salad hot, but I especially like it served at room temperature. The key really is toasting the buckwheat first – it brings out an extra nutty flavour and also stops it all from being too mushy.
Because barley is the first crop to ripen in the spring it has become a symbol of new life and hope, making it the perfect grain for this vibrant springtime salad.
Too often a bit part player, peppercorns here shine as the star performer. Used in quantity, they bring a bold piquancy that hints at an early Asian heat before chilies were brought to the continent. This is balanced by their fragrance as well as by a tangle of sweet, caramelized onions. Use Tellicherry peppercorns if you can as they are especially grassy and bright.
Pepper is native to the steamy, knotted jungles of the Indian Ghats, thriving in the cycles of heavy monsoon rain and sultry heat. Walk through rural areas during harvest and you will have to weave around patches of peppercorns left out to dry in the hot sun.
Tastes great with: Toasted bread (as a starter), or pasta or couscous (as a main course)
I don’t do many trends or fads, but this one is worth it. I love zoodles—not because they are healthy but because they taste so good! This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy them, smothered in cheese. These are great on their own but also served with a nice grilled steak.