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Volume 28

Dinner This Week: Chorizo and Potato Tacos

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Chorizo and Potato Tacos, Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Cutlets, and Poached Salmon for dinner in an hour or less.

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: Chorizo and Potato Tacos and Avocado Salad

For our Chorizo and Potato Tacos, we start by making our own juicy, highly seasoned chorizo: We mix ground pork with ancho chile powder and spices that have been bloomed in oil to bring out their flavors. We cook the pork mixture in a skillet and add parboiled diced potatoes that absorb the flavorful pork fat and juices as they finish cooking. Mashing some of the potatoes makes the filling more cohesive. For a balanced Avocado Salad with Mango and Jicama, we pair buttery avocados with a highly acidic dressing to cut their richness. We emulsify the vinaigrette with a bit of mayonnaise to ensure cling. Arranging the mango and jicama on top of the dressed avocado maximizes visual appeal by preventing the avocado from turning the salad murky.

Printable Shopping ListsChorizo and Potato Tacos with Avocado Salad with Mango and Jicama

Equipment Review Chef's Knives

One chef’s knife has been a champ in our kitchen for nearly two decades. Can any other blade come close to offering what it does—and at a bargain price?

Dinner 2: Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Cutlets and Cucumber Salad

For our Crispy Pan-Fried Chicken Cutlets, we ditch the usual homemade bread crumbs in favor of drier, crunchier panko. For a more delicate crust, we omit the flour in the breading process. To know when the frying oil is at just the right temperature, we add a pinch of panko to the skillet with the oil. When the crumbs turn golden brown, it's time to start frying. To ensure good crunch in our Sesame Lemon Cucumber Salad, we toss sliced cucumbers with salt and put a weight on top of them to maximize the amount of water they shed. A bright dressing of rice vinegar and toasted sesame oil is the perfect foil to the crisp cucumbers.

Printable Shopping ListsCrispy Pan-Fried Chicken Cutlets and Sesame Lemon Cucumber Salad

Equipment Review Wire Racks

We tested three wire racks priced from $7.99 to $12.95, focusing on models that fit inside standard-size rimmed baking sheets.

Dinner 3: Poached Salmon and Toasted Orzo

Our Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette features tender fish accented by the delicate flavor of the poaching liquid. Using less poaching liquid allows us to cut back on the vegetables and aromatics in the broth, saving preparation time. Cooking the fillets directly on lemon slices prevents the bottom sides from overcooking. For Toasted Orzo with Peas and Parmesan, we brown the pasta to add complexity before cooking it risotto-style. Stirring in finely grated Parmesan at the end makes the pilaf creamy, and a pinch of nutmeg accentuates the nuttiness of the cheese.

Printable Shopping Lists: Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette with Toasted Orzo

To view more quick weeknight dinner ideas, check out the rest of the Dinner This Week series.