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Volume 58

Dinner This Week: Weeknight Cioppino

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Cioppino, Vegetarian Mapo Tofu, and Thick-Cut Pork Tenderloin Medallions for dinner in about an hour.

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: Cioppino with Romaine and Watercress Salad

Cioppino, a seafood soup popularized by Italian immigrants to San Francisco, starts with a quick base of lightly browned onions, canned tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and clam juice for added briny flavor. To ensure that the clams and mussels don’t break up the flaky halibut, we first poach the fillets in the tomato broth and then transfer them to a platter to keep warm while we steam the mollusks in white wine and butter. The two components are then combined into one flavorful stew before serving. Romaine and Watercress Salad with Apple and Kohlrabi combines crisp romaine lettuce with spicy, tender watercress. Thinly sliced kohlrabi and sweet apple combine cohesively with the salad greens and provide complexity.

Printable Shopping Lists: Cioppino and Romaine and Watercress Salad

Equipment Review Slotted Spoons

We rounded up eight dishwasher-safe nylon, silicone, and stainless-steel spoons, and used them to fish out green peas, poached eggs, meatballs, and jumbo shrimp from liquids in different kinds of cookware.

Dinner 2: Vegetarian Mapo Tofu and Charred Green Beans

Our Vegetarian Mapo Tofu is potent in flavor, with balanced spiciness. We start with cubed soft tofu and poach it gently in a mushroom broth to help the pieces stay intact in the braise. For the sauce, we use plenty of ginger and garlic along with four Sichuan pantry powerhouses: Asian broad bean chili paste (doubanjiang), fermented black beans, Sichuan chili powder, and Sichuan peppercorns. We finish with just the right amount of cornstarch to create a velvety consistency. Skillet-Charred Green Beans have a soft, appealingly dense, satisfying chew and concentrated flavor. To achieve those results, we first soften the beans by steaming them in the microwave. Then we char them in a skillet, without stirring, in a couple of tablespoons of hot oil. Once they are charred, we season them with a lemony salt-and-pepper mixture.

Printable Shopping Lists: Vegetarian Mapo Tofu and Charred Green Beans

Equipment Review Kitchen Tongs

Which pair offers the best precision and comfort?

Dinner 3: Pork Medallions and Roasted Butternut Squash

Our recipe for Thick-Cut Pork Tenderloin Medallions starts with cutting tenderloins into 1½-inch-thick pieces and tying them to create neat cylindrical packages that can be easily seared on all sides. The searing process has the extra benefit of producing enough fond to create an easy, flavorful pan sauce. For Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese, Pecans, and Maple, we peel off not only the tough outer skin but also the fibrous layer of white flesh just beneath, ensuring supremely tender squash. To encourage the squash slices to caramelize, we roast them in a 425-degree oven on the lowest rack and use an extended baking time to evaporate the water in the slices. Melted butter instead of oil promotes the flavorful Maillard reaction. Finally, a topping of pecans and goat cheese add crunch and creaminess.

Pork Pan Sauces: Hoisin-Sesame; Maple-Mustard; Apple Cider

Printable Shopping Lists: Pork Medallions and Roasted Butternut Squash



View more weeknight dinner ideas below, or check out all of the Dinner This Week menus.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.