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Volume 95

Dinner This Week: Baked Sole

By Keith Dresser Published

This week’s menus include Baked Sole Fillets with Herbs and Bread Crumbs; Farrotto with Pancetta, Asparagus, and Peas; and Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken 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: Baked Sole and Bulgur Salad

For our Baked Sole Fillets with Herbs and Bread Crumbs, we roll the fillets into compact bundles so they cook evenly. To enliven the fish’s mild flavor, we add Dijon mustard and a variety of fresh herbs. A simple topping of toasted bread crumbs contributes texture and richness. Bulgur Salad with Carrots and Almonds utilizes the technique for making tabbouleh, where the bulgur is soaked to soften. To enhance the grain's nutty flavor, we incorporate ground cumin, cayenne pepper, lemon, shredded carrot, and crunchy almonds. Lots of chopped fresh mint, cilantro, and scallions make our salad fresh and bright.

Printable Shopping Lists: Baked Sole and Bulgur Salad

Equipment Review Dutch Ovens

Our favorite Dutch oven costs $360. We needed a practical alternative.

Dinner 2: Farrotto and Romaine and Watercress Salad

The biggest challenge to making a satisfying Farrotto with Pancetta, Asparagus, and Peas is achieving the proper texture. We found that cracking about half the farro in a blender was the key to freeing enough starch from the grains to create a creamy, risotto-like consistency. Adding most of the liquid up front and cooking the farrotto in a lidded Dutch oven helps the grains cook evenly and avoids constant stirring. 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: Farrotto and Romaine and Watercress Salad

Equipment Review Mixing Bowls

This most basic piece of cooking equipment might not seem worthy of scrutiny—until you have one that wobbles when you whisk, slips in your hand, or traps food in its crevices.

Dinner 3: Gōngbǎo Jīdīng (Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken) and Pai Huang Ga (Smashed Cucumbers)

To get the requisite tingly, spicy flavor in our Gōngbǎo Jīdīng (Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken), we use toasted crushed Sichuan peppercorns and arbol chiles that we halve lengthwise to expose their interiors and maximize the flavor they add. We cover the skillet to facilitate quick and even cooking of diced chicken thighs. For Pai Huang Gua (Smashed Cucumbers) we place English cucumbers, which are nearly seedless and have thin, crisp skins, in a zipper-lock bag and smash them into large, irregular pieces. Salting the cucumbers helps them expel excess water and breaking them into craggy pieces allows them to hold on to the dressing.

Printable Shopping Lists: Kung Pao Chicken and Smashed Cucumbers


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

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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.