Food served during the Chinese Lunar New Year is full of significance, and one of the most important dishes is a whole fish. It symbolizes plentiful prosperity for this year and the next. It's also one of the most simple dishes to make. Here, it's steamed, then topped with fermented black beans, garlic, chili flakes, cilantro and ginger for plenty of fresh, deep flavor.
Chinese hot pot is truly communal: Not only do you sit down to eat with all your companions, but you cook the food together in the same pot of simmering broth.
A vinaigrette can be used for far more than just salads—after all, it's a legit sauce, and should be thought of as such. Here, we spoon a tangerine and fennel vinaigrette on whole roasted fish to add a splash of light, bright flavor. The fact that it can be thrown together so quickly is just gravy...er...we mean vinaigrette.
This classic Danish open-faced sandwiche features pickled herring with rich butter and dense, tangy sourdough rye bread.
I've gone on record as saying that mussels are the easiest choose-your-own-adventure one-pot meal around, and I intend to prove it to you. This version uses my standard steamed mussel technique and combines it with the classic flavors of a French bouillabaisse. Fennel, saffron, and tomatoes are cooked together with a little pastis and orange zest to form an aromatic, briny broth for dipping bread into.
Mussels are the easiest choose-your-own-adventure one-pot meal around, and I intend to prove it to you. This version uses my standard steamed mussel technique and combines it with flavors from Central Thailand to create a dish whose basic process is pretty much identical to the French version, but whose end results are entirely different.
A pot of classic French Moules Marinières is fast food at its best. Made with fresh, inexpensive ingredients that still seem celebratory, this dish comes together in around 15 minutes from start to finish. Make sure to serve it with the rest of the wine left in the bottle and with plenty of toasted bread for dipping into the garlicky, briny broth.
Gabriel Thompson's branzino from his new cookbook, Downtown Italian, written with Katherine Thompson and Joe Campanale, is as simple as it is sophisticated, and delivers his trademark clean, bold, bright flavor. Branzino fillets are laid over what is essentially a fregola (tiny, toasted balls of semolina pasta) and tomato salad, doused with olive oil, wrapped in parchment packets, and baked.
Marcus Samuelsson is downright obliged to love salmon, having grown up on the coast of Sweden. And he has a thing for the flavors of Southeast Asia, choosing the foods of that region to be his desert-island pick, so to speak. In this dish from his new cookbook. Marcus Off Duty, he combines both cuisines into one weird and weirdly wonderful bowl.
This bowl of seafood ramen takes Halloween food to a whole new level, capturing the spirit of the holiday while being legitimately good enough to eat any other day of the year. Darkened with squid ink—not food coloring—and loaded with seared squid, plump mussels, and salmon roe, even Dracula would lay off the blood for a day just to get some of this.
Far less popular than creamy New England clam chowder, Rhode Island's dairy-free version deserves a lot more attention. The rich broth is brightened with white wine and loaded with the flavor of clams, chunks of tender potato, and bits of smoky bacon. It may be my new go-to chowder.
Nigel Slater's recipe from his newest cookbook, Eat: The Little Book of Fast Food, is simple and smart. The crab cakes only require throwing a hot chili pepper, a garlic clove, a bit of bread, and a lot of cilantro into a food processor, then combining the mixture with lump crabmeat and mirin. Formed into little balls and pan-fried, they're crisp, crabby, and terrifically aromatic.
In this easy one-skillet meal, cod fish is wrapped in a layer of prosciutto, then pan-roasted until the prosciutto is crispy and the fish within is juicy and tender. Creamy cannellini beans cooked with crumbled chorizo and and shallots makes a flavorful accompaniment.
Here's yet another winning recipe from Renee Erickson's new cookbook, A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus. She cooks her mussels in hard cider with shallots, butter, and Dijon mustard, and finishes them with uplifting and enriching lemon juice and crème fraîche, and a good amount of whole tarragon leaves, which perfume the delicious broth.
If summer has already left you where you are, bookmark this recipe from chef Renee Erickson's new A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus for next year; it's worth remembering. She pairs grilled salmon with deeply flavorful tarator, a Turkish sauce made with walnuts, bread, lemon, garlic, and olive oil, and a bright and dilly tomato-and-cucumber salad.
A juicy, flavor-packed salmon burger stuffed with dill, onions, and horseradish, served with a sweet and creamy honey-dijon mayonnaise and avocado slices on toasted buns. It's cooked with just one skillet, and finished in about 15 minutes.
This pot of noodles with Thai coconut curry and fresh shrimp can be made ahead and taken to work. Just add boiling water, seal it up for three minutes, add the contents of the fresh herb packet, and you've got a hot lunch ready.
To get the most flavor in this shrimp scampi, we use vermouth instead of white wine, and a mix of fragrant herbs—parsley, tarragon, and chives—instead of just parsley. The silky butter sauce, meanwhile, is brightened with a splash of fresh lemon juice and fresh lemon zest. It's a quick, easy, one-pot Italian-American classic with just enough extra flavor and flair to make it special.
Spiced snapper is seared and served on top of brown rice mixed with black beans and tomatillos. Creamy avocado and queso fresco finish of the dish for a healthy and hearty meal in under an hour.
Fish is notoriously tricky to pan-sear. It inevitably ends up sticking to the pan or turning tough and stringy on its surface. This method—breading it on just one side—solves both of these problems with one easy stroke, all while adding some textural contrast.