What to Cook Right Now
Enjoy a taste of youthful nostalgia: chicken tenders. Or, turn them into meatballs.
By Sam Sifton
Good morning. There is nothing wrong with a dinner of chicken tenders and fry sauce. This is particularly the case if there’s a child in the house, or a young adult who used to be a child, or anyone in need of pure comfort in advance of a screening of “Balto II” or the latest episode of “Euphoria.”
Chicken tenders are a solace, a taste of youthful nostalgia. You can eat them with your fingers or pile them into a submarine roll for a chicken Parm sandwich. With the fry sauce and some salted sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce, you can make them into a po’boy of exceptional merit. You shouldn’t forget tendies, not ever.
But perhaps you could evolve them a little? That’s what Ali Slagle did with her new recipe for chicken nugget meatballs (above). A mixture of panko and Parmesan coats their exteriors and goes in the filling as well, and they’re crisped over medium heat to prevent oil splattering everywhere. I’m piling mine in a hero tonight. How about you?
Maybe you’ll make Vallery Lomas’s new recipe for grits and greens instead. With quick-cooking grits for a weeknight preparation, and plenty of Cheddar added at the end, it’s a rich and creamy meal that comes together quickly — with a combination of collard greens and chard to vary the texture.
Or have you considered baked rice with white beans, leeks and lemon? It’s a substantial meal already, but I don’t think it’s crazy to run a bunch of shrimp under the broiler to serve on top, and I’m sure it’d also be great alongside roasted chicken thighs. Maybe with a few dollops of yogurt?
Other recipes I’d like to cook right now: something from our collection of recipes for the Lunar New Year on Tuesday (these longevity noodles with chicken, ginger and mushrooms?); vegetarian kofta curry; fish with sizzling olive butter; gilgeori toast. And, at some point before the end of the week, absolutely this lobster mac and cheese, more updated children’s food and very, very delicious. (You only need one lobster!)
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And remember: We are standing watch just in case anything goes sideways along the way. Just write [email protected], and someone will get back to you, I promise.
Now, it’s not going to teach you how to poach an egg or debone a leg of lamb, but it’s still important: Check out the second installment of Priya Krishna’s “On the Job” series for our YouTube channel, “How to Run a Restaurant on Instagram.”
Even further afield from the business of preparing home-cooked meals, but no less exciting for that: “Sleeping Beauty,” a short story by Laura Demers, in Granta.
Here’s Julissa James in The Los Angeles Times, on why people go to the desert to do psychedelics.
Finally, some new music to play us off: Jenny Hval, “Year of Love.” Listen to that while you’re cooking. And I’ll be back on Wednesday.
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