Chopping on a Sunday makes life far saner on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and provides a plump little break from the other tasks on my list.
The recipes below include elements that can be made ahead when you have time:
Here are five dishes for the week:
1. Chicken and Rice with Scallion-Ginger Sauce
What you need:
1 1/2 cups sushi rice (or other short-grain white rice)
1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 3 tablespoons)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
6 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
1 jalapeno, halved, seeded, then thinly sliced
2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1. Place rice in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water, shaking gently, until the water runs clear. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, broth and 1 tablespoon grated ginger. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper and place on top of rice mixture. Cover and bring mixture to a boil over high. Once mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until rice is plump, broth is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, 20 to 22 minutes. Turn off heat and let rest, covered, 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the vegetable oil, scallions, vinegar, jalapeno, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar and remaining ginger; season with salt and pepper.
3. Remove chicken from saucepan and slice 1/2-inch thick crosswise. Fluff rice with a fork and divide among bowls. Top with chicken and scallion-ginger sauce.
2. Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
What you need
1 pound small cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons for tossing
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano, more for serving
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line bottom of casserole dish with cherry tomatoes in a single layer, halved side up. Pour oil on top, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs on top. Bake until tomatoes have wilted, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with enough sea salt so that water tastes mildly of salt. When tomatoes are just about done, add penne to water and cook until al dente (it should be pliable but still firm in center). Scoop out about a cup of pasta water and reserve. Drain pasta and add to casserole. Fold tomatoes and pasta together, adding another 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil, to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it is dry, add a little reserved pasta water. Serve, passing more grated cheese at the table.
3. Grilled Fish With Salsa Verde
Total time: About 30 minutes
What you need
1 to 2 garlic cloves (to taste), halved, green shoots removed
1 anchovy fillet, rinsed (optional)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup (tightly packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves (25 grams)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1. To make the salsa verde, combine the garlic, anchovy fillet, salt and capers in a mini food processor and pulse to a paste. (Alternatively, use an immersion blender and combine the ingredients in a jar and blend to a paste.) Add the olive oil and parsley and blend to a purEe. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If using within a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature. Otherwise, refrigerate. Allow to come to room temperature before using.
2. Prepare a hot grill. When the grill is ready, season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides and brush generously on both sides with olive oil. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, just until you can pull the flesh apart with a fork. Remove from the heat and serve with the salsa verde.
Tips for advance preparation: The salsa keeps well in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days.
4. Egg Curry
What you need
1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or canola
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1-teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
6 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
6 to 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
Handful of small, tender fresh cilantro stems
1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until evenly caramelized and light brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the garlic and ginger, and fry, stirring occasionally, another 4 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cardamom. When the spices start to toast, after about 2 minutes, stir in the coriander, turmeric and peppercorns.
2. Add the tomatoes, salt and 1 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and the fat rises to the top, about 15 minutes. Stir in the garam masala and lower the heat. If the sauce isn’t runny, stir in 1/2 cup water.
3. Add all but 2 of the eggs and stir gently. Halve the remaining eggs lengthwise and arrange on top, yolk-side up. Heat until the eggs are warmed through, then top with cilantro.
5. Sheet-Pan Shrimp Scampi
What you need
1-teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound peeled large or extra-large shrimp
2 to 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped (or use more parsley)
1. Position a broiler rack 4 inches from heating element, then heat the broiler. If your oven is separate from your broiler, heat the oven to 450 degrees.
2. Slice one of the lemons 1/4-inch thick, removing the seeds. Arrange lemon slices in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut the other lemon into wedges and reserve for serving.
3. Brush lemon slices generously with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt.
4. Transfer pan to the oven or broiler, and broil until the tops of the lemon slices are caramelized and charred in spots, 6 to 12 minutes. (Broilers vary a lot in their intensity, so watch carefully.) If your broiler is in your oven, turn off the broiler and heat oven to 450 degrees. (It should heat up quickly since the broiler has been on.)
5. Meanwhile, in a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Remove from heat and add shrimp, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt, the red-pepper flakes and black pepper; toss well to coat shrimp with butter.
6. Transfer shrimp mixture to the baking sheet, and spread shrimp in an even layer on top of the lemon slices. Roast until shrimp are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Toss lemons and shrimp well, taste, and add more salt if needed. Transfer shrimp, lemons and any pan juices to a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley, basil and more red-pepper flakes. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges for squeezing.