Crispy Recipes for When Dinner’s in a Crunch

Baked fish and spaghetti with fried shallots are on the table in (and with) a snap.

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By Emily Weinstein

“Crispy” is one of the most appealing adjectives in food, right up there with “crunchy” and “creamy,” not to mention “sizzled,” “smashed” and “seared.” It conjures pleasure before you’ve even cooked or purchased the food in question, let alone taken a bite. What is it? The delicate shattering sensation? The immense satisfaction of that sound? The fact that many of the best crispy foods are inevitably, blessedly salty?

This week’s newsletter is devoted to crispness, with five quick and easy recipes to deliver that texture in different ways. What are you cooking? What are you eating? I’m [email protected], and I’d love to hear from you.

1. Crispy Baked Fish With Tartar Sauce

Picture a plate of golden fried fish at a pub or seafood shack; this recipe from Ali Slagle takes you there, but without any deep frying. The fish bakes in the oven and then takes a turn under the broiler for that crisp crust.

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2. Crispy Coconut Rice With Tofu

This easy pantry recipe by Hetty McKinnon was inspired by rice dishes like Persian tahdig and Korean nurungji. Store-bought Thai curry paste provides the punchy flavor and color. It starts with cooked rice; make a large pot of rice to go with the fish above or chicken below and use the leftovers here.

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3. One-Pan Shrimp Scampi With Crispy Gnocchi

I’m very into potato gnocchi right now, the kind you find in the pasta aisle and quickly pan-fry on the stove for a bite that is crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. In this recipe, Melissa Clark pairs that gnocchi with lemon-spritzed shrimp scampi.

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4. Ginger Chicken With Crisp Napa Salad

A reminder that pleasing crispness can come from produce, like the cool and crunchy napa cabbage and sliced cucumber that go with Yewande Komolafe’s ginger-garlic chicken.

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5. Spaghetti Aglio e Olio e Fried Shallot

You have to love a crispy topping — the final dusting on a dish that adds contrasting texture and, often, salty pops of flavor. Here, Kenji López-Alt sprinkles fried shallots on top of easy garlic spaghetti. Those fried shallots, by the way, can be either store-bought or homemade.

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