Weeknight Dishes: Perfectly grilled chicken, roasted mushroom larb and spaghetti with fried eggs – The Denver Post

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

Wouldn’t it be nice to work the grill in a state of total relaxation, with a drink in hand, instead of anxiously poking at the food to make sure you’re doing it right? I think so, and so I’ve decided that this is the summer I’ll finally get better at grilling. Hopefully I’ll progress from a place of basic competence to something like sure-handedness.

Grilled Chicken Legs

The best grilled chicken smells like summer. To achieve that charred aroma, you want to crisp the skin while cooking the meat through and keeping it juicy. Setting oil-slicked meat over direct, moderate heat and covering the grill prevents flare-ups, which can burn the skin before the meat loses its rawness. Because fire lends its own flavor, the chicken really doesn’t need anything more than salt and pepper, but if you want a little sweetness, savoriness and spice, you can brush on the simple soy glaze toward the end of cooking. As it heats, it caramelizes onto the skin and seeps into the meat. A final swipe of sauce over the chicken after it’s off the grill gives it a sticky shine.

By Genevieve Ko

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Total time: 35 minutes, plus grill heating time


For the glaze (optional):

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

For the chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons canola or other neutral oil
  • 5 pounds chicken legs or drumsticks or a combination, patted dry
  • Salt and black pepper


1. If you’re making the glaze, mix the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and red-pepper flakes until the sugar dissolves. The glaze can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week.

2. Prepare the chicken: Rub the oil all over the chicken, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap any flaps of excess skin around the meat.

3. To cook chicken on a gas grill, heat the grill to medium. When the grill is hot, turn off one burner, and clean and grease the grate. Place the chicken on the grate over the heated burners skin side down. Cover and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. If you’re not glazing the chicken, continue cooking, covered and flipping once, for 5 to 7 minutes longer. If the skin isn’t browning, turn up the heat. If flames flare up over the chicken, move the meat briefly over the unlit burner.

4. If you’re glazing the chicken, brush the meat with the glaze and turn the pieces over. Cover and cook for 2 minutes, then continue brushing, turning and cooking, covered, until you have a spoonful of glaze left and the skin is burnished, 8 to 10 minutes total. A meat thermometer should register 165 degrees.

5. To cook chicken on a charcoal grill, heat charcoal, then spread over two-thirds of the grate when they ash over. When you can hold your hand 5 inches above the coals for 5 to 7 seconds, place the chicken on the grate over the coals skin side down. Cover, with the top vents halfway closed, and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. If you’re not glazing the chicken, continue cooking, covered and flipping once, for 5 to 7 minutes longer. If you’re glazing the chicken, brush the meat with the glaze and turn the pieces over. If flames flare up over the chicken, move the meat briefly over the side without coals. Continue brushing and turning uncovered for 8 to 10 minutes, until you have a spoonful of glaze left and the skin is burnished. A meat thermometer should register 165 degrees.

6. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and immediately brush with the remaining glaze.

Rhubarb Roasted Salmon

In this speedy, rosy weeknight dinner, a tart ginger-rhubarb sauce lends brightness to rich, buttery roasted salmon fillets. It’s used in two ways here. First, it’s spooned over the fillets before roasting, allowing the bits of rhubarb to singe and caramelize in the oven’s high heat. Then, more sauce is served alongside for a fresher, zippier bite. To balance the rhubarb’s astringency, a few tablespoons of sugar are stirred into the sauce, but feel free to adjust the amount to taste. It should strike a balance between tangy and sweet. For the pinkest, prettiest sauce, seek out the reddest rhubarb stalks you can find.

By Melissa Clark

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger, more to taste
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces rhubarb, trimmed and sliced 1-inch-thick (1 1/3 cups)
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • Red-pepper flakes, for serving (optional)


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, if you like, for easier clean up.

2. Set aside about 2 tablespoons of the scallion greens for serving. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining scallions, sugar, vinegar, ginger and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Add the rhubarb. Cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using a spoon or fork, mash the mixture until it falls apart into a chunky purée. Taste and add more sugar, vinegar, ginger and salt if needed. It should taste balanced between sweet, tangy and salty.

4. Arrange salmon skin side down on the prepared baking sheet. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Spread half of the rhubarb mixture on top of the fillets (save remaining rhubarb for serving). Top fillets evenly with cubed butter. Roast for 8 to 13 minutes, or until the salmon is just cooked through.

5. Garnish the fillets with the reserved scallions, red-pepper flakes (if using) and, if you like, a drizzle of rice wine vinegar. Serve with the remaining rhubarb sauce.

Sheet-Pan Garlicky Shrimp and White Beans

Everything — the shrimp, the beans and the garlic bread — cook together on one pan for an under-30-minute meal that requires very little cleanup. Canned cannellini beans get a little crispy in the high heat, and their mellow creaminess serves to bring the other ingredients together, but you could also use any cooked bean you have on hand. The only real bit of work is making a pungent paste of garlic to spread on the bread, but if you are really pressed for time, just rub each piece of bread with the cut side of a garlic clove. (The flavor will be milder.) If you keep shrimp and bacon in the freezer, just thaw the shrimp in a bowl of warm water while you prep the garlic bread, and no need to defrost the bacon; just cut it up and use it frozen.

By Sarah DiGregorio

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 25 minutes


  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 8 ounces crusty bread, preferably dry or stale, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch thick slices, halved if large
  • 1 pound large, shelled and deveined shrimp, tails on or off (fresh or defrosted)
  • 5 slices of bacon (about 4 ounces), sliced into matchsticks
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1/2 small lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Finely chop the garlic, and run the flat of the knife over the garlic bits to smash them. Sprinkle a generous pinch of salt over the garlic and continue to chop and smash, until the garlic is a coarse paste. Spread the paste on one side of each piece of bread, then rub the unseasoned side of the bread over the cutting board to wipe up any remaining garlic. Put the bread into a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the shrimp, bacon, beans, lemon, red pepper, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the olive oil to the bowl. Fold to evenly combine. Pour everything onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and spread out evenly. Roast until the shrimp are curled and pink and the bread is golden and toasted around the edges, 14 to 15 minutes. Serve in shallow bowls.

Roasted Mushroom Larb

Earthy mushrooms replace meat in this take on larb. A dish popular in the northern and northeastern regions of Thailand, larb is often a lively combination of cooked minced meat, fresh herbs and a punchy dressing. In this recipe, mushrooms are roasted until golden brown and crispy around the edges and, once cooled, tossed with a mix of cilantro, mint, basil and aromatics, including sliced scallions. Lime juice and soy sauce keep the dressing tangy and savory. A subtle, nutty crunch from toasted ground rice is an essential element of the salad, so don’t skip this step. Serve the dish with steamed rice and additional lime wedges for squeezing.

By Yewande Komolafe

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 30 minutes


  • 2 pounds mixed mushrooms, such as button, oyster and shiitake, trimmed and quartered or torn into 2-inch pieces if large
  • 1/4 cup neutral oil, such as grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons uncooked glutinous or sweet rice
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 bird’s eye chiles, sliced, or 1/2 teaspoon red-chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, torn
  • 1/2 cup fresh Thai or sweet basil leaves, torn
  • Steamed rice, for serving


1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer on a sheet pan and drizzle with the oil. Season with salt and, using your fingers, toss to coat. Roast, turning the pan halfway through, until mushrooms are golden brown and crisp around the edges, about 25 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, toast the rice in a small skillet over medium, stirring often, until it begins to smell nutty and turn golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and process to a medium-coarse powder.

4. Zest and juice 1 lime into a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar, soy sauce, garlic and chile. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the roasted mushrooms to the bowl and toss to coat. Add the onion, scallions, cilantro, mint and basil. Stir to combine, then sprinkle on the toasted rice powder.

5. Cut the remaining lime into wedges. Serve the mushroom larb alongside steamed rice with lime wedges for squeezing.

Spaghetti With Fried Eggs

Here’s a quick and delicious pasta dish to make when you have little time and even less food in the house. All you need is a box of spaghetti, four eggs, olive oil and garlic (Parmesan is a delicious, but optional, addition).

By Mark Bittman

Yield: 2 or 3 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


  • Salt
  • 1/2 pound thin spaghetti
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or lard
  • 2 large cloves garlic, lightly smashed and peeled
  • 4 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese, optional


1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Start the sauce in the next step, and start cooking the pasta when the water boils.

2. Combine garlic and 4 tablespoons of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the garlic, pressing it into the oil occasionally to release its flavor; it should barely color on both sides. Remove the garlic and add the remaining oil.

3. Fry the eggs gently in the oil until the whites are just about set and the yolks still quite runny. Drain the pasta and toss with the eggs and oil, breaking up the whites as you do. (The eggs will finish cooking in the heat of the pasta.) Season to taste and serve immediately, with cheese if you like.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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