What to Cook This Weekend

Grilled shrimp with chile, a classic Denver omelet and more recipes.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. I once had a fantastic wood-fired seafood pizza at the Seaside Café in Key West, Fla.: sweet and salty, luxurious with lobster meat, cream sauce, fontina and puréed garlic. The meat was plush, pillowy, perfectly cooked, and I wondered about that. If I put knuckles of cooked lobster on a pizza in a 1,000-degree wood oven, they’d turn into rubber chew toys.

After I inhaled my pie, I asked the restaurant’s chef, Rafe Halpern, how he pulled it off. He chuckled before answering in a kind of bemused whisper. “Mayonnaise,” he said. Rolling the pieces in the emulsion provides a fatty protection from the intense heat of the oven, allowing them to brown without drying out. I thought that was genius.

Ali Slagle uses a similar technique for her grilled shrimp with chile and garlic (above), coating them in baking soda and mayonnaise to achieve a marvelous crust without overcooking. (J. Kenji López-Alt uses mayo as a secret ingredient when he’s cooking chicken and other meats.) Let’s try that on Saturday night?

Alternatively, and especially if you’re on the East Coast where the produce is currently popping, you should take a look at this grilled chicken with tomatoes and corn. Resting chile-rubbed grilled thighs over a salad of raw tomatoes, corn and red onion infuses the vegetables with chicken fat and helps accentuate their natural sweetness. It’s seasonal cooking at its finest. (Other contenders for that appellation: a white bean caprese salad; creamy corn soup with basil; tomato salad with chickpeas and feta; grilled corn on the cob.)

With perhaps a blackberry crisp for dessert, served with a cardamom custard sauce?

I’d love a Denver omelet for breakfast on Sunday, a diner classic with onions, bell peppers, ham and cheese. (I’d thought it a Colorado concoction, but some say it honors the 1869 arrival of the transcontinental train line in Denver City, Utah.)

And then a big Sunday supper, starting with a creamy collard greens dip spiced with shito, a powerful spicy-sweet pepper sauce from Ghana. To follow: jerk chicken with pickled bananas. (Don’t have a grill? Sheet-pan jerk salmon instead!)

Many more ideas for what to cook this weekend await you on New York Times Cooking. (And we provide plenty of inspiration on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube as well.) Yes, you need a subscription to access the recipes. Subscriptions support our work and we are grateful to all those who have taken one out. And if you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Thanks.

You can write to us at [email protected] if you experience problems doing that. And you can write to me if you want to bark about it, or just to say hello: [email protected] I read every letter sent.

Now, it’s nothing to do with barley or whelks, but when it’s a Skip Hollandsworth byline above a long article in Texas Monthly, you’ve got to read it. True crime.

John Seabrook’s in The New Yorker with a good read about how acoustic designers are working to figure out what electric vehicles should sound like. Fascinating.

Necessary: Jason Farago in The Times on “The Role of Art in a Time of War.”

Finally, in our “Playlist,” Lindsay Zoladz put me on to new Rosalía, “Despechá.” Listen to that while you’re grilling your shrimp. See you on Sunday!

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