Grilled Soy-Basted Chicken With Spicy Cashews, a Five-Star Reader Favorite

June 5, 2024
Dining & Wine
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Good morning. Julie Powell famously learned to cook by making her way through all of Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” an endeavor she chronicled in a blog that became a book and then a movie.

I tried a similar march with Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby’s “Let the Flames Begin” when I was coming up, but no blog or culinary bildungsroman emerged from the process, much less a Hollywood film. Still, I got very good over the fire. I used the book to practice and then to master (maybe?) the art of American grilling, and the confidence it gave me eventually allowed me to stray from the recipes, to adapt them and eventually to make them my own.

This recipe for grilled soy-basted chicken thighs with spicy cashews (above) is one of my favorite examples, an adaptation of an appetizer dish that Schlesinger and Willoughby developed at the turn of the century. The skinless meat browns beautifully over a medium flame and a basting of gingery soy sauce and brown sugar lacquers it beautifully at the end.


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I serve the chicken over salad greens, generally, with white rice on the side, with plenty of sriracha-roasted cashews for texture and heat. But you could freestyle a po’boy if you prefer, with shredded lettuce, a little mayonnaise and just as many cashews. That’s a fantastic weekend-ender, just the sort of meal to combat the Sunday scaries.

As for the rest of the week. …

The warmth and slight citrusy heat of ground cumin plays beautifully in Hetty Lui McKinnon’s recipe for stir-fried cumin green beans and mushrooms. It’s nice with your standard supermarket button mushrooms and transcendent with oysters.

Lidey Heuck’s recipe for a classic tuna melt uses chopped cornichons, whole-grain mustard and extra-sharp Cheddar to deliver a sandwich that’s fancy enough for dinner, alongside a green salad. Lidey makes the melts with buttered exteriors. I add a swipe of mayonnaise for extra browning and a fantastic crunch.

Hetty again! I love her new recipe for a tofu and herb salad with peanut sauce, particularly now that snap peas are showing up in the market. Use all the herbs in your crisper: mint, cilantro and basil, particularly. And don’t stint on the two-ingredient sauce, which you could drizzle over a sock and still have a fine meal.

I enjoy the tempura-like crust on Christian Reynoso’s new recipe for crispy shrimp tacos, along with the smoky heat of the chipotle crema drizzled over the top. Pair with sliced cabbage and warm tortillas and find yourself transported to a Baja of the mind.

And then you can soar into the weekend with Millie Peartree’s oven-cooked barbecue ribs, a recipe that employs smoked paprika in place of burning oak. You could use store-bought barbecue sauce to glaze the meat. But I make my own in 10 minutes and recommend you do the same.

There are thousands more recipes to cook this week waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. Yes, you need a subscription to read them. Subscriptions make this whole enterprise possible. Please, if you haven’t taken one out yet, would you consider subscribing today? Thank you.

If you find yourself in trouble with our technology, please reach out for help. We’re at cookingcare@nytimes.com. Someone will get back to you. Or, if you’d like to send us a rocket or say something nice, you can write to me. I’m at foodeditor@nytimes.com. I can’t respond to every letter. There’s a lot of mail. But I read every one I receive.

Now, it’s nothing to do with chafing pans or electric kettles, but my mention last week of the Australian novelist Peter Temple’s excellent Jack Irish novels caused my inbox to fill with recommendations to watch the television series that came out of them, starring Guy Pearce. Thank you!

Heartbreaking: this investigation into Baltimore’s response to rising overdose deaths, by Alissa Zhu, Jessica Gallagher and Nick Thieme, reporters for The Baltimore Banner who are working with The Times’s Local Investigations Fellowship.

You should read, as well, Geoff Edgers in The Washington Post, on Josh Jones, a Black rising star in classical music who lost his job at the Kansas City Symphony. He’s not going quietly.

Finally, today would have been Gilbert Baker’s 72nd birthday. The self-described “gay Betsy Ross,” Baker stitched the first rainbow flag in 1978. Happy Pride Month. I’ll be back next week.

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