These Garlic Noodles Are Magic

There is good weeknight cooking, and then there is great weeknight cooking: streamlined and smart, leveraging a few magic ingredients and a great technique to produce maximal flavor in minimal time. This week we’ve got a superb example in J. Kenji López-Alt’s noodles, which are made with a garlic-butter sauce and a powerful umami triumvirate — oyster sauce, fish sauce and soy sauce. It’s a recipe from his new book, “The Wok,” that’s based on a dish from the San Francisco Vietnamese restaurant Thanh Long.

And we have Kay Chun’s hand rolls, for which she takes inspiration from the sweet sauce that is typically used to glaze eel in Japanese cooking, and makes her own version to glaze salmon. There is also Yewande Komolafe’s quick peanut and pumpkin soup, inspired by the long-simmered stews found in cuisines across West Africa. I could go on.

Tell me what you’re cooking; I’m and I love to hear from you. If you’re curious about what I’m cooking, or about what we do at New York Times Cooking and in the Food department, I spoke with Matt Rodbard about all of it for the Taste podcast this week. Listen here!

These noodles from J. Kenji López-Alt’s book “The Wok” are powerfully garlicky — 20 cloves of garlic are cooked in butter. It’s an excellent dinner on its own, but Kenji says it also goes well with seafood.

This Yasmin Fahr recipe is low effort, high reward: chicken thighs are simmered in a tomato sauce that gets some heat from harissa paste. (The feta gives you a nice creamy, contrasting tang.) You could use tomato paste instead of harissa if you’re heat averse; you won’t get the same flavor, but it will help deepen the sauce. And while we’re making substitutions, you could use boneless thighs instead of bone-in.

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Hand rolls are irresistible, and sweet, lacquered salmon makes this recipe by Kay Chun a particularly good contender for kids. Another option: Make bowls instead, which is what my husband did earlier this week, layering the flaked salmon on rice with cucumber and avocado; we crumbled toasted seaweed and scattered it on top. (For the bowls, you might want to reduce the sugar a bit in the glaze to keep the flavors balanced.)

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I made a version of this on Wednesday night, a gorgeously simple combination of burst cherry tomatoes, olive oil, pasta and cheese; the juice from the tomatoes fuses with the oil and starchy pasta water to make a sauce. I did mine in a skillet with a pint of tomatoes for a half-pound of pasta, but in this version that Amanda Hesser adapted from a well-known Italian winemaker years ago, the tomatoes are cooked in the oven. I’m a pasta hedonist, so I also toss in butter before serving.

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