What to Cook This Weekend

Yotam Ottolenghi makes the case for grilling cucumbers, new recipes for fried okra, and more.

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By Sam Sifton

Good morning. There is no outdoor gas grill not improved by a griddle pan set on the grates above the flames. You can use the smooth surface to cook fillets of fish, or to smash burgers down into bacon fat. It’s brilliant for toasting buns for lobster rolls or hot dogs, for searing pork and peaches, for crisping sweet potatoes with ginger and miso.

That means, conversely, that there is no indoor stove not occasionally improved by the use of a grill pan.

Yotam Ottolenghi uses one for cooking cucumbers on his stovetop, he wrote for The New York Times Magazine this week. The recipe (above) that accompanies his words is a marvel: a process that leaves the cucumber almost unrecognizable and altogether delightful. It’s like a cousin to zucchini, free of crunch but still quite firm, with a smoky, savory flavor that reminds Yotam almost of asparagus. “For something that is 96 percent water,” he wrote, “it really does feel rather remarkable.”

So that’s on my schedule for this weekend, absolutely: cucumbers cooked hard and fast on my grill (or a grill pan as Yotam does), to accompany his recipe for Jerusalem lamb shawarma and a pot of baked rice.

And some s’mores crispy treats for dessert? Yes, please.

Alternatively, you could build a meal around this recipe for a watermelon and grapefruit salad with tahini and honey. With maybe lemon and thyme grilled chicken breasts and a bunch of marble potatoes slow-roasted in olive oil for 90 minutes or so, then smashed and crisped on the griddle? I like that.

Or you could skip the grill entirely, and leave your cucumbers uncooked to make this delightful new number from Melissa Clark, for chicken thighs with sour cherries and cucumber yogurt. (No sour cherries where you shop? Substitute red grapes instead.)

There’s no need to get on those projects you’ve been meaning to tackle in the next couple of days. You can dip into our collection of recipes for procrastibaking instead.

Or you could build out a Southern-style meal with pan-fried chicken, sautéed green beans, a drift of mashed potatoes and a pile of fried okra. Kayla Stewart, who wrote about fried okra for The Times this week, brought us two recipes: one from the Houston home cook Joseph J. Boudreaux III, for fried okra with rémoulade; the other from the great Gullah Geechee cook Emily Meggett, for pan-fried okra. Maybe give one of those a try?

There are thousands more recipes to cook this weekend waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, including a timely collection of ones devoted to easy and cheap meals that everyone should save in this time of galloping inflation. It is true that you need a subscription to access them. Subscriptions support our work. If you haven’t taken one out already I hope that you will consider subscribing today. Thank you.

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Now, it’s a little astray from our website and app, but there are pleasures to reading physical cookbooks, and I’ve been enjoying the chef Mason Hereford’s “Turkey and the Wolf: Flavor Trippin’ in New Orleans,” which he wrote with JJ Goode. There’s a killer recipe in there for spicy Russian dressing, with chopped hot pickled cherry peppers taking the place of the more traditional pickles in the ketchup-kissed mayonnaise. There’s gochugaru and smoked paprika in there to boot. I want that on a turkey sandwich this weekend, with coleslaw and a slice of Swiss cheese.

It’s nothing to do with food, but check out Daniel Drake’s conversation with the novelist Rumaan Alam, in The New York Review of Books.

This is the time of year when Chadtucket really shines, on Instagram.

Finally, Rembrandt was born on this day in 1606, in Leiden, Netherlands. Why don’t you browse a little of his work in the National Gallery, London? And I hope you cook brilliantly this weekend. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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