This week's dinner: Coquettes

This week’s menu for dinner in about an hour is fried chicken cutlets with shallot and white wine sauce, pea-ham soup and cumin-fried beef.

Each week, food editor Keith Dresser pairs each entree with a side dish to give you a complete, satisfying dinner without the guesswork. In the game plan section, you can get tips on how to make kitchen work easier so that dinner is ready faster.

Dinner 1: fried cockles and pan-steamed asparagus

Game plan: Both recipes are quick to make, so prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking. Once the chicken is in the oven to warm up, start making the sauce. Steam the asparagus until the sauce evaporates.

Roasted Chicken Ribs with Shallot and White Wine Sauce features juicy, ultra-thin chicken and a sauce that complements the tender meat rather than overpowering it. For equal-sized patties, we take a two-step approach: We cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally before grinding them flat with plastic wrap. This ensures that they cook at the same rate and become moist, tender and juicy. Pan-steamed asparagus with garlic preserves the fresh, sweet, grassy flavor of the vegetables and provides a fresh, soft texture. We steam asparagus in a pan in a small amount of water, to which we also add butter, salt and garlic. Then, let the water evaporate, leaving the asparagus glistening with garlic butter.

Dinner 2: split pea and ham soup and crackers

Game plan: Start by making the soup. After the carrots and celery are added to the pot, prepare and bake the cookies.

Split Pea and Ham Soup eschews the traditional ham and uses ham steak instead. Braising the ham in water with the bacon makes the soup smoky and meaty. Unsoaked green peas soak up the pork-enriched broth, so each layer of the soup is deeply flavored. Our Best Drop Biscuit offers an easy alternative to traditional rolled biscuits with the same tenderness and buttery taste. The most important thing is to let the melted butter coagulate in the cold buttermilk. These pockets of butter expand during baking to form a light, airy crumb.

Dinner 3: roasted venison and steamed white rice

Game plan: Prepare and process a rib eye steak. While the beef is sitting, prepare the rest of the sautéed ingredients. Steam the rice. Once the rice is fully cooked, let it sit in the heat while it cooks.

Fried Cumin Beef features tender pieces of meat fried with onions and aromatics, lightly glazed in a soy sauce-based glaze, seasoned with spices and finished with cilantro. We treat the beef steak with baking, which raises the pH of the meat so that it remains moist and tender during cooking. To prevent the meat from overcooking before browning, we fry it in two parts until its juice fades into a layer covering each slice. Steamed white rice is soft enough to soak up delicious sauces, but still sticky enough for chopsticks. Washing the grain removes some of the surface starch, and placing the rice in boiling water creates enough turbulence to release the remaining starch, resulting in just the right amount of stickiness.

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