Good morning. There aren’t many menu descriptions less appetizing than the “blanched lettuce” available at Tim Ho Wan, the Hong Kong dim sum chain that opened its second New York City store in Hell’s Kitchen in 2018. But it’s one of the restaurant’s great options: hot tender-crisp iceberg lettuce doused in soy sauce. I make a no-recipe version at home to go with stir-fries or clay-pot chicken, dressing the cooked iceberg with some oyster sauce that’s cut through with soy sauce and a little sesame oil, along with a whisper of garlic.
Maybe you could give that a try this evening, alongside this lovely cumin tofu stir-fry (above)? At Tim Ho Wan they steam the lettuce in wedges, but I usually tear the greens into large pieces and cook them in a large covered pan with water or broth until they’re super silky, but retain a little bit of crunch. Drain well, shaking the colander to remove as much water as you’re able, and then dress with sauce to taste.
Alternatively, you could just order in a pizza and devote your kitchen hours to the magic of Melissa Clark, who unpacked the mysteries of meringue in The Times this week. She has three amazing recipes to go along with her advice. So, extra-lemony meringue pie; a chocolate raspberry meringue tart; and this rich and lovely blood orange butterscotch meringue pie. Any one of those will serve for breakfast the morning after you bake!
If none of that is of interest to you, it’d be a nice evening for lablabi, the Tunisian chickpea soup. Also for fish tacos, this cheesy baked pasta with sausage and ricotta, or maple-baked salmon. And I love pasta with brown butter and Parmesan in the middle of the week. Likewise, a vat of Russian salad, to go with sizzled-through kielbasa!
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Now, it’s nothing to do with cake frosting or the flavor of Alphonso mangoes, but do read this Meg Bernhard tale in The New Yorker, on the aftermath of the closing of “Le Rêve,” a Las Vegas extravaganza felled by the pandemic.
Here’s John Lee in Anglers Journal on a pilot with a tiny plane who’s flown more than a million miles searching for bluefin tuna, swordfish and, lately, great white sharks.
There’s a new Orphan X novel out by Gregg Hurwitz, “Dark Horse,” and it’s just as ridiculous and awesome and propulsive as the others — big Bourne and Reacher energy, and you can knock it out in an afternoon.
Finally, here’s Taylor Swift and Phoebe Bridgers, “Nothing New (Taylor’s Version),” which has been on repeat in our house for a week now. Listen to that a few times, why don’t you? I’ll be back on Friday.