Hello! Welcome to the last week of August. I don’t know where the month went, either.
I’m always trying to eat more fish, but fish doesn’t always make it easy. Fish can get pretty pricey, making me afraid to try new recipes, lest I mess it up and ruin that beautiful halibut or sea bass. Or the fish I wanted has sold out, and now I have to figure out if my salmon recipe will work with tilapia. Or — the most likely scenario — I just didn’t make it to the fish counter and now need a way to make frozen fillets sing.
So I understand why Yewande Komolafe’s coconut fish and tomato bake has over 4,000 reviews and a five-star rating: It’s flexible, forgiving and incredibly flavorful. Marinate any fish fillets you like (skin on or off, your call) in a golden bath of coconut milk, turmeric, honey, chile, garlic and ginger, then give them a short bake in the oven. Yewande gives clear directions for how to bake your fish to just the right point before switching to the broiler, which finishes the cooking and blisters the cherry tomatoes.
With that sweet-spicy coconut sauce and plenty of lime to punch everything up, this recipe makes even those frozen fillets taste fantastic. “WOW!!!” wrote T, a commenter. “I have made several of the NYT’s fish preparations, and I have to say, this one is AMAZING!” (Emphasis T’s own.)
If you follow Kenji López-Alt on Instagram, you know he packs bento lunches for his daughter. I, an adult woman, would very much like them for my own dinner. So I’m grateful that he’s shared his bento-building tips and tricks with The New York Times, including a recipe for sanshoku-don, three-color rice bowls with seasoned ground chicken and sweet scrambled egg. (If you’d like to follow his lead, our colleagues over at Wirecutter have found a leakproof, dishwasher-safe bento-style lunch box; it’s a sturdier version of the one pictured here.)
I’m still in denial that summer is ending, so I’m going to cook with all the tomatoes I can carry. This t’chicha (North African barley and tomato soup) recipe from Nargisse Benkabbou calls for canned tomatoes, but — as noted in the ingredients — I’ll chop up some fresh romas instead. Leftovers will go into the freezer so future fall me can enjoy a cozy season soup with summer tomato brightness.
Future me will also rejoice over the miso and harissa pastes I just re-upped, so that I can make Nargisse’s harissa and miso spaghetti. It’s saved in my recipe box for those nights when dinnertime catches me by surprise and I’m hungry and tired and cranky and all I want to do is eat forkfuls of creamy, subtly spicy noodles while watching Carlos Alcaraz’s perfect drop shots.
Lastly: Happy Virgo season! It’s my birthday this week, and every year I ask for the same cake — pineapple upside-down cake. Did I just email this perfect Millie Peartree recipe to my husband? Who’s to say.
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Melissa will be back soon! I’ll see you here on Wednesday, honey deuce in hand.