Good morning. I once had a fantastic wood-fired seafood pizza at the Seaside Café in Key West, Fla.: sweet and salty, luxurious with lobster meat, cream sauce, fontina and puréed garlic. The meat was plush, pillowy, perfectly cooked, and I wondered about that. If I put knuckles of cooked lobster on a pizza in a 1,000-degree wood oven, they’d turn into rubber chew toys.
After I inhaled my pie, I asked the restaurant’s chef, Rafe Halpern, how he pulled it off. He chuckled before answering in a kind of bemused whisper. “Mayonnaise,” he said. Rolling the pieces in the emulsion provides a fatty protection from the intense heat of the oven, allowing them to brown without drying out. I thought that was genius.
Ali Slagle uses a similar technique for her grilled shrimp with chile and garlic (above), coating them in baking soda and mayonnaise to achieve a marvelous crust without overcooking. (J. Kenji López-Alt uses mayo as a secret ingredient when he’s cooking chicken and other meats.) Let’s try that on Saturday night?
With perhaps a blackberry crisp for dessert, served with a cardamom custard sauce?
I’d love a Denver omelet for breakfast on Sunday, a diner classic with onions, bell peppers, ham and cheese. (I’d thought it a Colorado concoction, but some say it honors the 1869 arrival of the transcontinental train line in Denver City, Utah.)
And then a big Sunday supper, starting with a creamy collard greens dip spiced with shito, a powerful spicy-sweet pepper sauce from Ghana. To follow: jerk chicken with pickled bananas. (Don’t have a grill? Sheet-pan jerk salmon instead!)
Many more ideas for what to cook this weekend await you on New York Times Cooking. (And we provide plenty of inspiration on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube as well.) Yes, you need a subscription to access the recipes. Subscriptions support our work and we are grateful to all those who have taken one out. And if you haven’t already, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Thanks.
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Now, it’s nothing to do with barley or whelks, but when it’s a Skip Hollandsworth byline above a long article in Texas Monthly, you’ve got to read it. True crime.