Summer done simply: Sheet-pan chicken with basil and spicy corn

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

It’s cruel that the best time of year to bake is also when you’re least likely to want to turn on the oven, and yet every summer I heat up the kitchen baking cherry pie and blueberry crisp. Desserts made with peak fruit are irresistible, and I mean that literally: I can’t resist them.

If you’re still not turning on the oven, I get it. Eric Kim’s cold noodles with tomatoes, which follow, come close to no-heat cooking; you just have to boil the noodles.

1. Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs With Spicy Corn

The spicy, salty jalapeño brine balances sweet corn kernels, which roast on a sheet pan alongside chicken thighs in this simple, summery weeknight meal. The chicken, marinated with basil, garlic and a little mayonnaise, stays juicy even after a brief stint under the broiler. You can serve this hot from the oven or at room temperature — it’s equally good each way — and cold leftovers are excellent piled onto lettuce or avocado for a salad the next day.

By Melissa Clark

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 55 minutes, plus at least 30 minutes’ marinating


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons fine sea or table salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped basil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped pickled jalapeños, plus brine from the jar
  • 4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels (from about 4 ears)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, sliced into rings
  • 1 lime, halved


1. Season the chicken all over with 3/4 teaspoon of salt. In a large bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, basil, garlic and 2 tablespoons jalapeño brine. Add the chicken to the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to 6 hours.

2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss together corn, pickled jalapeños, olive oil, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and half of the scallions (save remaining scallions for serving).

3. Arrange the chicken on a baking sheet, spacing it out. Roast for 12 minutes. Spoon the corn mixture onto the empty parts of the baking sheet. Drizzle chicken and corn with oil. Continue to roast until the chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes longer, stirring the corn once while roasting.

4. Turn the broiler on high and broil the chicken and corn until golden brown in spots, 2 to 4 minutes (watch carefully so it doesn’t burn, although a little blistering is nice).

5. Garnish chicken and corn with basil, remaining scallions and fresh jalapeño slices. Sprinkle with more pickled jalapeño brine and squeeze with lime juice. Serve hot or at room temperature.

2. Poc Chuc (Citrus-Marinated Grilled Pork)

Super citrusy and smoky, poc chuc is both charred and full of tangy brightness. This dish with Mayan origins, from the state of Yucatán in Mexico, translates to “toast” over “fire” and is grilled hot and fast. Traditionally, thinly sliced pork is marinated in sour orange juice. Here, a mixture of citrus juices mimics the spirit of sour oranges, and makes the meat tender and full of flavor. A simple yet delicious way to prepare versatile and cost-effective pork shoulder, poc chuc can top tacos or salads or be served with beans, rice, tortillas, pickled onions, cabbage and avocado. There are no boundaries on how to enjoy it.

By Christian Reynoso

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 35 minutes, plus at least 4 hours’ marinating


  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or use thin-cut boneless pork chops, see tip)
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange and 1 lime (optional)
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt (such as Diamond Crystal) or 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, plus more for grilling
  • Warm tortillas, black beans, pickled red onions, shaved cabbage, avocado slices and orange or lime wedges, for serving (not all necessary, but encouraged)


1. If you have one large chunk of pork, cut it into a few smaller pieces. Cut the pork against the grain into thin (1/4-inch) slices.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the orange and lime zest, if using, with the garlic, orange, grapefruit and lime juices, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add the pork slices and toss to coat, then submerge in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

3. Heat an outdoor grill to high, making sure the grates are clean and oiled. Meanwhile, drain the pork thoroughly, discarding the marinade. Coat the pork with 2 tablespoons of oil.

4. Once grill grates are very hot, lay the pork down in an even layer and cook, covered, until lightly charred, about 3 minutes. Turn pork over to kiss the second side with heat for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer to a serving platter.

5. Serve the poc chuc immediately with your choice of warm tortillas, black beans, pickled red onions, shaved cabbage, avocado slices and citrus wedges.

TIPS: Traditionally, this recipe is made with pork shoulder, thinly sliced. You can ask your butcher to do it for you or, if you’re slicing it at home, freeze the pork chunks for 30 minutes to make them easier to thinly slice. Thin-cut boneless pork chops aren’t traditional, but will also work if you’re short on time. If you don’t have access to a grill, a grill pan works well here too.

3. Cold Noodles With Tomatoes

Halved cherry tomatoes provide a strong flavor foundation for this cold noodle dish that’s at once savory like gazpacho and refreshingly satiating like naengmyeon, the chilled Korean noodle soup. Inspired, too, by oi naengguk, a hydrating cold cucumber soup, this dish leans into the wonders of ripe tomatoes and lets you taste them as they are: raw and juicy. Julienned cucumber would taste wonderful here, as would supple poached shrimp or halved hard-boiled eggs.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 pints ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 12 to 14 ounces somyeon, somen, capellini or other thin wheat noodle
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 cups cold filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced at an angle
  • 2 cups crushed or cubed ice


1. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes and salt. Let sit until juicy, about 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.

3. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, mustard and sesame oil to the tomatoes, and toss with a spoon until well combined. Stir the filtered water into the tomatoes and sprinkle the surface of the broth with the sesame seeds, radishes and scallions.

4. Right before serving, add the ice to the broth. Divide the noodles among bowls, and ladle in the broth and any unmelted ice, making sure each serving gets a nice sprinkling of tomatoes, radishes, scallions and sesame seeds.

4. Roasted Fish With Lemon, Sesame and Herb Breadcrumbs

Trout is an ideal weeknight dinner because its thin fillets cook in minutes. All it really needs is some butter and lemon, but an herb-panko mixture adds freshness and crunch. The breadcrumb mixture is inspired by za’atar, a spice blend that includes sesame seeds, dried herbs and tart-citrusy sumac. Using fresh thyme and oregano instead of dried herbs, and lemon zest in place of dried sumac yields a brighter final dish. If you want to use dried za’atar, swap in 3 tablespoons of the blend for the first four ingredients. Serve the fish alongside rice, a green salad, boiled potatoes or braised chickpeas. The fish roasts in about the same time as string beans, broccolini or snap peas would, so you can also roast vegetables on a second baking sheet while the fish cooks.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest, lemon cut into wedges for serving
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 (4-to-6-ounce) trout fillets or 2 whole butterflied trout


1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, lemon zest, 3/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Rub the mixture between your fingers until the herbs are bruised and fragrant. Stir in the breadcrumbs and butter until combined.

2. Season the trout with salt and pepper and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, skin side down. Spoon the breadcrumbs evenly over the fish and bake until the fish is opaque and the breadcrumbs are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges alongside.

5. Green Bean and Tofu Salad With Peanut Dressing

Inspired by the combination of peanut sauce with vegetables in Southeast Asia, found in dishes such as gado gado in Indonesia and summer rolls in Vietnam, this streamlined salad would work just as well as a vegetarian main dish to eat with rice or noodles. The green beans are cooked for only a short while so that they stay crunchy. If you prefer floppy beans, you can cook them longer. And if you want something more refreshing and don’t want to turn on the stove, you can skip the beans altogether and use cut-up cucumbers and tomatoes instead.

By Genevieve Ko

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes


  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more for sprinkling
  • 12 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 (14-ounce) box extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes


1. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, stir the peanut butter, hoisin, lime juice, sugar and red-pepper flakes in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons boiling water from the saucepan to the peanut dressing and stir well. The dressing should be runny but still thick. If needed, stir in another tablespoon boiling water.

2. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until brighter in color and just tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain well, rinse under cold water until cool, then drain again. Transfer the green beans and tofu to the peanut dressing and stir gently until evenly coated. Season to taste with salt, then sprinkle with more red-pepper flakes. Serve immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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