By Sam Sifton
Good morning. It is not too early to start planning for Memorial Day. The day is, of course, a somber occasion, a chance to honor and mourn those who have lost their lives in military service to the nation. But as with many federal holidays in the United States, it’s also a chance to celebrate with friends and family and, with this one in particular, to welcome the coming summer after a long run of pandemic worry and uncertainty. It’s time to grill some chicken.
Or you might follow Melissa Clark’s lead, and make her fine new recipe for grilled merguez, the spicy North African lamb sausage, served on a bed of minty, lemony couscous with loads of fresh cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and parsley, along with pine nuts and pickled radishes (above). I’m going to be eating that all summer long.
Will hamburgers be on the docket? Maybe you’d like to get artisanal about that, and make your own hamburger buns. Claire Saffitz’s recipe relies on her all-purpose enriched bread dough, which also makes great sandwich bread. You can use it for pistachio morning buns as well!
Grilled vegetables with tahini dressing? Grilled trout with trout roe? Grilled baby back ribs? Grill something, anyway. Keep our traditions alive.
What to cook before the weekend? I love this new recipe for spicy red pesto pasta, a pantry dish inspired by pesto alla Siciliana, a cousin to green pesto Genovese, that relies on an old standby we haven’t used in a while: sun-dried tomatoes.
You could make this terrific crisp tofu katsu with lemon-tahini sauce, or a chickpea salad with fresh herbs and scallions. And it’s never not a good time to make quick ragù with ricotta and lemon.
Thousands and thousands of recipes await you on New York Times Cooking, at least if you have a subscription to our site and apps. If you don’t, I hope you will consider subscribing today. Your subscription is what allows us to continue doing this work that we love.
We’ll be standing by to help if anything goes wrong along the way, either in your kitchen or on your computer. Just write: [email protected] We will get back to you, I promise. And you can always escalate matters by writing me directly: [email protected] I cannot respond to everyone, but I do read every letter sent.
Now, it’s a fair distance from mirin and spicy mustard, but my colleague Elisabeth Egan put me on to a new novel, “The Plot,” by Jean Hanff Korelitz, and I’m passing the favor along to you.
The Netflix documentary series “High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America,” based on Jessica B. Harris’s book, premieres today. Our Kim Severson wrote about the making of the show last week, and Osayi Endolyn wrote about its profound significance.
Also in The Times, do read Taylor Lorenz on the wildly popular business of recipes on TikTok.
I’ve been enjoying the murderous “Gangs of London” on AMC.
Finally, here’s a new poem: “Wood Working at the End of the World,” by Ocean Vuong, in The Yale Review. I’ll be back on Friday.
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