Melissa Clark’s Five-Star Chicken Parm

Credit…Christopher Testani for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

Hello, all. This is Emily, the editor in chief of Cooking and Food at The New York Times, and I’m here today to talk about my favorite member of the Parm family: chicken Parmesan (above). My heart sings when a bubbling pan of chicken Parm emerges from the oven, the plush cutlets submerged in rust-red sauce, cloaked with melted cheese. The pleasures are a little different from the crisped smush of eggplant Parm; same genre, but another tune.

As with many things in life, a fine Parm is about balance. You want a bright tomato sauce to ping off the richness of the breaded and fried cutlets and the milkiness of the mozzarella. Melissa Clark’s excellent recipe delivers exactly that. I know I don’t need to serve chicken Parm with spaghetti — it’s a lot — but I’m only human, so I will. (I’ll make extra sauce for the pasta, too.)

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Chicken Parmesan

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For something green to serve alongside, this arugula salad is an effortless choice; it’s my personal go-to. If you want something a little more lush, Melissa’s delectably easy avocado salad matches well with just about anything, including simple fish, steak or chicken.

After that Saturday night chicken Parm feast, you might want to go a little lighter on another evening. You could make soy sauce noodles, a Cantonese classic, which is made here with cabbage for a pleasing crunch. Add meat or tofu if you’d like, but the recipe is delicious just as it is.

One last dinner option: tart and bright roasted fish with sumac (or mahi ba somagh in Persian), a recipe that will delight you. Don’t be deterred by the fact that it’s made with a butterflied whole fish. That just means the fish is cut and cleaned, with bones removed, nothing fussy to deal with. You can buy it already butterflied, though boneless fillets are a reasonable substitute.

Never skip dessert. And never, ever skip key lime pie. If you can’t find key limes, the recipe has a tip for using regular grocery store limes. (For the best flavor, avoid the bottled key lime juice.)

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