Depending on where you live, September arguably shoulders the best two seasons for cooking: high summer produce and the first abundance of fall. While we spend all of our working hours thinking about what to eat, in this weekly digest we’re sharing the recipes we make for fun—and want to make again as soon as possible. Check back every Friday for more September favorites.
Spicy-Sweet Melon Crudo
With melon season coming to a close, I want to make good use of the ripe, fragrant honeydews in the farmers market. Enter Devonn Francis’s Melon and Avocado Crudo. A dressing brightened by ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and anchovies (confession, I couldn’t find that jar of anchovies I could have sworn was in the pantry) transforms the avocado and melon so they are more than the sum of their parts. —Dawn Davis, editor in chief
No seafood? No problem. This summery fruit “crudo” hits all the right notes of bright, savory, sweet, and umami in one vibrant dish.
Comforting, Classic Cornbread
I love a lot of Melissa Clark recipes, but this one might be my favorite: Skillet Cornbread. It’s nutty from brown butter, sweet (but not too sweet) from maple syrup, and hardy from whole-wheat flour. Actually, the recipe calls for half whole-wheat and half all-purpose, but I usually do all white whole-wheat (or a mix of white whole-wheat and einkorn or spelt, depending on what I have around). It’s heaven with a bowl of chili, then leftovers are breakfast for the rest of the week. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor
Almost-Too-Effortless Pork Tenderloin
Do you ever feel guilty when the raves for a dish far surpass the effort? Such is the case with this Green Curry Pork Tenderloin. It couldn’t be easier or quicker, if you exclude the time it takes to marinate the protein. (The sauce works well with other proteins as well.) After a quick sear, the recipe calls for the pork to be roasted, with the curry sauce poured over it before serving. But I prefer to poach the meat in the curry. Served over fried rice with a bunch of greens thrown, this is as good as it gets for a quick weeknight meal. And can the guests stop raving already before I feel compelled to confess how little effort it required? –DD
Prepared curry paste is a great shortcut ingredient for this pork tenderloin recipe; it carries a ton of flavor and has a very long shelf life.
Beans and Greens for Lunch
There’s “I need to get a meal on the table as fast as possible” and then there’s the ASAP version of that, when you need to eat immediately and there’s barely anything in your fridge. For those days (this week, it was “got a surprise booster appointment half an hour from now and need to eat lunch before”), I turn a can of beans, some miso, and whatever greens I have in the fridge into Colu Henry’s 10-minute White Beans With Miso, Radishes, and Greens. Throw a big scoop over a slice of toast and you’ve got a meal in barely any time at all. —Sonia Chopra, executive editor
Spinach-Packed Salmon Rice Bowl
Whenever I don’t feel like eating vegetables but know I should, I turn to associate food editor Kendra Vaculin’s creamed spinach–smothered salmon. You use so many leaves in this recipe but you’d never know it. That’s because they’re finely chopped and stirred into a rich, green curry–laced béchamel. (I challenge you to stop spooning it straight from the pan.) Served over simple rice and seared salmon, it’s a weeknight-friendly dinner that feels equal parts hearty and nourishing. —Ali Francis, staff writer
This decadent weeknight dinner ups the ante on blah steakhouse creamed spinach with the help of spicy green curry paste.
Luscious, Creamy Corn Pasta
I’m cooking my way through a big bag of corn at the moment, and this elote-ish pasta from test kitchen superstar Shilpa Uskokovic has been a massive help. Blending corn with starchy pasta water creates a luscious sauce that’s nice and creamy without any cream. Best of all, I’ve been able to consistently cook the whole thing in half an hour from start to finish. Topped with fresh jalapeño and cilantro, it’s all my favorite flavors of summer in one comforting bowl. —Nico Avalle, digital operations associate
Summery, Buttery Pasta
I was scrolling through TikTok when I came across a BA step-by-step of how to make Shilpa Uskokovic’s silky pasta with buttered tomatoes. Naturally, I, too, felt compelled to make Shilpa’s pasta. I’ll confess, I cheated and used De Cecco fettuccine rather than making my noodles from scratch (sorry), but the end product was still bright and delicious—a perfect end-of-summer weeknight meal featuring bursting tomatoes and fresh basil. I added in fresh corn kernels, which lent a nice sweetness and crunch, and subbed in oyster sauce for anchovy sauce to satisfy the umami quotient. —Li Goldstein, digital production assistant
Two-ingredient homemade pasta (no machine required!) meets a buttery yet fresh tomato sauce finished with a drop of umami-rich fish sauce.
Tikka Masala Mac and Cheese
Had some friends over for dinner and made my spouse’s absolute favorite home-cooked meal: this spiced mac and cheese from the wildly talented Preeti Mistry. Toasting and grinding your own spices is essential (if you don’t have black cardamom on hand, get some—you’ll be happy you did). I add in a scoop of flour to make a roux and swap in whole milk for some of the heavy cream because I can’t bring myself to use a whole pint. Whatever cheese I have on hand goes into the pot; this week it was fresh goat cheese and an incredible Cabot cheddar aged by Jasper Hill Farm. The end result is comforting, craveable, and loaded with flavor. —MacKenzie Chung Fegan, senior commerce editor
Corn Kid–Inspired Elote
Corn Kid has whipped our entire household into a delirious late summer frenzy, with bicolor ears hitting the grill every few days. My favorite preparation last week was this Mexican topping of crema, mayo, and Cotija cheese. Instead of just chile powder, we sprinkle on one of these seasoned chile salts, a collaboration between Madre Mezcal and Yardy. —M.C.F.
Everything you love about Mexican elote—the charred kernels, the creamy-spicy-salty sauce, lots of lime—without the grill.
Cuban-Style Black Beans
There are times for big, ambitious cooking projects, and then there are times for cheap, simple comfort foods. I’m in the middle of moving, so as I unpack my kitchen and recoup my security deposit, we are firmly in cheap comfort territory. In my house, that means black beans. I added some smoke to this Rick Martinez classic by swapping the green bell pepper for more flavorful poblano. Then I dug through my spice box to find my Mexican oregano to make sure my frijoles taste the way they should—the Italian stuff just isn’t the same. —Nico Avalle, digital operations associate
Saucy, Glossy Eggplant
Influenced by the photograph for our recently published guide to eggplant varieties, I scooped up some fairy tale eggplant when I saw them at the farmers market. After oohing and aahing over how tiny and adorable they are, I plan on turning them into Maangchi’s Bulgogi-Style Eggplant. It’ll hit every note I’m craving right now: savory, spicy, sweet, and nutty. I can’t wait to spoon it over steamed rice with a shower of sesame seeds and chopped scallion. —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor
This easy weeknight pan-fried eggplant is so flavorful and pleasingly chewy, it’s practically meaty.
Watermelon Juice to Beat the Heat
First, my husband brought home a watermelon from a weekend trip. Then, our CSA sent a watermelon. Then, our CSA sent another watermelon. And suddenly we had a problem. This vibrant, practically glowing juice from Molly Baz saved the day. It is so refreshing, I wish I could swim in it. —Emma Laperruque, senior cooking editor
It’s two ingredients and the most refreshing thing you’ll drink this summer.
Salsa to Always Keep in the Fridge
Again and again, this salsa has been so good to me. A family recipe from Andrea Aliseda, it was first published on Epicurious, then dubbed “genius” on Food52. It is fiery, savory, creamy, and glorious on just about anything, especially crispy mushroom tacos. —E.L.
Ultimate Slaw for Summer Grilling
I have a friend who loves to use his Big Green Egg to smoke meat. I’m usually tasked with bringing a salad or two to accompany the main course. With some red cabbage from my friend Laurie’s garden, I turned to this Creamy Miso Slaw. I use the recipe as a base but also throw in whatever is hanging around the fridge to broaden the appeal. Last week, I fried up some leeks to add to the mix. With its luscious dressing (a creamy mix of mayo, red miso, and soy), it’s an ideal foil to smoked or grilled food. —Dawn Davis, editor in chief
Dal Palak That Tastes Like Home
After a tough week, there are a few comfort dishes I turn to out of habit, dal being at the very top of the list. This Chitra Agrawal recipe for dal palak is remarkably close to how my mom cooks it, and spooned over rice and served with a heaping scoop of plain yogurt, it’s a complete, wholesome, satiating meal that does the trick. I use blocks of frozen spinach instead of fresh when my crisper drawer is looking spare, and it’s just as delicious. —Antara Sinha, associate cooking editor
Blueberry and Peach Graham Galette
I know for folks who are tired of the heat that September signifies the start of autumn, but the seasons officially change on September 22—it’s a fact. Until then, I’m still squeezing every bit of sunshine I can out of these couple weeks: making use of gorgeous late-summer produce and baking Samantha Seneviratne’s Blueberry and Peach Graham Galette. The addition of graham cracker crumbs to the crust adds a little toasty oomph, but of course the peaches are the true star. —A.S.
Graham cracker crust lovers rejoice! This glorious fruit-filled galette is for you.
Molten Double Chocolate Mug Cake
I’m going away for Labor Day weekend so I didn’t buy my usual haul of summer fruit this week. Tragedy stuck when I had an intense dessert craving and nothing in the house to satiate it. Enter this chocolate mug cake from our friends at Epicurious. It takes three minutes to make from start to finish and requires just a handful of standard pantry ingredients. I poured a little milk on top right after it came out of the microwave, thinking it’d give it a little saucy moment—instead it was absorbed immediately and basically turned my cake into a pudding. Still: It absolutely hit the spot. —Joe Sevier, cooking and SEO editor