Taste

Your Weeknight Meal Planner: Bring the Restaurant Home

Get inspired for the week ahead with our top picks from this week’s menu.

When the chefs in our Test Kitchen call a recipe “restaurant-worthy,” they mean it has an elevated feel, uses peak season and other special ingredients, and looks like it could be Insta-famous. Basically, they’d easily drop a few extra bucks to order the same plate at any fine dining establishment. A few more bonuses: No waiting for a table, no teeny portions, and the satisfaction of making this fancy meal yourself. This week’s recipes could be on any restaurant menu. We start with chicken biryani, a fragrant rice dish studded with currants and almonds. Next, crispy seared gnocchi float in a luxurious Parmesan broth. On Wednesday, seared steak gets a seasonal pairing of creamy farro and asparagus. Seared salmon fillets perch atop spinach and chickpea hummus on Thursday, then round out the week with a way-better-than-takeout coconut-peanut curry. And since we’re serving up restaurant-worthy dishes, we included a few Plated-recommended beverage pairings as well.

Save your dining out dollars for another night. Now, on to the recipes!

Monday: Chicken Biryani

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
8 chicken thighs
1 cup jasmine rice
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 ounces baby spinach
1 cup shredded carrots
¼ ounce ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
1 ounce ghee or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon garam masala
¼ cup currants
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pat chicken very dry with paper towel (this will help the skin crisp up in the oven) and place on prepared baking sheet. Season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired, then arrange skin-side up. Roast until skin is crisp and chicken is cooked through, 25–35 minutes. To tell if your chicken thighs are cooked through, rely on temperature, not color. Unlike the white meat in chicken breasts, the dark meat in chicken thighs may be slightly pink in color, even when done. USDA recommends cooking chicken to 165°F.

2. While chicken roasts, in a small pot, combine rice, turmeric, 1½ cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to medium low, cover pot, and simmer until water is fully absorbed, 10–12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until Step 5.

3. While rice cooks, rinse all produce. Pat spinach dry with paper towel and roughly chop. Roughly chop carrots (they’re already shredded, but smaller pieces will cook more quickly in the next step and distribute more evenly in the biryani). Trim and discard skin of ginger and mince. Mince garlic. Peel onion and finely chop.

4. Heat ghee (or butter) and ½ teaspoon salt in a large pan over medium-high heat. When ghee has melted, add almonds. Fry, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer almonds to a plate, leaving behind ghee in pan. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to pan, still over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add carrots and onion. Sauté, stirring, until beginning to soften, 5 minutes.

5. To pan with aromatics, still over medium-high heat, add garam masala, ginger, and garlic; sauté, stirring, until fragrant, 1 minute. Remove pan from heat; stir in currants, spinach, and cooked rice to combine and wilt spinach slightly. Cover pan. Remove and discard skin from chicken—the skin helped keep the chicken moist as it cooked, but could create a chewier texture in your biryani, so we recommend removing it— then shred using 2 forks or roughly chop, discarding bones (if you prefer, you can leave the thighs whole and plate on top of the biryani).

6. Add shredded chicken to pan with biryani and toss to coat. Taste chicken biryani and add salt and pepper as desired, then divide among serving plates. Garnish with fried almonds. Pour yourself a glass of something special.

For the perfect beverage to enjoy with tonight’s Chicken Biryani, try our chef-recommended beer pairing: a smooth, malty brown ale. Its toasted, caramel notes highlight the richness of the almonds, ghee, and dark meat on the chicken thighs, while subtle sweetness enhances the aromatic ginger and garam masala.

Tuesday: Seared Gnocchi in Parmesan Broth

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 pound rainbow Swiss chard
1 yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
32 ounces vegetable stock
2 pounds gnocchi
2 tablespoons
4 ounces heavy cream
4 ounces shaved Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
Want to get a helper in on the fun? They can separate the gnocchi with their hands in Step 4, stir the Parmesan into the broth in Step 5, and garnish the finished bowls in Step 6.

1. Rinse Swiss chard and pat dry with paper towel. Stack chard; cut leaves crosswise into ½-inch slices and roughly chop stems, keeping separate. Peel onion and cut into small dice. Mince garlic.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion, garlic, and chard stems and sauté, stirring, until very soft, 4–6 minutes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt.

3. Add vegetable stock to pot with aromatics and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.

4. While broth simmers, over a clean, dry surface, use your hands to gently separate gnocchi. Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. When butter is foamy, add gnocchi and stir once to coat. Arrange in a single layer and cook, without stirring, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. No need to boil the gnocchi before searing; they’ll become fully cooked in the pan. Let the gnocchi sear, without stirring, so they can form a crisp, golden crust. If working in batches, use half of butter per batch. Then, stir gnocchi and cook until lightly browned on all sides, 3–5 minutes more.

5. Once broth has reduced, reduce heat under pot to medium, stir in chard leaves, and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream to combine, 30 seconds, then stir in half of Parmesan. Remove pot from heat and season with 1½ teaspoons salt and black pepper as desired.

6. Ladle Parmesan broth and chard into serving bowls and top with seared gnocchi. Garnish with crushed red pepper (skip or use half for less heat) and remaining Parmesan.

Wednesday: Seared Steak with Creamy Baked Farro

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 pound asparagus
¼ ounce parsley 1 lemon, divided
2 shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 cup farro
½ cup panko breadcrumbs
4 steaks
4 ounces baby spinach
3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
8 ounces milk
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse all produce. Trim and discard woody bottoms of asparagus, then cut on a diagonal into ½-inch pieces. Roughly chop parsley leaves, discarding stems. If you have a microplane or zester on hand and want to infuse your farro with even more lemon flavor, rinse lemon, then zest. Halve lemon. Peel shallots; thinly slice into rings. Mince garlic.

2. Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in farro and cook until tender but still chewy, 12–14 minutes. Perfectly cooked farro is tender, but still with some chew to it. Taste your farro before you drain it; if you prefer a more tender consistency, keep cooking a few minutes more. Drain and return to pot, off heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs, lemon zest (if using), 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired.

3. Add asparagus, shallots, garlic, and 1½ tablespoons olive oil to an aluminum tin or rectangular 12 x 8-inch baking dish. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper and toss to combine. If using a tin, place on a baking sheet. Roast until vegetables are beginning to soften, 10–12 minutes.

4. While asparagus roasts, pat steaks dry with paper towel and season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add steaks and sear, working in batches and adding oil as needed, until browned and medium rare, 4–5 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to a plate and set aside to rest.

5. While steaks sear, once vegetables have softened, remove tin from oven and stir in spinach, Fontina cheese, ½ cup milk (save remainder for your morning coffee), cooked farro, and ½ teaspoon salt to combine. Top with breadcrumbs. Return to oven and bake until cheese is bubbling and breadcrumbs are crispy, 10–12 minutes more. Remove farro from oven and squeeze over juice of 1 lemon (or use less, if desired).

6. Plate steak and farro Cut steaks against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Cutting meat against the grain ensures tenderness. Find the direction of the grain (muscle fibers) and slice across it, rather than parallel. Divide creamy baked farro among serving plates. Top with seared steak and garnish everything with parsley.

Steak for date night? Check out the 2-serving variation of this dish.

Thursday: Seared Salmon

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 cans white beans
6 ounces baby spinach
6 ounces red radishes
2 lemons
2 shallots
1 cup farro
1¼ pounds salmon
3 tablespoons tahini
2 cloves garlic
olive oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Drain and rinse white beans. Rinse all produce. Pat spinach dry with paper towel. Halve radishes lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise into half-moons. If you have a zester and want to infuse your hummus with even more flavor, zest up to 1 lemon, then halve lemons. Peel shallots and mince.

2. In a large bowl, combine shallots and juice of 1 lemon, then set aside to pickle at room temperature. Season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in farro and cook until tender but still chewy, 12– 14 minutes. Drain farro and set aside.

3. While farro cooks, pat salmon dry with paper towel; season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper as desired. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add salmon skin-side up and sear until golden on bottom, 5 minutes. Flip salmon and cover pan, keeping lid slightly ajar for steam to escape. Continue searing until salmon is cooked through and opaque, 3–5 minutes more.

4. While salmon cooks, in a blender or food processor, combine 1 cup loosely packed spinach, half of white beans, and ¼ cup olive oil; pulse until almost smooth. Add tahini, whole garlic cloves, lemon zest (if using), juice of remaining lemon, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired. Blend until smooth. No food processor? Mince 1 cup spinach, half of white beans, and garlic as finely as possible (raw garlic has a strong flavor, so only use as much as desired). Combine in a medium bowl with remaining hummus ingredients; mash with a fork or potato masher—the hummus won’t be as smooth, but it’ll still be delicious.

5. To bowl with pickled shallots, add 2½ tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper as desired; whisk to combine. Add radishes, cooked farro, remaining spinach, and remaining white beans, and toss to coat.

6. Spread white bean hummus on serving plates, then top with farro and spinach salad and seared salmon.

Pair with chilled Albariño, a crisp and citrusy white hailing from Spain’s seafood-rich northwestern coast. The experience is something like that final squeeze of lemon over fresh fish—bright, acidic… you might detect crashing waves and sea breezes, too.

Friday: Peanut Vegetable Curry

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1½ cups sticky rice
1 pound Chinese broccoli, divided
2 red bell peppers 1 ounce pea shoots
2 limes, divided
½ ounce ginger
2 13½-ounce cans lite coconut milk
6 tablespoons peanut butter
1 tablespoon vegetarian red curry paste
1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar in the raw
2 teaspoons gochujang
canola oil
kosher salt
black pepper

Instructions:
1. In a small pot, combine rice, 2 cups water, and ½ teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir once, reduce heat to low, then cover and cook until water is fully absorbed, 12 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork, then cover again to keep warm until Step 5.

2. While rice cooks, rinse all produce. Cut Chinese broccoli into ½-inch pieces, keeping stems and leaves separate. Cut bell peppers into ½-inch pieces. Cut pea shoots into 2-inch pieces—pea shoots are the tender tendrils and baby leaves that come from any pea plant. Handle with a light touch so they keep their delicate crunch. Halve 1 lime and cut remaining lime into wedges for serving. Trim and discard skin of ginger.

3. Place coconut milk in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Coconut milk solids naturally separate from the liquids during transit. No worries; it will come together during cooking. Vigorously shake the can before opening, or pierce the solids with a spoon before pouring into the pot to avoid a messy splatter. Whisk in peanut butter, curry paste, soy sauce, sugar, gochujang (it’s a bit spicy, so feel free to skip or use half for less heat), and juice of 1 lime to fully combine. Add whole ginger knob to pot. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Cooking for a smaller crowd? Check out the 2-serving version of this curry.

Did you know Plated also offers dessert? Try it today!

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