A Pretty Perfect Pollo Asado


Good morning. September played out strangely where I hang out: unreasonably Augustlike at first, and then hard into autumnal damp and gloom. I know we’re nowhere near last licks on grilling season, but there’s something a little valedictory about lighting the fires these days. I feel as if I’m cooking on borrowed time.

So it’s pollo asado (above) for sure today, Ham El-Waylly’s recipe, marinated all afternoon and placed near glowing coals an hour before sunset, to serve with warm tortillas, rice and beans, hot sauce and wedges of lime. I love Ham’s technique here, which calls for cooking the chicken over indirect heat, essentially smoke-roasting it skin-side up, so the fat renders into the meat and the skin crisps without burning.

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(Can’t find annatto seeds in your pantry or the market? Lay in some achiote paste or seasoning; Goya makes a version with cumin, coriander and MSG that’s pretty good.)

Then flan for dessert? That would be outstanding.

With Sunday taken care of, we can take a look at the rest of the week …

Hetty Lui McKinnon’s recipe for salt and pepper tofu calls for seasoning with white pepper, sugar, ground ginger and five-spice powder along with the salt. I generally add a whisper of ground Sichuan peppercorn for its lovely numbing qualities against the bite of white pepper, but it’s hardly necessary. Serve with rice and, if you’re me, fried sweet plantains.

Miso-mustard salmon roasted over cabbage is a classic Ali Slagle jam, with a salty, spicy sauce that plays beautifully with the sweetness of the fish and cabbage. There’s amazing textural contrast as well, as you alternate between the softness of the salmon and the crunch of the vegetable. A one-pan delight!

I don’t like to eat muffuletta sandwiches outside New Orleans, but I’ve got no problem knocking down Kay Chun’s recipe for a muffuletta chopped salad a few times a year, particularly on a weeknight when I have both provolone and soppressata in the fridge. Kay adds chickpeas and avocado at the end; I sometimes swap those out for diced ham and Swiss cheese.

Nik Sharma’s recipe for chicken breasts with miso-garlic sauce makes for a perfect topping for a salad of crunchy greens and sliced carrots. Use some of the pan sauce and rice vinegar to build out a dressing and you’re good to go.

And then you can head into the weekend with Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese sauce recipe, which I have found provides the perfect excuse to work from home. Get that going during your lunch hour and smell it burbling away all afternoon. Serve over pasta for dinner, and experience the sublime.

Thousands and thousands more recipes are waiting for you on New York Times Cooking, though you need to be a subscriber to read them. If you haven’t already, I hope you will join the crew. We are standing by like matrons at the school dance should you run into trouble with our technology. Just write cookingcare@nytimes.com and someone will get back to you. I’m around myself should you want to get something off your chest about what we’re doing here and why. Write foodeditor@nytimes.com. I can’t respond to every letter. But I do read every one I get.

Now, it’s a far cry from anything to do with quinces or crab, but you should read Joe Kloc’s story in Harpers, “The Golden Fleece.” It’s notionally about used paperbacks, but really it’s an adventure yarn.

Today is Jimmy Carter’s 99th birthday, and to celebrate I set The Times’s wayback machine to Oct. 1, 1924: “Abolition of Rubber Hose as Whip for Pupils Threatens Disruption of Elmsford Schools” reads a front-page article from that day.


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