This is the sixth installment in our Week of Meals series, which gives you five weeknight dinner recipes with all the planning and strategizing built in. Each meal makes four servings, comes together — start to finish — in less than 60 minutes, and requires 10 or fewer ingredients (not counting cooking oil, salt and pepper or water). The groceries for all five meals can be bought from a single grocery store in a single shopping trip and will cost less than $100.
Recipe developer and food writer Paola Briseño-González brings us recipes inspired by her favorite market, Super King, for this installment in our Week of Meals series. Filled with cross-cultural flavor mashups, her recipes lean on tart, creamy sauces and fresh herbs to add vibrancy to her simple weeknight cooking.
“My goal with these recipes was to honor the beautiful way in which Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Central American communities come together over peeling ears of corn around giant produce bins. How their eyes are wide open when they see fresh garbanzos in their pods or when they see the great price on French feta that sells for four times the price at another market up the street from my house. There are so many reasons why I love Super King — it's always an adventure in which you feel overwhelmed and inspired all at once. I say I'm in a Super King state of mind, which means I'm ready to fight for golden berries and cheap racks of lamb.
“I’m very intentional about each ingredient I choose to honor the cultural exchange that takes place at a market like Super King. Take the alguashte dukkah: It’s an ode to the ground pepita powder (alguashte) sprinkled all over green mangos and lime juice sold by Salvadoran food vendors. They actually sell bags of alguashte in the Central American section at Super King, but it was more cost-effective to make it with a handful of pepitas from the bulk section.
“The shrimp in poblano labneh sauce is my version of a very classic dish in Puerto Vallarta. You'll find this poblano crema spooned over shrimp and octopus at old-school mariscos restaurants. I made this version with labneh and added some oyster mushrooms and zucchini because I couldn't resist. The garnish is a corn and mint salad to lighten it up just a bit.
“The za'atar beef cheeks were inspired by beef cheek barbacoa. Cheeks, or cabeza, produce such a superior texture in beef barbacoa, but somehow it's still an underused cut. The mango in the fennel salad reminded me of amba but also of growing up on the coast of Mexico and having that tropical element.
"And in the potato salad, I use frozen lobster, which I've always been curious about because of the great price point. I love how an item that screams luxury is accessible to a working-class community.”
— as told to Ben Mims
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.