WEDNESDAY, JUNE 14, 2017 Fried Cheese!

June 15, 2017
Skillet chicken with tomatoes, pancetta, and mozzarella.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Fried Cheese!

Good morning. I love my colleagues for a thousand reasons, but in particular for their occasional enthusiasm for my Wednesday tradition here of cooking without recipes. Julia Moskin popped into my inbox last week with a great one. It made my night. Now maybe it can make yours, a light dinner on a summer evening: fried cheese, with a cucumber salad.

What cheese? Julia uses halloumi a lot, a firm Cypriot cheese with a high melting point that you can score off the internet if your local market doesn’t carry it. You’ll need enough for at least a thick plank per person. Mexican queso blanco works well, too, if you can’t find any, and so does aged provolone.

Make the salad first: a bowl of diced cukes and a ripe tomato or two, a lot of olive oil and black pepper, some parsley and mint. Taste and add salt, but not too much because the cheese will be salty. Then cut a lemon into wedges to serve on the side, and put some crusty bread or pitas in a low oven to warm.

While it does, cut the cheese into finger-thick slices or sticks. And then sear them in a well-seasoned or nonstick pan, well swirled with olive oil and heated until it is nearly about to smoke. Cook, turning the pieces a few times, until they are golden brown on all sides. Call your people to the table. Everyone gets a slice or two of cheese and a healthy pile of salad. (You could always grill some sausages as well, if you need a little more heft to the meal.) Pass the lemon and bread on the side.

Want an actual recipe? I wouldn’t be mad. It’s my job to provide them. I’m in love with Melissa Clark’s recipe for skillet chicken with tomatoes, pancetta and mozzarella (above), though I rarely make it with pancetta because it’s only in the fridge sometimes, whereas there is always a hunk of double-smoked bacon there. (Once there was a fist of guanciale, the Italian cured hog jowl known in my house as “face bacon,” and this was sublime.)

If you’ve run across some green tomatoes already, you could make Melissa’s recipe for fried green tomatoes with bacon rémoulade. Or, not having done so, you could try Mark Bittman’s super-delicious recipe for crispy chickpeas with ground meat. Eschewing animal products entirely, you could make Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe for lentil minestrone with greens. Embracing them heartily, you could make my recipe for bulgogi sloppy joes, which delivers a midweek meal to remember, every time.

If none of those appeals, visit Cooking to find a recipe that does. Search the site (“sifton chicken” has a pretty good outcome), and save the recipes you like to your recipe box, so you can cook them later. And be a good Cooking citizen. Affix stars to the recipes you’ve cooked, and leave notes on the ones you’ve altered to the good or to the ill. Those notes are valuable to all of us who labor in the kitchen, and show our community to be strong and decent as well.

You can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. (I’m on those sites, too: @samsifton.) Or you can avoid social media entirely, and watch “You’re the Worst.”

And, please, if you run into problems with your cooking or with the technology we use to power our site and apps, reach out for help. We are here for you, good neighbors:

Now, do take some time to read about our recent adventures in Australia, where The Times has recently established a beachhead under the protection of the great bureau chief Damien Cave. Pete Wells was in Sydney to investigate that city’s restaurant scene. I went to Melbourne to write about Ben Shewry, one of the nation’s most lauded chefs. (Here he is making a cheese kransky, no-recipe recipe style.) Besha Rodell looked into the state of Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. And Eric Asimov weighed in with an accounting of Australian rieslings. Not bad duty for any of us, and we’re all hoping to get back soon.

Finally, have you seen this history of the past 40 years of hip-hop: 150 tracks in four minutes? There’re some N.S.F.W. lyrics, of course, but it’s awesome. See you on Friday!

Fried green tomatoes with bacon rémoulade.

Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
45 minutes, 6 servings
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Craig Lee for The New York Times
30 minutes, 4 servings
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Roasted chicken is covered with tomato sauce, mozzarella and pancetta for this one-pan
45 minutes, 4 servings
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Consider it summer’s last blast: a cold lager, cucumber kimchi and spicy Korean bulgogi on a bun.

Marcus Nilsson for The New York Times. Food stylist: Brian Preston-Campbell. Prop stylist: Angharad Bailey.
30 minutes, plus overnight refrigeration, 6 servings
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Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
1 hour 15 minutes, 6 to 8 servings
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