Spring's incoming warmer begs for lighter, brighter food. We lean Mediterranean and count on a few powerhouse dishes and sauces made on Sunday to bring us through the week with ease. It may sound like a busy afternoon of cooking, but each of these dishes comes together quickly with a bare minimum of ingredients. If it's too much, skip the harissa and rely on store bought.


Coriander-Roasted Chicken

This ultra-convenient, flavorful method for roasting chicken parts on a rimmed baking sheet delivers delicious results every time. Double up on the chicken to have extra for the week. (A double batch will take 10 to 15 minutes longer to cook through, so you’ll likely need to remove the garlic early to prevent burning).

Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf with Herbs and Pomegranate Molasses (Eetch)

This Armenian bulgur dish is bold-tasting, but neutral enough to match all manner of meats or beans. One recipe change: Withhold the sliced grape tomatoes until ready to serve; otherwise they’ll break down and turn watery. The pilaf is also fine without them if you prefer. Make at least a double batch, as it keeps well thanks to bulgur’s sturdy texture.

Spicy Egyptian Eggplant

This robust vegetable dish is as much side dish as relish (and makes for delicious sandwiches when combined with hummus or a mild goat cheese). The warm spices and sharp acidity are as good warm as cooled and the flavor will improve and mellow with a couple days in the refrigerator. Make a double batch (using the harissa you just made or store-bought).

Harissa (optional)

While store-bought will do, our harissa is milder and richer flavored than just about anything on the market. And it's easy—a triple batch won’t take you more than 15 minutes (just make in a larger pot).


For something green to keep on hand, blanch asparagus ahead of time in well-salted, boiling water until crisp–tender, 3 to 6 minutes depending on thickness, chill well and wrap loosely in a kitchen towel. Store in the refrigerator for up to three days in a zip-close bag. Serve chilled with a vinaigrette or brown quickly in a smoking-hot skillet glazed with oil.


Za’atar Pork Chops with Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf: Season four 1-inch thick pork chops heavily with salt, za’atar and black pepper. In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 1 ½ tablespoons grapeseed oil until smoking. Add the pork chops and cook until deeply browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, flip the chops and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until the meat near but not touching the bone reaches 140°F or is just slightly pink, 6 to 8 minutes; allow to rest 10 minutes before serving with Bulgur-Tomato Pilaf.


Spicy Eggplant-Feta Omelets: In a medium bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, ½ cup chopped parsley or cilantro, 1 finely grated garlic clove and 1 teaspoon salt. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 3 tablespoons of oil until barely smoking. Pour in the egg mixture and cook, stirring vigorously with a silicone spatula from the outside of the pan in toward the center, until wet, soft curds form but the eggs are slightly runny and spreadable, about 30 seconds. Distribute the eggs in an even layer, then cover. Let stand until the surface of the eggs is just set, 3 to 5 minutes. Run the spatula around the edge and under the omelet to loosen, then slide the omelet to a serving plate and top with 1 to 1 1/2 cups Spicy Egyptian Eggplant (warmed) and ½ cup crumbled feta (or goat cheese). Serve with crusty bread and a simple green salad.


Coriander Chicken Salad: Shred 2 to 3 cups of leftover Coriander Chicken and toss with thin-sliced radish, cucumber, sugar snap peas, and chopped cilantro. Fold 2 to 3 tablespoons leftover sauce into mayonnaise or Greek yogurt and add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste before tossing with salad. Serve tucked in a pita with tomato and greens.


Seared Skirt Steak with Harissa Butter: Season a 1 ¼-pound skirt steak generously with salt, coarse-ground pepper and crushed cumin seed and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile blend together 2 tablespoons softened butter with 2 tablespoons of harissa. Sear the steak in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high with 2 teaspoons neutral oil heated to smoking, until well browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Rest on a serving platter topped with harissa butter 10 minutes before slicing the steak thinly against the grain and serving with the juices drizzled over top. Serve with Spicy Egyptian Eggplant and roasted potatoes (for a double dose of harissa, try our Harissa Roasted Potatoes.

See here for more Sunday batch-cooking ideas.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.