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The Simplest Salmon and Other Easy Recipes

Earlier this year, one of our editors, Nikita Richardson, suggested that we do a package of recipes for true beginner cooks, a step-by-step program for people who can barely boil water. The recipes needed to be great, because not only do we want you to learn to cook, we also want you to love it.

Now, at the end of graduation season, as all sorts of fledgling cooks are entering the wider world, we’re here with 10 beginner recipes for you or the people in your life who could use them most. We also published a video of Nikita making them all, which I highly recommend.

Five of those beginner recipes are below, and I think you should look at them even if you’re very comfortable in the kitchen. Who doesn’t like having simple dishes and brilliant techniques at their fingertips? Let me know what you think and what you’re cooking at dearemily@nytimes.com. I love to hear from you.

P.S. If you’re in the New York area, or if you just love restaurants, do not miss Pete Wells’s rave New York Times review of La Piraña Lechonera in the South Bronx, our first foray back into star ratings since we paused them earlier in the pandemic.

“What kind of magic is this?” That’s the first comment I saw on this Melissa Clark recipe and it’s pretty much all you need to know — that, and the fact that it has only six ingredients, including salt and pepper.

View this recipe.


I wish I’d had this recipe when I’d just graduated from college, making anemic stir-fries and other complete misfires in my apartment kitchen. It’s a fast, one-pot vegetarian meal from Genevieve Ko, in which the tofu soaks up the flavorful curry sauce, and then gets tossed with the vegetables to serve over rice.

I love breaking open a can or jar of tuna for dinner when I just want something fast. Here’s Eric Kim with an excellent option for using it, a common meal in Hawaii and South Korea: tuna that’s tossed with mayo, soy sauce and sesame oil, served over freshly cooked rice.

View this recipe.


I’ve cooked a lot quesadillas lately, and I can tell you from personal experience that it’s possible to make a bad one. Melissa’s simple recipe clearly lays out what you need to do for quesadilla success, and you can add cooked shredded meat, veggies or beans — not too much — to make them more filling.

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