Good morning. I shop the deli counter sometimes. There’s joy to be had at a good one. I’ll pick up some egg or tuna salad for lunch, some mortadella for rollups (with mayonnaise and pickled jalapeños), a couple slices of fried eggplant. Once I bought a quarter pound of antipasti salad and stuffed it into a hero to eat on a boat. That was a messy delight.
Generally, I avoid macaroni salad. It’s invariably gloopy. It’s always too sweet. I avoid macaroni salad at cookouts and picnics, for the same reasons. I avoid it even though I love the idea of macaroni salad: a glossy, substantial side dish for barbecued chicken or a platter of ribs.
And so a few years back I was thrilled to discover a great one in Alexa Weibel’s macaroni salad with lemon and herbs (above): bright, acidic and herbaceous above its base line of ever-so-slightly-sweetened mayonnaise dressing. And it’s on the docket this evening for sure, to accompany huli huli chicken and Boston baked beans. Maybe I’ll even slip the recipe to the deli man, see if he bites.
I’d like to make some spoonbread, too, with crawfish meat if I can find it, and shrimp if I can’t. Also, this chile-lime zucchini and chickpeas number, in which you smash the zucchini so they can soak up lime juice and jalapeño heat. Serve them topped with skillet-toasted chickpeas and peanuts. And absolutely this (easily frozen) mole verde made with fresh tomatillos, chiles and herbs. Having that on hand to brighten up some chicken for a taco night next week will be a blessing.
Alternatively: crab Rangoon on Saturday night? You could use the filling as a topping for turkey burgers, no lie. It’s a trick I picked up from Block 16 in Omaha, Neb., where they also drizzle it over fries with sweet chile sauce, Sriracha and scallions.
Definitely oven bacon for breakfast on Sunday, with scrambled eggs and plenty of buttered toast. Make a blackberry fool if you’re too full for lunch, and serve it at dinner after grilled salmon salad with lime, chile and herbs.
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Gary Brownstein is a grandson of the founder of Acme Smoked Fish in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He worked at the company for 47 years before retiring last month at 69. Julia Gergely wrote about his final day on the job for The Forward.