Whether you like cooking, love it or are indifferent to the task, most of us can agree that washing a lot of pots and pans after dinner is a drag. Wouldn’t it instead be easier if there were really only one? One skillet or one Dutch oven, one sheet pan, one pot? Wouldn’t that be great? Imagine the ease of it, to come home from work and turn on the oven, line a sheet pan with foil or parchment, tip onto it some vegetables, some protein, some aromatics and sauce: Dinner, nothing else required! That’s why the editors of NYT Cooking have put together this modest (and beautiful), wide-ranging (and tightly focused) collection of recipes devoted to the celebration of one-vessel cooking, on the stovetop and in the oven. They come from the stars of our universe: Melissa Clark, Alison Roman, Julia Moskin, Ali Slagle, David Tanis, Tejal Rao, Yewande Komolafe, Colu Henry, Joan Nathan, Kay Chun — even me! The majority will deliver a whole meal in a single pot, pan or skillet, full stop. For others, you’ll need to add only a vegetable or starchy side dish if you desire one, a salad, a basket of bread. There are vegetarian situations, and vegan ones too, lots of fish, plenty of chicken, plenty of stew. The only constant among them is our desire to make cooking easier (and wildly delicious) and to deliver you from the sadness of a sink filled with dishes.

— SAM SIFTON, founding editor of NYT Cooking


Alison Roman is behind this recipe for fail-safe dinner-party excellence, in which a large piece of fatty salmon is slowly roasted in a generous amount of olive oil, beneath a cloak of herbs. The fat-on-fat technique makes it nearly impossible to overcook the fish. Plus, you can flavor the oil with whatever you fancy — spices, herbs, citrus, chiles — which, in turn, will flavor the fish. It’s one of those dishes that sits perfectly in the center of a Venn diagram where “looks impressive” and “not a ton of work” overlap.


Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

1 (1 1/2-pound) piece of skinless salmon fillet (or halibut or cod)

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 lemons, Meyer or regular, thinly sliced, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 blood orange, mandarin orange or regular orange, thinly sliced

6 sprigs thyme, rosemary, oregano or marjoram (optional)

1 1/2 cups olive oil

2 cups fresh herbs, such as parsley, cilantro, dill and tarragon, roughly picked from the stem

Flaky sea salt

1. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Season salmon with salt and pepper on both sides. Place in a large baking dish with sliced lemons, orange and thyme (or rosemary, oregano or marjoram), if using.

2. Drizzle everything with olive oil and bake until salmon is just turning opaque at the edges and is nearly cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. 3. Toss fresh herbs with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and flaky salt. Serve alongside salmon.


— Bathing a large piece of fish in a lot of oil, then slowly cooking it, works well with cod and halibut, also with yellowfin tuna. We love it best with salmon, though.

— Store any leftover fish in the oil you cooked it in to keep it from drying out. Later, you can use it to elevate a salad or a bagel with cream cheese.


Joan Nathan adapted this recipe from one George Lang had in his 1971 cookbook, “The Cuisine of Hungary,” which he said dated from the 18th century. It layers roast potatoes with just-tender baked salmon and a swipe of horseradish sauce. You could substitute the potatoes with carrots, beets or other root vegetables, or you could play around with more tender vegetables like zucchini or fennel, though you’ll want to slice them more thickly and reduce the cooking time in the first step. The horseradish sauce keeps the fish moist and gives the dish its brightness, pairing horseradish’s peppery punch with tangy sour cream and fresh herbs.


Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 pound), unpeeled

Kosher salt and black pepper

1/2 cup chopped shallots

1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt

1/3 cup drained prepared horseradish

3 tablespoons tarragon

3 tablespoons minced chives

1/8 teaspoon white pepper (optional)

2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon or halibut fillet

1 teaspoon hot paprika

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees and liberally grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with butter. Slice the potatoes paper-thin (less than 1/8-inch thick) and line the dish with the potatoes, slightly overlapping them as you arrange them in an even layer. Season generously with salt and pepper, dot with the shallots and bake until the potatoes are almost cooked through, about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the horseradish-tarragon sauce: Add the sour cream, prepared horseradish, 2 tablespoons each tarragon and chives, the white pepper (if using) and 1 teaspoon salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate. (This makes about 1 1/3 cups.)

3. Sprinkle the salmon with the paprika and season with salt. Remove the dish from the oven and gently place the salmon on top of the potatoes. Brush 2 to 3 tablespoons of the horseradish-tarragon sauce over the salmon to coat, then bake until the fish flakes with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

4. Sprinkle the fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon each tarragon and chives. Serve with the remaining horseradish-tarragon sauce.


— George Lang, who died in 2011, was a pioneering New York restaurateur who helped open The Four Seasons and Café des Artistes, among other establishments. His autobiography, published in 1998, was called “Nobody Knows the Truffles I’ve Seen.”

— You could use halibut or cod in place of the salmon.


Poaching boneless, skinless fillets in a brothy sauce is a foolproof (and undeniably delicious) method for cooking fish. For this recipe, Alison Roman suggests meaty, mild-flavored, firm-fleshed varieties like cod, haddock, pollock, halibut or flounder. Her flavorful sauce, made from burst cherry (or other small) tomatoes, sizzled shallots and toasted garlic, has a summery vibe, but you could substitute a can of peeled tomatoes in the depths of winter, or whenever you can’t find good, fresh tomatoes.


Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced into rings

1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

1 pound small, sweet tomatoes, halved

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)

1 1/4 pounds fluke, halibut or cod, cut into 4 equal pieces

1 cup cilantro, leaves and tender stems

1/2 cup mint, leaves and tender stems

Limes, halved, for serving

Tortillas, toast or rice, for serving (optional)

1. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet (use one with a lid) over medium-high. Add garlic and shallots and cook, swirling the skillet constantly until they start to toast and turn light golden brown, 2 minutes or so. Add red-pepper flakes and swirl to toast for a few seconds. Remove from heat and transfer all but 1 tablespoon of the chile oil to a small bowl.

2. Add tomatoes to the skillet and season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until they burst and start to become saucy and jammy, 5 to 8 minutes. Add fish sauce, if using, and 1 1/2 cups water, swirling to release any of the bits stuck on the bottom of the skillet.

3. Cook until the sauce is slightly thickened but still nice and brothy, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Season the fish with salt and pepper and gently lay the pieces in the brothy tomatoes. Cover the skillet and cook until the fish is opaque and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes (slightly longer for a thicker piece of fish, like halibut).

5. To serve, transfer fish and brothy tomatoes to a large shallow bowl or divide among four bowls. Drizzle with reserved chile oil, more olive oil and the crispy shallots and garlic. Top with cilantro and mint, and serve with limes for squeezing over the top. Serve with tortillas, toast or rice, if you like.


— The cilantro, mint and limes at the end are absolutely crucial to the success of the dish. They add a real pop of freshness at the end.

— That said, try it sometime with dill!


Quick to make and very pretty to behold, this weeknight recipe from Melissa Clark has more verve than most. The roasted bell peppers turn sweet and golden, while olives add a salty note that goes nicely with the mild, flaky fish and a garlicky parsley dressing. Cod or flounder make fine substitutes if you can’t find hake, though you may have to adjust the roasting time. The thicker the fillets, the longer they will take to cook.


Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

1 small bunch lemon thyme or regular thyme

1 1/2 pounds hake fillets

Fine sea salt and black pepper

3 large bell peppers, preferably 1 red, 1 orange and 1 yellow, thinly sliced

4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/4 cup pitted, sliced black or green olives, or a combination

1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, plus more to taste

1 garlic clove, grated

1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, chopped

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pull 1 tablespoon thyme leaves off the bunch and finely chop.

2. Season fish all over with a large pinch or two of salt and pepper and rub with chopped thyme leaves. Let rest at room temperature while you prepare peppers.

3. Spread peppers on a rimmed sheet pan, and toss with 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the black pepper to taste. Top peppers with the remaining thyme sprigs. Roast, tossing occasionally, until peppers are softened and golden at the edges, 15 to 20 minutes.

4. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Push peppers to the edges of the pan, clearing a space in the center. Lay fish out on that empty space and drizzle with oil. Scatter olives over the top of fish and peppers. Roast until fish turns opaque and is just cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make a vinaigrette by combining vinegar, garlic and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisk in remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, then whisk in parsley. Taste and add more salt or vinegar, or both, if needed. Serve fish and peppers drizzled with vinaigrette.


— You could add some sliced small potatoes as you roast the peppers, if you want some starch in the meal.

— You might swap in capers for the olives, or add a sprinkle of red-pepper flakes for fire.


The universal appeal of shrimp scampi is as much the pan sauce as it is the shrimp: garlicky butter lightened with white wine and bursts of lemon, parsley and red-pepper flakes. Scampi is often tossed with pasta or served with crusty bread, but this version from Ali Slagle uses quick-cooking orzo instead. It simmers directly in the pan sauce, developing a starchy gloss and soaking up the garlicky scampi flavors. It all comes together in a flash, and feels effortless.


Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus 1 tablespoon juice (from 1 lemon)

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

Kosher salt and black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup orzo

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 cups boiling water, seafood stock or chicken stock

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

1. In a medium bowl, stir together shrimp, 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon zest, red-pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and half the garlic. Set aside to marinate. (This step can be done up to 1 hour in advance.)

2. Add butter, remaining olive oil and remaining garlic to a medium skillet set over medium heat. When the butter starts to bubble, add the orzo and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the orzo is toasted, about 2 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent the garlic from burning. Carefully add the wine — it will bubble — and stir until absorbed, about 1 minute. Stir in water, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until orzo is al dente, about 12 minutes.

3. Add the shrimp in a snug, even layer on top of the orzo, cover, and cook until all the shrimp is pink and cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, 2 minutes.

4. Sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.


— Serve with steamed broccoli or arugula, perhaps, though it’s pretty great on its own.

— Could you substitute cubed firm tofu for the shrimp? Why, yes, you could.

The New York Times

The New York Times

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