We often celebrate the simple beauty of
one-pot meals—a gently simmered soup, chili, or braise bubbling away on the stove while we see to the business of a lazy Sunday. But there’s also something to be said for the instant gratification of a quick, single-skillet supper. Stir-fried rice or noodles are satisfying ways to repurpose starchy leftovers and while a wok is the more traditional cooking vessel for these Asian standbys, a flat-bottomed skillet is easier to maneuver on most conventional stovetops.
Shallow-fried meats with white tablecloth-style pan sauces (think
chicken Marsala, veal piccata, and crisp and lemony sole) are quick and easy routes to getting an elegant dinner on the table in under 30 minutes, while variations on the humble omelette are beloved around the world as economical, fast, and filling meals for any time of the day.
Here are some of our favorite skillet recipes:
For the perfect chicken marsala recipe, pounding the chicken cutlets before cooking renders them thin and terrifically tender. Deglazing the pan with Marsala and stock after cooking the chicken creates a quick, rich sauce. Get the recipe for Chicken Marsala » A New Orleans classic, barbecued shrimp are bathed in a buttery sauce that's enlivened with loads of hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic. Get the recipe for Barbecued Shrimp » Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers Creamy, mild eggplant pairs with briny capers, floral basil, and a drizzle of balsamic reduction for a knockout appetizer or side dish. Get the recipe for Pan-Fried Eggplant with Balsamic, Basil, and Capers » Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks) This recipe employs a "reverse" stir-fry technique, in which the vegetables are cooked before the meat. It tends to be forgiving for a novice stir-fryer, since vegetables release water as they cook and won't stick the way that meat will if the wok isn't quite hot enough.
Get the recipe for Cong Bao Rou Si (Stir-Fried Pork with Leeks) » Tender veal scaloppine dredged in flour and sauteed in butter get a boost of brightness from a simple pan sauce made with white wine and a generous squeeze of lemon. Get the recipe for Veal Scallopini Piccata » Pan-Fried Sole with Red Quinoa and Vegetables Filets of sole are set atop red quinoa, roasted tomatoes, and tender-crisp vegetables in this dish from a Marseille bistrot. Get the recipe for Pan-Fried Sole with Red Quinoa and Vegetables » Stir-Fried Breakfast Noodles Any Chinese noodle—rice, wheat, flat, thin, or broad—can be used in this simple stir-fry from author Francis Lam; it's one of his favorite breakfast dishes. Get the recipe for Stir-Fried Breakfast Noodles » Philippine Noodle Stir-Fry (Pancit Bihon) "Eating this dish makes me feel like I'm at home. It's my mom's specialty, and I remember helping her prep this as a child. It is served at every party [my family throws] and is eaten on its own for merianda, the Filipino equivalent of British Tea Time." – Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao Get the recipe for Philippine Noodle Stir-Fry (Pancit Bihon) » In this dish, a popular order at Teshima's, a restaurant in the Big Island town of Kealakekua, a thin omelette is folded around a filling of fried rice and sausage. Get the recipe for Fried Rice Omelette » Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce This garlicky rice is a popular breakfast dish in the Philippines and is delicious served with fried eggs and a drizzle of vinegar sauce. Get the recipe for Filipino Garlic Fried Rice with Vinegar Sauce (Sinangag) » Bavarian Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer) Applesauce is the perfect foil for these savory, golden fried pancakes, a mix of starchy potatoes, flour, and eggs. Get the recipe for Bavarian Potato Pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer) » Korean Scallion Pancakes (Pajeon) Crispy fried scallion pancakes with scallions, ramps, shrimp and julienned carrots. Pairs well as a snack with makgeolli (Korean rice beer). Get the recipe for Korean Scallion Pancakes (Pajeon) » Whole Grain Chocolate Banana Pancakes Whole wheat pastry flour makes for a smooth, fluffy pancake. Get the recipe for Whole Grain Chocolate Banana Pancakes » Tortilla Española with Potato Chips Renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adrià's tortilla española relies on potato chips instead of the usual thinly sliced potatoes. Get the recipe for Tortilla Española with Potato Chips »