What We're Cooking This Week

The first week of spring means chunky soups, hamantaschen, and puckery pickles

Umbrian Vegetable Soup (Zuppa di Verdure all'Agliata)

Umbrian Vegetable Soup (Zuppa di Verdure all'Agliata)
Quick-cooked vegetables for bright spring flavor.Joseph De Leo

In the late March game of will-it, won't-it be spring, I'm all about this Italian vegetable soup from Lidia Bastianich. It hits up my craving for vegetables and fresh flavors but is still warm and cozy, and the best thing: it builds flavor ingeniously, by cooking a quick pesto in the pan before you add anything else in. Pro tip: Save some to dollop into your bowl right before serving. — Sophie Brickman, Features editor

Allow me to be impolite and talk about religion for a moment: I am Jewish and I don't know the first thing about Purim. Queen Esther drove a bad guy named Haman out of her kingdom and we celebrate by eating cookies that look like his hat? Am I close? That's a straight-up guess based on some day-dreamy recollections from Hebrew school several decades ago. But regardless, I'm attending a Purim dinner on Thursday, so a-baking I will be this week, some delicious classic hamantaschen to be precise. The problem with hamantaschen is that the good stuff is often lumped solely in the middle, so the corners are just bland cookie. No even distribution of yummy filling. I'm going to do my best to change that: Filling spread all the way to the edges, I say! In Queen Esther's honor (or something)! — Yaran Noti, Deputy editor

SPANISH POTATO FRITTATA (TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA)

Spanish Tortilla

Skip the traditional olive oil-fried potatoes for thick-but potato chips to make an omelet that's just as good as the classic in a fraction of the time.Matt Taylor-Gross

A friend and I are planning a Spanish dinner party soon, and while it was clear we'd be feasting on jamon Iberico and Manchego and plenty of tapas, there was one open question: Are we gonna do the classic Spanish tortilla or the cool cheaty one, where you substitute thick-cut potato chips for slices of fresh potato? We've decided on the latter, mostly out of respect for how brilliant this cheat really is. Once you toss those chips in egg with some ham, cheese, and vegetables, they soften up just a bit while retaining their bite, for something that's really good, really fast, and not at all junk food-like. They have to be the thick-cut potato chip, though. Don't try any Lay's funny business on me. — Max Falkowitz, Senior digital editor

The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake

The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake

We based this stalwart recipe on one from baking maven Maida Heatter, and we really do think it is the best damn Meyer lemon cake we've ever had.André Baranowski

Last night I was in a fancy grocery store not in my neighborhood—one of those places where the produce section is tiny because every piece of fruit is immaculate enough to be in a still-life—and there were some fancy grocery lemons—Meyer lemons—that looked so beautiful, I bought two. Had no clue what I was going to do with them. Just bought 'em cause it felt good. Today, I searched our "meyer lemon" recipes and up pops The Best Damn Meyer Lemon Cake. The best damn part about it is it only requires two Meyer lemons. I think it's fate. — Jessica Glavin, Digital director

All Eggplant Everything

Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds

Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds
This eggplant dish from Michael Solomonov's Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia highlights classic Middle Eastern ingredients: carob molasses, tahini, and pomegranate.Matt Taylor-Gross

I'm in the throws of a serious eggplant obsession right now, currently fueled by Chinese and Thai takeout. This week, I'm going to attempt to bake, grill, and fry eggplant to perfection at home. First things first, tahini is the ultimate eggplant companion, so I'll start with Fried Eggplant with Tahini and Pomegranate Seeds. For a dip and spread to use throughout the week, I'll make Baba Ghannouj, and if my craving for Chinese eggplant comes back with a vengeance, I'll try this recipe for Chinese Spicy Garlic Eggplant. — Allie Wist, Associate art director

Pickled Red Onions

YUCATECAN PICKLED RED ONIONS

Red onions soak up the flavors of oregano and cumin in this classic pickle relish, served with fresh seafood in Yucatan, Mexico.Todd Coleman

If you take a look in my fridge at any given time, you'll find a few constants: stewed black beans, my favorite burnt chipotle salsa, a couple hot sauces, and a sad bunch of wilting cilantro. Go ahead, take a stab at one of my favorite cuisines. While I could (and do, happily) eat black beans with warmed tortillas for dinner more nights than I'd like to admit, I think I'm going to make one of my favorite Mexican condiments, pickled red onions, to add a little spice and color to my life. — Amanda Arnold, Assistant digital editor

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

Rhubarb Upside Down Cake
For this cake made in the style of a tarte Tatin, rhubarb is caramelized until soft before being topped with batter and baked.Todd Coleman

There I was, minding my own business, when a little spring desserts gallery pops up on my Facebook feed. Rhubarb tarte tatin, it said with a coy smile. How dare you, I said back, affronted by its freshness. How dare you show me a soft, crumbly shortcake baked on top pink jewels of caramelized rhubarb, then inverted at just the right moment so that everything stays perfectly in place and the cake soaks up the juices like a buttery sponge, and the rhubarb glows like that Himalayan rock salt lamp my ex's mom gave me one year for Christmas. How dare you, when I was prepared to coast through this week on the dregs of my winter produce, that sad shriveled turnip in the back of the fridge and that old squash I don't remember buying, and now I can't stop until I've got an armload of the season's first rhubarb. — Alex Testere, Assistant editor