Duck Breasts with Roasted Figs and Balsamic Glaze

While the Chinese are the biggest connoisseurs of duck, this classic combination of duck and figs is more French in style. Vinegar usually works well with fruits, and here you could easily substitute firm plums or peaches, if you prefer. Wine pairing: Serve with a big, fruity red, such as a California Petite Syrah or an Italian Primitivo.

Serve With


Baked Ziti with Sausage

Baked ziti is covered-dish cooking at its best, and is just the thing to take to a friend who needs a bit of cheering up. This version is more generously proportioned than most, with enough flavorful Italian sausage, roasted eggplant, tangy tomato sauce and lush ricotta to satisfy even the heartiest appetite.

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Greek-Style Butterflied Chicken

This method of grilling a whole chicken is foolproof. It’s simple to take out the backbone with kitchen shears and then flatten the bird. You end up with an evenly cooked, gorgeously browned chicken, here infused with the bright flavors of lemon and fresh herbs.

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Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter

Here is the classic ravioli of the city of Ferrara, in Emilia-Romagna, although the city of Mantua, in Lombardy, also claims the dish. It is best served with a simple sauce of lightly browned butter and fresh sage, which heightens and contrasts with the sweetness of the pumpkin in the filling.

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Cornish Hens with Oranges & Onions

Poultry has an affinity for fruity flavors, as shown in this simple recipe for small Cornish hens. It’s a great, easy dish to serve to company because the individual hens make an elegant presentation.

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Roasted Leg of Lamb

A leg of lamb, rubbed with herbs and spices and roasted to a perfect medium-rare, is a beautiful thing to behold. The moment you cut into the roast, you reveal your success at the ancient art of meat cookery. If you do it right, anxiety dissolves into overwhelming pride as your guests dig in with visceral pleasure.

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Herbes de Provence Leg of Lamb

The simple stuffing in this recipe combines shallots and garlic with a mixture of herbs that you can vary according to what is in your garden or fresh at the market, such as thyme, oregano, tarragon or marjoram. You can ask the butcher to butterfly the boned lamb for you and pound it to an even thickness.

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Marinated Flank Steak with Lemony Arugula and Feta Salad

Ground sumac—a deep red spice available at Middle Eastern markets—plus cumin and feta give this flavorful grilled steak exotic zip. The tart, fresh salad makes for a lovely garnish and bright counterpoint to the beef. It’s a real crowd-pleaser and perfect for serving to guests.

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Short Rib Osso Buco with Polenta Crust

This dish is the ultimate in comfort food. Short ribs are braised in a flavorful cooking liquid, then the meat is removed from the bones and returned to the pot. The dish is topped with creamy polenta and baked until golden.

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Skirt Steak Fajitas

Skirt steak is the best choice for quick marinating and grilling. It is well marbled, which makes it very flavorful, and slightly stringy, which makes it chewy—so be sure to slice it across the grain.

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Lacquered Duck

These duck breasts are brushed with a flavorful glaze that produces a shiny lacquered coating. Serve with steamed rice and our Spicy Long Beans.

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