Mentaiko Spaghetti Is Creamy, Briny, Rich and Spicy

Good morning. Tarako is a Japanese word meaning “children of cod.” It describes the salt-cured roe sacs of Alaskan pollock, a fish in the cod family, and it is a popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. It’s found in Korean cooking, too, as well as in some French and Russian dishes: salty and rich with umami, tasting more of the sea than of, like, fish. You can find it at big-box Asian supermarkets, packaged in frozen trays alongside its spicier marinated cousin, mentaiko, a word that translates, a little more directly, as “children of Alaskan pollock.”

The two ingredients are worth seeking out this weekend, the mentaiko in particular, so that you can make J. Kenji López-Alt’s new recipes for mentaiko spaghetti (above) on Saturday night and whipped cream cheese with mentaiko for breakfast on Sunday, to spread on your favorite bagel.

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I get it if that’s not in the cards for you, particularly if it’s hard to find tarako or mentaiko where you stay. Glorious ingredients abound right now, across the nation: strawberries for spoon cake; asparagus to grill with olive oil, salt and pepper, and then serve under chopped hard-boiled eggs; wild-caught salmon with green goddess dressing, new potatoes and snap peas.

But, hey, whatever’s for dinner on Saturday night, whatever you eat for breakfast on Sunday, I think it would be stellar if the last meal of the weekend could be fried chicken, a meal my father made at least one summer Sunday a month when I was small, and which never fails to make me feel as if the season could last forever.

The possibilities are endless: adobo-fried chicken; Nashville-style hot fried chicken; Korean fried chicken; Indiana fried chicken; even a tofu-fried tofu that’s a worthy simulacrum of the kind made with bird. Serve with potato salad or macaroni salad, with coleslaw, with biscuits and strawberries and cream.

There are many thousands more recipes for the weekend and the weeks that follow waiting for you on New York Times Cooking. You need a subscription to read them, as I’ve noted before. Subscriptions support this work that we love to do. I hope, if you haven’t done so already, that you will subscribe today. Thank you!

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Now, it’s nothing to do with Boursin or tamari (and I’m late to it to boot), but if you haven’t read Anthony Doerr’s 2014 novel “All the Light We Cannot See,” you ought to and soon, before it comes to Netflix as a limited series this fall. Those Pulitzer judges were on to something.

I’ve been mesmerized by a weird new cookbook from the film and television company A24, “Scrounging.” The recipes take their cues from classic films — and then take them in strange directions, few toward the classically delicious. So a baked potato dipped in crushed Vicodin, inspired by “The Martian.” Libby Mae Brown’s chicken wing with half a Marlboro red, a nod to “Waiting for Guffman.” I’m still puzzling it all out, and there’s enjoyment in that.

Yes, of course, “The Bear,” on Hulu.

Finally, here’s Alex Lahey’s “You’ll Never Get Your Money Back,” which you should listen to real loud while you’re cooking. I’ll see you on Sunday.

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