WASHINGTON, DC - Almond-Crusted Scallops photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post). (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

A crunchy, golden exterior coating a thin piece of meat or fish is a beautiful thing; and as an added bonus these main dishes tend to cook quickly. Here are a few picks from our recipe archives:

Almond-Crusted Scallops, above. Dates and preserved lemon make for an elegant presentation using little effort.

[These three cookbooks went viral before the Internet existed — and they still hold up today]


WASHINGTON, DC - Breaded Chicken Cutlets With Parmesan photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post). (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Breaded Chicken Cutlets With Parmesan. Basic and perfect.


WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 26: Pan-Fried Turkey Cutlets With Sauteed Kale, Mushrooms and Onions photographed in Washington, DC. Tableware from Crate and Barrel. Photo by Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Pan-Fried Turkey Cutlets With Kale, Mushrooms and Onions. The coating's got seasoned salt, Italian seasoning and panko bread crumbs. Serve this with macaroni and cheese for extra comfort.

Walnut-Crusted Salmon. Only six ingredients! A tangy honey mustard sauce helps the chopped walnuts stick to the fish.


WASHINGTON, DC - Nut-Crusted Sirloin Strips With Grapes photographed in Washington, DC. (Photo by Deb Lindsey For The Washington Post). (Deb Lindsey /For The Washington Post)

Nut-Crusted Sirloin Strips With Grapes. This crunchy, chewy, sweet, salty delight is ready in 20 minutes or less.


Plate Lab Washington, DC-September 18: Chicken Schnitzel with Braised Red Cabbage in the studio in Washington, DC on September 18, 2014 (Photo by Renee Comet for the Washington Post) Tableware by Crate and Barrel (Renee Comet/For The Washington Post)

Chicken Schnitzel With Braised Red Cabbage. Save this gem of a recipe for when you've got a little more time; the buttermilk brined chicken needs to be refrigerated for at least four hours (or up to overnight), and the apple mustard can be made five days ahead of time.


WASHINGTON, DC- DECEMBER 23, 2014: Pumpkin-Seed-Crusted Tempeh (Photo by Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post). (Deb Lindsey/For The Washington Post)

Pumpkin Seed-Crusted Tempeh. Marinated tempeh gets an extra boost of flavor with a nutty, crunchy crust.


WASHINGTON DC - FEBRUARY 7TH: Pretzel-Crusted Schnitzel With Caraway Onion Noodles on a blue plate with rustic knife and fork shot on February 7th, 2017 in Washington DC. (Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Pretzel-Crusted Schnitzel With Caraway Onion Noodles. A thin layer of mustard over pounded rounds of beef tenderloin keeps the pretzel-parsley-thyme coating in place; baking in the oven keeps this nice and easy.