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Nov 1, 2007 09:10 AM

The Silver Palate Cookbook: Recipe Discussion and Planning, Links, and Previous Picks and Pans

November 2007 Cookbook of the Month.

Use this thread to make general comments about the book, discuss which recipes you are planning to try, and to post short reviews of recipes you may have already tried.

This thread is also the place to post links to recipes that are available online. Full length recipe reviews should be posted in the appropriate section on the master links thread, which you can find here:

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Here's a link to The Silver Palate website, with recipes, along with a pretty decent price on the cookbook:
    I can't tell whether the recipes are from the cookbooks, or if they just use their products??

    Chicken Marbella, Salmond Mousse, Baked Ham with Glazed Apricots, Tarragon Chicken Salad, Carrot Cake:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Katie Nell

      One that I have made many many times is the Basil-Walnut vinaigrette. I always serve it just as they suggest: on "a cool plateful of crisp-cooked garden-fresh green beans". I quickly cook the beans in a big pot of salted water, just till they're bright green, then cool them quickly and refrigerate. Then I get an oval platter, stack up the beans neatly cross-wise down the platter, and put spoonfuls of the chunky vinaigrette down the middle. It's beautiful and delicious. It's a great thing to bring to summer potlucks.

    2. My all-time favorite Silver Palate recipe which I have made over and over again, using different variations, is Chicken Marbella.

      I have made the original, and some less salty ( no olives,no capers) version, whipping up the marinade in the blender and placing in a heavy duty Freezer Baggie to marinate. I often add prunes, Apricots, lemon juice and lemons instead of vinegar.

      The technique of just putting it on a baking sheet, makes it simple and delicious.

      Everyone loves this dish and requests the recipe.

      22 Replies
      1. re: Fleur

        Descriptions of this dish were the reason I bought the book. I definitely want to try it soon!

        1. re: Fleur

          This is my go-to dish when I need to prep in advance and have a lot of people coming. It's good hot or cold. I find it works better w/ dark meat chicken.

          1. re: chowser

            Two questions on Marbella -- coming soon to my kitchen :)

            1. I would like to try it with boneless skinless breasts -- have any of you tried it like that? We are not fans of dark meat here... I was going to try with legs/thighs but we just don't like that. Plus, boneless skinless are on SALE this week!

            2. We can't cook with alcohol, and this recipe calls for one cup of white wine. Should I omit it or substitute for something else? I'm trying to think *what* that might be -- Fleur adds lemon juice, which doesn't seem winelike to me, but it IS tart and at least would accent the dish with another flavor.

            1. re: foxy fairy

              I honestly wouldn't try roasting skinless chicken breasts, because you'll end up with very dry meat. If you wanted to try doing something with similar flavors to Marbella, I'd suggest maybe making the marinade as you wish (lemon or whatever substitute for wine), marinating the chicken, then maybe cooking the chicken on the stovetop in the marinade. There's nothing in the marinade that needs long cooking, so it might work.

              Or cook the marinated chicken (I'd be tempted to pound or butterfly it out flat) quickly, then remove from the pan, then boil the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken.

              1. re: Kagey

                Hmmm-- good point on the dry-factor, and exactly what I was thinking. I guess I could marinate the breasts and grill, but I think I'll save that for another time. This time, I really want to follow the guidelines for cooking set out in the recipe, and when I pointed out that it would be too try this way, my sweety was arguing that it would be fine.... I guess I'll either do a whole chicken or break down and do the legs.

                Do you think the lemon juice would work for the wine??

                1. re: foxy fairy

                  I'm not sure about the substitute for wine. I'd probably go with the lemon juice. I think others have asked the general question about wine substitutes before, and you may have luck searching the Home Cooking board.

                  As for chicken breasts, if they have skin on they might work for this recipe. You could always remove the skin before eating (as heretical as that might sound). But I think part of the point of the recipe is that the seasonings mix with the chicken juices (mostly fat, unless you use a whole chicken), and the breasts don't really yield any juices. So I think you're right to go with a whole chicken, or just legs, to stay within the guidelines of the recipe. At least for the first time. But I still think that the ingredients would probably lend themselves well to a sort of tagine-style thing, cooked in a pot. Chicken breasts would work in that case, boned thighs probably even better.

                  1. re: Kagey

                    For the white wine substitute, you can use a mixture of chicken stock, white grape juice and vinegar. That is what i usually use (although I use the fruit juice I have around).

                    1. re: Kagey

                      Great ideas from you both -- thank you. I hadn't even thought of white grape juice/vinegar -- perfect, and I just made my own stock (using Silver Palate recipe)! I have convinced sweety and we're going with a small whole chicken.

                      Next question -- HOW DO WE QUARTER IT??? I was veggie for years, so this will be my first time facing off with a carcass... I'm a pretty accomplished veggie cook, but just getting into preparing meat. For the quartering, I found tips online, but any CH tips?? gulp!


                      1. re: foxy fairy

                        I cut up chickens all the time and even I had a bit of difficulty following the instructions you linked to. Take a look at these. I think they're a bit clearer:


                        I'm a firm believer in using poultry or kitchen shears, if you have them, for removing the backbone. Much, much easier than using a knife. I also use shears for splitting the breastbone if I'm not removing it entirely as is shown here.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          I use a big Chinese cleaver....well, it's not actually THAT big, to cut up chicken. It's really great for cutting off the legs and wings, as well as whacking the backbone. I also think kitchen shears are very good. for this job.

                        2. re: foxy fairy

                          I usually ask the butcher to cut up the chicken for me. I know, it's the easy way out, but hey, it's a lot easier.

                          1. re: JasmineG

                            Oh, I like that idea -- quite a bit!

                    2. re: Kagey

                      I've had Chicken Marbella twice (once somebody gave some to me and I also made it myself) and both times the white meat chicken was very dry. I ended up not liking it because of that. I think that you either need to figure a way to take out the breasts before the dish is finished or start them later....Can't remember the recipe procedures well enough to tell if this would work. I'd go with the dark meat.

                      1. re: oakjoan

                        Thanks, everyone, for great tips. I'm going with a small whole chicken (I did end up finding one less than three pounds, at the kosher butcher). Hopefully this should help me overcome the dry factor.

                        Per Jasmine's suggestion, I requested that the butcher quarter it for me - no problem. I'm going to marinate it tonight and serve for dinner tomorrow. Do you guys just marinate for one night, or longer? She says in the recipe that it's better after more time in the fridge, but I think she means once it is cooked? I could certainly marinate longer if it tastes better that way...

                        1. re: foxy fairy

                          Yeah, it's better after a day or two in the fridge cooked. But I'd only marinate for one night. Also, I don't know if you've read other posts about it, but another poster and I both found that using a big pan made the juices spread out a bit and evaporate. So I'd definitely suggest using a pan that's just big enough to hold the parts, if you have one. Good luck. I can't wait to hear how it turns out for you.

                          1. re: Kagey

                            Yeah, my husband liked it a lot the first night, but absolutely raved about the leftovers. I never got any, so can't say whether or not I'd have liked it better.

                    3. re: foxy fairy

                      Weighing in late on this, I have done it with chicken breasts only, w/ skin and bones and it was dry. If you were going to try it, I'd go w/ Kagey's suggestion on pounding flat and pan frying--almost like a chicken marsala.

                      1. re: foxy fairy

                        Sorry, I am coming to this discussion a little bit late. I, too, am a devoted fan of the original SP Chicken Marbella recipe, but several years ago Eating Well magazine did their own take on the recipe, lightening it up and making it more healthy. Their version is also much quicker -- it doesn't call for marinating the chicken, instead you do a quick simmer of the sauce ingredients in a saucepan. Their recipe also calls for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that bake in the oven. I have made this recipe as well numerous times -- my husband actually likes this lighter version better. It's not the original, of course, but for a quick, weekday night supper it's pretty good!


                    4. re: Fleur

                      It's a favorite of mine as well, and I've done several variations with different fruits as well. I have to say, though, after the first time I made it, I dropped the amount of oregano called for down to only a teaspoon. I found it overwhelmed the dish otherwise.

                      1. re: Fleur

                        One of my favorite recipes of all time. Chicken marbella was my first dinner party entree when I first moved away from mom & dad. Berta's chopped liver as an appy, and 'the' Carrot Cake for dessert, I had an impressive and mostly made ahead dinner.

                        1. re: Fleur

                          Believe my family is the onle one that did not like Chicken Marbella. It was far too sweet for our tastes and had too many heavy flavors that competed with each other. Their chili with olives was also far too heavy and tended to "repeat" on all 12 of us that ate it one Sunday.

                          I have also found that their ingredient proportions are a bit off and do not seem well tested to go from a huge portion that the store made down to a home kitchen level. Perhaps I have not made enough recipes from the books?

                          I do like the green bean with orange recipe- very light and tasty. Their menu planning and tips are helpful, so I'm not going to part with the books just yet.

                          1. re: tall sarah

                            I totally agree on portion sizes: as I said about their ceviche recipe, it makes a TON -- they say that it serves 8 as an appetizer, and I think that it's more like 16.

                        2. The Silver Palate opened on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan in 1977, the same year I moved to the Upper West Side. My friends and I used to go there often. This was before “take-out” was ubiquitous in every supermarket. You could buy a meal or, as we did more often, buy hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and breads to tide us over until dinner got out of the oven. One of our favorites was their Paté Maison with Calvados and dried currants. I still remember how thrilled we were when the book was published and there was the recipe. No cheating, either; it was the real thing.

                          I made that paté for years. I used to bring it as a hostess gift. I’d pack it in crocks for holiday presents. And then I just didn’t make it any more. Did I tire of it? Was it just that paté went out of fashion? I’m sort of tempted to try it again, but have no appropriate occasion coming up. And truth to tell, I’m afraid that what appealed to my palate 25 and 30 years ago might not today. Anyone else remember this recipe? Fondly or otherwise?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: JoanN

                            Thanks for sharing your memories of the storefront, JoanN. To be honest, The Silver Palate has never really been on my radar until now. I'm a west coaster and was just 6 yrs. old when their store opened, so I overlooked this book when I started seriously cooking and buying cookbooks. My mother never owned it and I faintly remember seeing it on the shelves at friends' houses. I voted for Dean & Deluca but after having looked over my library copy of the SP, I'm very excited to try a few recipes!

                            My initial impressions of the book and recipes are that they are very accessible, conducive to weeknight meals, and call for good and widely-available ingredients. Many utilize my pantry staples, so I think it will be alot easier for me to try a recipe w/o having to spend too much time or $ procuring specialty items. The jacket description says the book is geared to the "working society" which I can appreciate since I work full-time and yet prefer to eat in most nights of the week. All of these factors along w/ the fact that page after page read like a "greatest hits" collection will hopefully mean that I will be participating more this month. BTW, is there only an online store at this time? If so, what was the fate of the storefront?

                            Recipes I've tagged (feel free to give any feedback):

                            curried butternut squash soup
                            winter borscht
                            chicken marbella (of course!)
                            chicken breasts baked on a bed of wild mushrooms
                            chicken dijonnaise
                            beef carbonnade
                            beef stroganoff
                            has anyone tried making the braised short ribs?
                            ginger candied carrots
                            wild mushroom soup
                            autumn apple and walnut salad
                            banana bread (I like that they use some whole wheat flour)
                            medieval apple tart
                            ginger pumpkin mousse
                            orange cake
                            buckwheat crepes

                            1. re: Carb Lover

                              I no longer recall exactly, but I don't think the storefront lasted much longer than a decade. Somewhere along the way, Lukins, who had been a caterer, and Rosso, who was the marketing person, had a falling out. The authors have always claimed that the press made it into a bigger brouhaha than it actually was and, indeed, they are now back together promoting the 25th anniversary edition of the book. I suspect that the tremendous popularity of the books and the commercializing of their branded products left them with little time or inclination to run the shop.

                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                I can personally say the curried squash soup is fantastic- don't have the original recipe on hand, but I remember just a dash of olive oil, a really good granny smith, maybe a couple dashes more of curry powder? It's quite fun to play with, either to dress up or to suit your fancy.

                                1. re: chocolatstiletto

                                  I made the curried squash soup once a while back too, but the thing I really remember is that I used a Granny Smith and regretted using an apple that was so sour! To me, the sourness got in the way of the soup's flavor. But hey, different opinions make the world go round!

                                  1. re: Kagey

                                    Another poster just posted an adaptation of "CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP"


                              2. re: JoanN

                                I just picked up a super cheap, used copy of SP and am re-reading this thread. I'm wondering, Joan, if you ever resolved your paté curiosity?


                              3. Has anyone made the ginger pumpkin mousse? I'm really in the mood for an easy pumpkin dessert and this looks like it could be it. My only concern is that the gelatin powder isn't dissolved into a little liquid first like other gelatin-based desserts I've made. It's directly added to the creamed sugar and eggs. Is this ok? Can someone confirm that this recipes works? Thanks.

                                1. The recipe I love most from that book is the veal stew with cepes. It's the only time I cook with veal and is always well received, especially by weary travellers.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: waver

                                    My copy of the SP is falling apart, but I would never trade it in for a new one, so many happy memories between the pages of the tattered one. I too made mounds of that pate with calvados and have recently been thinking of resurrecting it for a Christmas party. I made lots of that salmon mousse too. I still use their recipe for turkey (with cheesecloth on it) every Christmas. The sour cream coffeecake and the carrot cake still get made occasionally.