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Jul 1, 2010 04:57 PM

*July 2010 COTM - ITALIAN EASY: Fish, Poultry, Meat

Our July cookbooks are ITALIAN EASY and ITALIAN TWO EASY, by Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers.

Please use this thread to discuss recipes from the following chapters:

Italian Easy:

Veal, Lamb, Pork, Beef

Italian Two Easy:

Fish with...
Birds with wine
Roast meat
Grilled Fish and Meat

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. Grilled Tuna with Fennel Seeds (IE, page 137)

    Good, not great. I used a grill pan heated to screaming on the stove top. Thought it needed more than “a minute or so.” More an aesthetic issue since at the specified time it looked anemic. Probably overcooked it slightly. Still. Not something I’d return to unless these were the only two ingredients left in the cupboard.

    Served it with Fava Beans and Peas (IE, page 201) which I'll report on on the appropriate thread.

    1. Chicken with lemon, Italian Easy, p 147

      This is basically a pared down version of Marcella Hazan's recipe for roast chicken with lemons, which is the way I usually roast chicken. This method has you roll a lemon on the counter to soften it, then pierce several times with a fork. Put the lemon in the cavity of the bird, along with some fresh thyme, season well and secure with a toothpick. Roast in a 200C oven, breast-side down, for an hour, then flip the chicken over and roast for another 30 minutes.

      This was spectacular, really moist and juicy and falling-off the bone tender. It was a free-range bird from the farmer's market so the flavour of the meat was very good. I served it with the pan juices, and the courgettes from ITE, which I've reported on in the appropriate thread, and some sourdough for mopping.

      The only difference between this recipe, and Hazan's is the addition of the thyme, and that you keep the oven temperature constant (Marcella has you raise it for the last portion of cooking time). I think you might also flip the bird later in the cooking process as well. Anyway, the results were just as good and as it's a slightly simpler method, with no faffing about with the oven temperature, this will become my new standard.

      17 Replies
      1. re: greedygirl

        It's nice to know how to simplify! Not that Marcella's method is that difficult, but, sometimes it's hard to know which things make a difference and which don't if you're trying to take a short-cut. I shall file this away for winter when we're cooking indoors again.

        I think we're getting an odd combo of good success and only so so from this book. Weird.

        EDIT: P.S. I'm enjoying the little asterisks Caitlin used in the thread titles. Very festive. Has she been doing that all along and I've been slow to notice?


        1. re: The Dairy Queen

          It really is weird how some recipes are giving great results and others just "eh." I had noticed that too.

          And I'm putting this chicken (previously overlooked) immediately on my "to make" list. Thanks for pointing it out gg.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I'm excited about these books now, which I've had for years, and am enjoying rediscovering them. I guess a lot of the time I dismissed the recipes as ridiculously simple, but for some reason I'm finding them quite inspiring at the moment.

          2. re: The Dairy Queen

            I've been lurking bcs I don't have these books - TDQ et al, should I break down and get them, do you think?

            1. re: buttertart

              Hi buttertart... Can you find them at your local library? That's what many of us do as a prelude to buying them. OTOH, there are many of the Italian Two Easy recipes on line. We are finding that some of us love some of the recipes and some do not. This pretty much follows from month to month, though, so I'm not letting that influence me too much, I hope. I Am paying attention to the negative comments, however. I'm glad you're lurking... perhaps you'll take the plunge before long.

              1. re: buttertart

                Not TDQ, but if I were you I would borrow them from the library first to see if you really think you need them. I have Italian Easy from the library and marked very few recipes I wanted to try. Admittedly, IE (don't know about I2E) is pretty heavy in carbs, something I'm trying avoid right now. If it were winter, perhaps I'd be trying the risottos, but I'm not standing over a hot stove while it's 90+ degrees out.

                I've only tried two recipes so far, neither compelling. And of the recipes others have reviewed very positively, I've only copied one to my database since many of them are so similar to recipes I either already have or have made often before.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I buttertart, I AM TDQ and I pretty much agree with JoanN (and Gio).

                  I'd give these books a test-run before committing to them, if you can find them in your library. They are a little unconventional and we're getting a lot of mixed results. I'm not personally ready to buy them yet.


                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    I looked at them when they came out and didn't find them too exciting so was very interested to see how people are making out with them. i'll definitely look at them again because some of the food does sound interesting.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I'm starting to feel like these would be good books to take to a vacation house with you, where you don't have all of your normal kitchen equipment handy and you need to keep things simple.


                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        That is a really interesting thought, and useful. We'll likely be going away for 6-8 weeks this winter, and I've been mulling in my head what to do about recipes.

            2. re: greedygirl

              Based totally on gg's review, this was the welcome home dinner for my husband after a week away. He said "this is one of the best roast chicken's I've ever had." Not sure I"m *quite* as in love as him (although I liked it very much), but definitely agree the skin was irresistible and would make it again. So easy. I didn't bother taking the leaves off the thyme, just stuck the whole thyme stalks (sp?) in the bird. Served with cauliflower and fennel seed from the same book. Review of that in the a.m.

              1. re: LulusMom

                Just wanted to post that the leftovers of this chicken are wonderful, I'm now in love with it. Love the lemon flavor that is in each bite. Thanks gg, never would have noticed this one if not for your review.

              2. re: greedygirl

                Just as good as gg and LLM said it was. My chicken was only 3-1/2 pounds (not 4; a kosher bird, by the way) that I cooked for the full hour and a half. My white meat was a tad dry, but I don’t like white meat much anyway and all the rest of it was so terrific I didn’t care. Definitely a go-to recipe when you need roast chicken NOW.

                But did you “Serve with the juices” as the recipe directs? Looked more like fat than juices to me. Thought I’d pass.

                1. re: JoanN

                  There really wasn't much in the way of juices with mine ... a little brown juice on the bottom of the pan, but nothing I could have really served it with.

                  So, so glad you finally found a winner! This is going to be a go to recipe for me, based on the ease (and short ingredients list).

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Just so I don't come across as a total downer, I really liked the Salsa Rossa Picante, too. In fact, I've made it a second time. I just didn't think it paired well with the dish it was recommended to accompany.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      You, a downer?? Never. More often than not I either laugh or sigh contentedly when I read your posts.

                  2. re: JoanN

                    I always have quite a lot of juices with mine and they're really good.

                2. Whole Dover Sole (fillets of local flounder) p. 190 ITE

                  We make this pretty often, because flounder is really tasty, fresh and local for us. Instead of using a whole fish we just use fillets (filets?) and we do add a bit of fennel tops both under and over while grilling. You brush the fish with olive oil, season, grill until done (we add the fennel fronds) and serve with lemon. Nothing could be easier, and it is always wonderfully delicious. Not something you really need a recipe for, but it makes my husband feel more comfortable to have one (he's the griller in the house).

                  1. Flattened chicken, Italian Easy

                    This is an old favourite. The recipes calls for a boned chicken, but I normally buy my chickens from the farmer's market, so I just spatchcock mine instead. Then you loosen the skin, and slide chopped garlic, thyme and salt inside. Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon and anoint with olive oil.

                    The recipe then calls for you to cook the chicken in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, but I normally cook mine on the Weber, flipping over once. It's really yummy.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: greedygirl

                      GG... happy to read your comments about these chicken recipes since I've been drooling over them. This Flattened Chicken recipe and the vermentino one have been calling to me. I've not tasted Vermentino so I'm particularly interested in that one. As for the lemon chicken, that's my preferred method to roast chicken with the exception of using garlic cloves and not thyme in the cavity. Crispy skin every time.

                      1. re: Gio

                        Yes, I sometimes put garlic in the cavity as well, and rosemary. All is good and I've never had a chicken I didn't like this way. The ones I'm buying from the farmer's market at the moment at a very good price are a revelation - they just fall apart.

                        I'm not entirely sure what vermentino is - can you enlighten me?

                        1. re: greedygirl

                          Vermentino is a white Italian wine from Sardinia. From what I've read, it has a citrusy flavor. I think I'll ask the CH wine board for assistance.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Gotcha. I've got my eye on the one with vermouth. I am a recent convert to vermouth as a drink, after a weekend in Madrid when we drank chilled red vermouth on tap as an aperitif. I now have a bottle of martini rosso in the fridge - how very seventies!

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              OMGoodness. I automatically thought that recipe called for Dry vermouth which is what we use in our gin martinis. I also use it in cooking when dry white wine is called for if I don't have any at hand.

                              If it does call for red vermouth that's a whole 'nother flavor.

                              1. re: Gio

                                No it is dry vermouth - I'm just obsessed with red vermouth at the moment!

                              2. re: greedygirl

                                Huh, never would have occurred to me to drink red vermouth as a drink. Might have to give that a shot. Speaking of old-fashioned drinks, somehow recently I started adding just a spot of dubonnet to my G&Ts. Festive. I then pretend to be the Queen Mum (uh, during her livelier days).

                                And Gio, I do the same with dry vermouth - keep a bottle by the oven for when there isn't anything else open. I think if it was good enough for Julia Child, it's good enough for me.

                                1. re: LulusMom

                                  Gin and dubonnet! Hilarious. You are such a hopeless Anglophile, LLM. It'll-)be jellied eels and pie and mash next, you mark my words. ;-)

                                  Red vermouth on the rocks, with a slice of orange and a spritz of soda is a fabulous summer drink, believe me. If you like campari, as I do, you'll love it.

                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                    Adore campari. And yes, I'm a hopeless anglophile. And a hopeless Francophile. I need to phile my way east.

                        2. re: greedygirl

                          My turn on Flattened Chicken....

                          As GG suggested, I spatchcocked the bird. Was hoping to grill it but I couldn't get the dang thing plan B: roast at 400.....Mine took a full hour to cook, even though it was only 3 lb. Ah them bones. Mighty tasty though.....tried to leave some for the kids.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Flattened chicken. We started with a whole chicken (slightly less than 3.5 lbs) and I convinced my CHP (chowhound by proxy) to bone the chicken. I found a great video of Jacques Pepin that proved to be quite helpful. We cooked this in the oven because it was quite late in the evening. It cooked for about 35 minutes. The skin was a little rubbery (my fault), but it was moist and well seasoned. Definitely something to make again -next time we will try it on the grill.

                          2. Guinea fowl with fennel, Italian Easy, p 152

                            I made this back in the mists of time, and all I can remember about it is that we liked it very much! I do love me a guinea fowl, so must try this again.