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October 2011 COTM: Splendid Table: Second Courses

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  1. Balsamic Roast Chicken (page 279)

    Rub the chicken with olive oil and then with a mixture of garlic, rosemary, and salt. Set on a plate and refrigerate overnight. Roast, breast-side down, basting every 15 minutes, until 30 minutes before it’s done. Turn over (I lost some breast skin to the hot skillet) and cook until thighs register 170F. If the chicken is not “deep golden brown,” turn heat to 475F for 10 minutes. Mine wasn’t evenly “deep golden brown” by a long shot, even after the 10 minutes. Could it be because my chicken was 3 ½ pounds not 4 to 4 ½ and I had to cook it for less time than called for? I doubt it. Could it be because I roasted it in a cast-iron skillet and the sides are too high? Perhaps. But that’s the way I roast my Zuni chicken and the skin on that is gorgeous and crispy all over.

    This was only okay. The flavor was good, but I want my chicken skin brown and crispy all over. The balsamic drizzle at the end was a lovely touch. I used a rather expensive aged balsamic, but not the artisan-made tradizionale she calls for. She says if you’re not using the artisan-made vinegar to add a bit of brown sugar to it, but I was just pretty certain I wouldn’t care for it so skipped that. Thought the balsamic was just fine without it. The recipe calls for four tablespoons of vinegar, but if you’re pouring it over the whole chicken rather than a cut-up one (she suggests either), two tablespoons was plenty. I’ll remember to add the balsamic to other roast chicken recipes, but I won’t be returning to this particular one.

    I took the photo before the drizzle while the chicken was resting. You can really see how unevenly browned it was. Back to the high temp method for me.

     
    9 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      You beat me to it. Joan. This is to be my Sunday roast tomorrow. I usually roast chicken at 425F, but I think for this I'll follow the recipe, cut up the chicken, put it into a roasting pan, and see if that makes a difference. Good to read about not adding the brown sugar to the balsamico. I wasn't going to although I have read that simply reducing the commersial balsamic kind of mirrors the flavor of the artisan vinegar.

      1. re: JoanN

        Balsamic Roast Chicken, Pg. 279

        We made the balsamic chicken last night for dinner and our outcome was pretty much as Joan describes above. Instead of cutting the chicken into pieces, though, we decided to roast it whole in the v-rack of one of my smaller roasting pans. The free-range organic chicken weighed 4.31 pounds so we roasted it at 350F breast side down for 1 hour then 1/2 hour for the final 30 minutes at 425F.

        The skin never did crisp up as it does when we roast at 425F for the entire time. I usually don't rub oil over a chicken when I roast it but I did as the recipe called for. The meat was uncommonly juicy and tender with a decidedly "chickeny" flavor and looked just about like Joan's photo. We liked the garlic/salt/rosemary rub... I increased the quantities but used only 2 T of the balsamico.. I'd make it again with modifications. I also served steamed brown basmati rice and sautéed greens with garlic per the cabbage recipe in the same book.

        1. re: Gio

          I’m always conflicted, Gio, when I read a report such as yours that more or less agrees with my assessment. I’m pleased to know that it was not just stupid user error or lack of knowledge or technique on my part that resulted in a less than stellar dish. But at the same time, I’m rather sorry someone didn’t have a quick fix to make better something I thought only fair.

          I will say, though, that the leftovers for this chicken were better than most. I sliced the breast and thigh meat, cut off the remaining wing, and set the pieces in a turned-off oven on top of a pilot light to warm it all up in the leftover sauce. Very good indeed.

          1. re: JoanN

            When I was first married and started cooking on my own (back in the Dark Ages) the rule of thumb for roasting meats and poultry then was 20 min per lb @325F for beef, lamb, chicken, etc. ; 30 min per lb @ 325F for pork. No need for thermometers, everything turned perfectly. So I was reasonably confident the 350F for this chicken would be OK. I've been thinking lately our ovens/ranges now-a-days must be calibrated differently because now I roast chicken at 425F and sometimes higher with superb results.

            Last night I sliced the leftover chicken and served it over top a green bean salad from The Italian Country Table. It was delicious.

            1. re: Gio

              Ooooh, was it that green bean and garlic bread salad?? I have that on my list for next week.

              1. re: Gio

                Or it could be that it's the meat and poultry that are now calibrated differently. :-)

                My oven dates from those Dark Ages, and I always use an oven thermometer because it tends to overheat by at last 25 degrees. I also checked the temperature of the thigh meat and it was 170 as called for (my Thermapen is still a comparatively new toy so I whip it out at any excuse).

                Oh well, at least the leftovers were good. And when cooking for myself, I make roast chicken as much for the leftovers as for the first meal.

                1. re: JoanN

                  I know what you mean about leftovers. I'm cooking for 2, but the same applies to us. I actually made a Slater roast chicken last night (similar to the one you describe, with rosemary branches inserted into cavity. I didn't rub it all over with butter as he does, but it was great anyway...lots of garlic.

                  Tonight we had roasted squash soup and chicken salad. Mmmm. Haven't even gotten around to looking for Splendid Table, etc. at the library yet. I'm still so entranced by the Slater books (which I bought as a splurge) I can't concentrate on anything else.

                  Well, I hope that my Slater intrusion will not be frowned upon. I'm going to look for this month's choices in the local lbiraries.

          2. re: JoanN

            Balsamic Roast Chicken (pollo al forno con aceto balsamico), p.279

            I decided to cook it breast side up after reading everybody's reports because I wanted crispy skin. I roasted it at 350, but in a convection oven. The only other change I made was to double the garlic, and I used a mortar and pestle to grind the rosemary, garlic, and salt into a paste. I really liked how the rosemary infused the chicken without being overpowering. I ran out of time to make the sauteed cabbage with garlic which she suggests as a side dish to this (p.332), so will do that tomorrow for lunch. I served it sliced and drizzled with balsamic with a simple salad.

             
            1. re: JoanN

              Balsamic Roast Chicken (page 279)

              We've made this a couple times now and truly enjoy it for its flavour and simplicity. The first time I made it my chicken skin didn't crisp so since then I've finished the pieces w a quick sun-bathing under the broiler!!

              What takes this dish from good to great in my experience is the quality of the ingredients used. My very best outcome came when I used fresh, organic, free-range chicken pieces from a poultry farmer at our market. I always use a great balsamic vinegar as well.

              One thing I love about this book are the wine recommendations that accompany the recipes. So far they've been spot on and much appreciated!

            2. Grilled Beef with Balsamic Glaze, pg. 303

              It's been a particularly nice summer here in NH, and sad to see it go we decided to extend our summer habit of a low key grilled on the deck Friday night dinner. This recipe looked like it would suit that purpose, and it really did. We both enjoyed it quite a bit.

              So, the basic marinade is fresh rosemary, fresh sage (this ingredient really intrigued me, as I'd never think of using it in a beef marinade), garlic, olive oil, and red wine. For the meat I used top blade, chuck blade being one of Rossetto Kasper's suggestions, but did not cut it into the suggested strips, just left it in the flat iron shape, and it worked just fine. She reccommends marinating the meat in the fridge for 24 hours, but I didn't plan far enough ahead, and so marinated mine for about four-five hours at room temp, which worked well. Just before cooking commercial balsamic mixed with a little brown sugar is tossed into the marinade, then onto the grill with the meat.

              One of her suggestions is to use a hardwood fire, rather than a charcoal, as the heat source. I had the wood on hand, and as I hadn't used wood to grill beef in a long time, thought it would be a nice change of pace. It really was. I'd completely forgetten what a nice flavor hardwood adds to grilled beef. Anyway, when the meat is cooked, drizzle with a final bit of the balsamic and serve. Very, very nice.

              1. Maria Berttuzzi's Lemon Chicken, p. 273

                A full-flavored yet not heavy braised chicken dish, brightened with several TBS of fresh lemon juice, as well as fresh lemon zest. The intro to the recipe calls it "contadina," or farm food. Very satisfying as the nights grow colder. AND it can be made ahead, which I really like.

                First you take your 8 chicken pieces (cut from a 3 1/2 # chicken) and brown them well in 3 TBS EVOO "to a rich amber color." Season with S & P as they brown, and then remove to a plate, pouring off all but 2 TBS of the fat left in the frying pan. Then mince and saute a half-carrot, 1/2 a medium onion and 3 TBS of Italian parsley together. Plus 8 fresh or dried sage leaves. Rossetto-Kaspar said nothing about mincing the fresh sage, so I just tossed in the whole leaves! The shredded zest from a large lemon goes in next, and all is sauteed until the onion is dark golden. A pinch of ground cloves, 1 large minced garlic clove, and 3/4 cup of chopped skinned ripe fresh tomatoes are added, along with 2/3 c. water. BUT, if you use canned tomatoes, as I did, just add the liquid from the can to make up about 2/3 cup of liquid.

                Back in go the chicken pieces, along with 2 TBS of the fresh lemon juice. Cover and cook in the pan for about 15 minutes, then uncover and cook for a further 10 minutes until tender and the sauce clings to the chicken. (Mine took longer to become tender.)

                When the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is thickened, add 3-4 TBs fresh lemon juice, season to taste, and pile the pieces on a platter, with the pan juices poured over and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

                So my little farmers (5 and 8 years old) as well as the adults liked the dish very much. It's colorful and friendly. The acidity of the lemon juice/tomatoes is obvious, yet not obnoxiously pronounced. Next time I might add just a pinch of sugar to the sauce for even more balance. Couldn't really taste the cloves but I'm sure they added some spicy sweetness--might try a larger pinch next time. And if I get really organized, next time I will do as Rossetto-Kaspar suggests in a box on p. 274, and rub some herbs and garlic into the chicken and refrigerate overnight, for added flavor.

                I also really like the author's detailed instructions, which make it hard to go wrong.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Goblin

                  http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...

                  1. re: Goblin

                    I can't wait to try this one.

                    1. re: Goblin

                      Maria Bertuzzi's Lemon Chicken, p. 273

                      I finally got around to making this tonight, and since Goblin has already covered this quite thoroughly, I don't have much to add. I followed the recipe w/no changes. It took me a bit longer to cook the chicken than the recipe indicated, but it's not an overly time-consuming dish. (I do wish I'd planned ahead and rubbed the chicken w/herbs and garlic for a little more flavor.)
                      This was a nice dish--not fantastic, but good, more tomato-ey and less lemon-ey than I expected (and chicken and tomatoes will never be a favorite combination for me). My husband liked it a lot, however. I served it w/creamy polenta and garlic-sauteed cabbage.

                    2. Fresh Tuna Adriatic Style p. 216

                      This recipe was healthy and quick to make after work. I have tried similarly inspired recipes mostly referred to as Sicilian-style tuna typically with capers, kalamata olives and tomatoes. This recipe was similar, but the oil-cured olives added a welcome twist.

                      Tuna steaks are cooked in a med-high sauce pan with minced parsley and onions sprinkled around. Sear the fish for about a minute, turn the fish over and add garlic, basil, wine and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through. Set the fish aside, turn the heat up to high and add the rest of the wine, canned crush tomatoes and oil-cured black olives and serve. It took me a little more time to cook the fish as our steaks were rather thick.

                      I’m so used to cooking tuna rare that cooking the tuna through was an adjustment. The sauce was what sealed the deal for me. The sauce was a nice blend of tomato and the smoky, rich olives with minced onions. I may have overestimated the size of the onion and as a result the sauce had a stronger bite than I might have liked. Maybe next time, I will sauté the onions slightly so that the onion flavor is not as strong. My husband isn’t crazy about olives, but was happy with the tuna which meant more sauce for me. I liked this and would make it again for a quick, after work meal.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: BigSal

                        Hi BigSal,
                        Do you think it necessaty to cook the tuna throughfor this recipe? Would it work w/seared tuna?

                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          I think it would work with seared tuna (and plan on doing so the next time I make it), but I would saute the onion until translucent and then add the tuna. Otherwise, I think the bite of the onion would overwhelm.

                      2. Rabbit Roasted with Sweet Fennel, pg. 289 (Coniglio al Forno con Finocchio)

                        This dish was a revelation. I was very concerned, upon reading the recipe, to see that it called for the meat to be roasted for 2 hours - I thought for sure I'd end up with the driest, stringiest meat imaginable. I still worry that might be the case with rabbit, but I used chicken thighs, and they were marvelous.

                        The recipe calls for rabbit (or skinless chicken thighs) to be rubbed with a paste of garlic, rosemary and salt and pepper, then left overnight. Place them in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan and add sliced fennel and onions, more garlic, some chopped pancetta (I used salt pork), a bit of fennel seed, fennel fronds and some olive oil. Roast at 350 for 30 mins, then add some white wine and roast another hour, basting and turning occasionally, adding more wine if the pan dries out too much. Crank the heat to 450 and roast another 30 mins, flipping halfway through. Remove the meat and vegetables and add some wine and stock to the pan to deglaze and make a pan sauce.

                        The fennel and onion mixture was absolutely incredible. The vegetables took on a rich, caramelized flavor and a velvety, unctuous texture that made them feel as though the dish was full of fat (which it actually wasn't - I skimped on both the pancetta and the olive oil). The chicken was more cooked than I would normally go for, but the thighs stood up to the long cooking and the texture was fine, especially when eaten with that luscious fennel. The pan sauce really brought it all together (mine was made extra delicious by the super-gelatinous Brodo (pg. 66) that I made over the weekend). Just incredibly good - we licked our plates.

                        I served it with an improvised pasta - Vesuvio-shaped curls of pasta with a sauce of Brodo, white beans, capers, garlic, lemon and a bit of Parmiggiano-Reggiano. The little bit of acidity from the pasta was perfect with the rich meat and vegetables. One thing I would do differently next time is to use a better wine - the flavor REALLY comes through in this dish, and while the wine I used was fine, I think a better one would bring the whole thing up a notch.

                        23 Replies
                        1. re: biondanonima

                          Good to read your report, biondanomina. I have big plans to cook the three rabbit recipes in the book this month. There's one that has my name in the title so I Have to make that. We'll see how far I'll get.

                          I've only cooked rabbit twice: once from a Julia Child recipe (MTAOFC Vol. 1) which was fabulous. The rabbit marinated for 24 hours in red wine and aromatics. The second time was an old recipe from a vintage Italian book by Maria Lo Pinto and it was horrible. The rabbit tasted like fur. I still shudder twenty years later and haven't cooked rabbit since.

                          1. re: Gio

                            I LOVE rabbit but find it a bit temperamental to cook. I think the trick is to do what the French do and buy the farmed ones. Wild bunny can be very tough and gamey and has to be cooked low and slow. Farmed rabbits are a bit more forgiving.

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              Thanks for the tip GG. I have the opportunity to buy the rabbit either from a local supermarket or a local salumeria. I'll have to remember to asked for Farmed rabbit. And perhaps where it was farmed. When I ask those kind of questions at the market I get crosseyed looks, shrugs, shudders and stompings off with shakes of heads. Thats a right put off, that is.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Tell me about it. Sometimes shopkeepers look at me like I'm mad or a Martian or something.

                          2. re: biondanonima

                            Rabbit (chicken thighs) Roasted with Sweet Fennel, pg. 289 (Coniglio al Forno con Finocchio)

                            I made this with bone in, skinless thighs. Mixed feelings about this dish. C LOVED it. And, brought leftovers into work with him. His co-workers were really jealous and all want the recipe. I thought it was good but didn't love it as much as him.

                            Part of the reason is that I think the cooking time is too long for the thighs. I found that the thighs were a bit dry on the outside, although they were very moist on the inside. Part of it was because I'm not a big baster. The directions say, baste, baste, baste. But, I don't like to keep opening and closing my oven door. But I did flip the pieces every 20 minutes or so. Next time, I may leave the skin on to protect the meat a bit more. I know I have to repeat this recipe because C has already requested it.

                            Slight changes which worked for me. I used 4 oz of pancetta bc the package came with 4 oz. I also threw in chunks of carrots, which I loved as an addition. The carrots worked really well with the pancetta and fennel. Next time, I would make my vegetable chunks a bit bigger because they completely shrunk. I may add some turnips next time as well.

                            I served this with mashed potatoes which were the perfect complement.

                            1. re: beetlebug

                              Beetlebug, my chicken thighs were a bit dry on the outside too - I was too lazy to baste as frequently as the recipe called for. I didn't mind it so much, as the crispy outer bits sort of took the place of the skin for me, and the vegetables provided plenty of moisture. Still, when I make this again I will probably reduce the cooking time, or maybe just start the vegetables without the chicken and add it after the first half hour or so of cooking.

                              1. re: biondanonima

                                Maybe that's why the cooking time is so long, to take into account the lowering of oven temp for constant basting.

                                1. re: beetlebug

                                  I know rabbit recipes often suggest substituting chicken thighs but I have to say, I think the recipe loses something special when you make this substitution. Rabbit meat is so sweet and tender. Dark meat chicken is more oily and milder tasting. To my mind, you have to use rabbit in rabbit recipes. I have this dish on my short list so when I make it with the rabbit I'll let you know if I am right. I am really looking forward to tasting the rabbit with the fennel. It seems like the flavor combination would be ideal.

                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                    Here in NYC you're lucky to be able to find farmed rabbit for $10/pound. A 3-pound rabbit, the smallest I've been able to find around here, serves two because it has so little meat on it. That becomes a very expensive dinner for two people, especially if you're trying an untested recipe.

                                    1. re: JoanN

                                      We usually get two meals for 2 out of a rabbit, served in a multi-course format.

                                      chinatown, grocery store freezer case and Coluccio's are the places I ususlly see rabbits. I will check the price next time I run around, but the gravy and flavoring is a big part of the dish.

                                      1. re: jen kalb

                                        I was planning to make this with rabbit, but when I went to the shop where I usually can get fresh rabbit, they didn't have any in. I could order one.

                                        But I do know several places where I can get frozen rabbit, which I've never used before. Question for those who have used frozen rabbit before, do you think it would be significantly different than fresh in this dish?

                                        I guess my main concern is would the meat be dry/drier than fresh?

                                        1. re: qianning

                                          Qianning, I usually cook frozen rabbit, and it works fine. The meat is not drier. That assumes it has been properly packaged and stored, and is free of freezer burn.

                                          1. re: MelMM

                                            thanks....i think i'm going to try it this time, it is easier for me to find right now and considerably less expensive to boot.

                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                      Couldn't agree more - rabbit has a different taste than chicken.

                              2. re: biondanonima

                                http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...

                                This book sin't available on uk amazon, or in any London library! So I'm linking when I like the sound of something, hope that's ok :)

                                1. re: gembellina

                                  I think that's a great idea, gembellina. It gives others a chance to make something appealing to them but unattainable...

                                  1. re: gembellina

                                    It's better than ok. It's a great idea! Much easier to find than a long list of links on the main thread. Not that those aren't appreciated as well.

                                    1. re: gembellina

                                      It is on UK Amazon, but all the copies come from the States iirc.

                                      http://www.amazon.co.uk/Splendid-Tabl...

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        yeah, funny story - I was spelling her name wrong.

                                      2. re: gembellina

                                        I was able to get my copy from bookdepository.com, based in England. I live in France, but they ship for free worldwide. Amazing site, found out about them from David Lebovitz's blog. Good prices too.

                                      3. re: biondanonima

                                        Rabbit Roasted with Sweet Fennel, pg. 289

                                        Made this with rabbit, and basted, oh did I baste, and after all that the result was.....fabulous. We both thought it was the best rabbit dish we've ever had, at home or out. The taste was superb and the texture of the meat was spot on perfect, firm but tender to the bite and not one bit dry, stringy or chewy.

                                        Biondanomia and Beetlebug have already done a great job of covering the gist of the recipe, so just a few notes.

                                        Just because my usual source didn't have fresh rabbit, I did end up using a previously frozen rabbit from H-Mart, not usually a huge fan of H-Mart, but for certain things....well frozen rabbit at $7 and change for a rabbit is now one of those certain things. One of my pans seemed a bit too big, the other a tad tight, I went for the smaller pan and am glad I did, it seemed to help things stay moist and the juices concentrated perfectly, next time it's going in the same pan. The only salt added was that in the marinade (24 hrs) and from the pancetta (2 oz), about right for us, maybe even a little less pancetta next time. Used 3&1/2 TBS olive oil, maybe 3 TBS next time. Basted this thing every 10-15 minutes, and will again next time. For the final roasting at 450 degrees, LRK says "15 minutes/side, or until brown flecks appear on the rabbit", for my oven that was at 12 minutes/side, and I'll do it visually again next time.

                                        Get the theme? There will be a next time. If you like rabbit, fennel, and can spend two hours basting....this dish really delivers.

                                         
                                        1. re: qianning

                                          Looks gorgeous, qianning. I've loved this in both its rabbit and chicken permutations, but I sure wish I could get my husband over his rabbit issues. I have been looking around for rabbit this month, and all I have found is frozen so I'm glad to know it worked well.

                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            thanks to you for pointing it out earlier. good luck finding the rabbit and convincing mr. ncw to try it!

                                      4. Parsley-Stuffed Shrimps (page 257)

                                        The title doesn’t accurately describe this dish. It should more rightly be called Shrimps Stuffed with Bread Crumbs, Garlic, and Parsley.

                                        First, you make the stuffing: Bread crumbs and garlic toasted in olive oil until “golden brown.” She says three minutes over the “lowest possible setting.” After three minutes, I had to turn up the heat and cook it for at least another two minutes for the crumbs to reach that color. Transfer to a small bowl and add parsley and minced onion. (I used a small shallot because I halved the recipe and didn’t feel like cutting into a whole onion for half a tablespoon of minced onion.)

                                        Shell shrimps, leaving tail section, and cut a pocket in the shrimp. The shrimp I used were a bit smaller than called for—11 to 15/pound as opposed to 8 to 12/pound. My shrimp ended up more butterflied than having a pocket. Put a “generous” teaspoon of stuffing into the pocket (a bit of a PITA; the stuffing kept falling out), cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for four to eight hours (me: about five). Broil for 2 minutes on the first side, turn, and broil another one to three minutes. Two minutes on each side were perfect for my shrimp.

                                        These were just terrific. I was happy to have made only half a recipe because if I’d made the full recipe I’d have eaten all of it. They were a bit fussy, but because you can prepare them ahead of time, by the time you eat them you’ve forgotten anything that annoyed you during the prep. I can imagine piling these on a platter and serving them as an hors d'oeuvres. With plenty of napkins. Mmm-mmm good.

                                         
                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          These look great; I think I'm going to try them this weekend.

                                          1. re: JoanN

                                            Parsley-Stuffed Shrimps (page 257)

                                            Agree completely with JoanN - simple ingredients but very good. I actually wish I had cooked more. I made 8 jumbo shrimp (about 3/4 lb) and the full amount of stuffing, which was so tasty, I ended up toasting the leftovers in the oven and sprinkling more stuffing on the shrimp. Like Joan, I had to turn the heat up to toast the crumbs on the stove, and had the same difficulty with actually stuffing the pockets. I doubled the garlic and used a shallot instead of onion. They made a nice dinner tonight with a green salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette.

                                             
                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Parsley-stuffed Shrimp (p. 257)

                                              I made these last night, w/ingredients as listed, and agree w/issues raised by JoanN and Rubee: breadcrumbs browned only on a higher heat, PITA to stuff (out of force of habit, I made my "pockets" on the topside of the shrimp instead of the bottom, but doubt it made much difference) etc., but all that notwithstanding, this was delicious and very easy to prepare. Lacking JoanN's restraint, my husband and I ate a whole recipe (10 jumbo shrimp), which I served w/roasted asparagus and a spinach salad.

                                              This is very similar to a Creole Italian dish popularized by a local restaurant, and it happens to be the only thing my husband ever cooks--you spoon (much more heavily) seasoned breadcrumbs over oysters and/or shrimp and bake at high temp. That recipe is slightly fussier. We liked this one every bit as much, especially w/lots of lemon squeezed over the shrimp.

                                              A definite keeper.

                                            2. Mardi Gras Chicken (Pollo di Carnevale), p. 277

                                              I was planning to make Maria Bertuzzi’s Lemon Chicken when I discovered I had not a single lemon in the house, so “Mardi Gras Chicken” it was. I liked thi, and my husband loved it, but I knew going in I wasn’t going to be crazy about a braise so heavily featuring olives. Had I simply used all nicoise olives instead of half Italian green (very assertive ones), I think I’d have loved this as well, and if I make this again, I’d make that change.

                                              I started by removing all the skin from four thighs and four drumsticks (organic, free range) and soaking the pieces in a mixture of water and a very ordinary red wine vinegar for twenty minutes. Meanwhile, I cleaned and soaked a small amount (1/4 oz.) of fried porcini and prepped the other ingredients, mincing pancetta (2 oz.) a med. onion, a carrot, Italian parsley (I used about ¼ c.), a lg. garlic clove.

                                              Over med.- med. high heat in a large (non-reactive) skillet filmed w/olive oil, I “carefully” browned the chicken, which I’d patted dry and sprinkled w/salt and pepper, with 8 fresh sage leaves. After about 20 minutes, I removed the chicken and sage and set it aside. At this point, I deviated from the recipe and added a step, quickly sautéing about 4 oz. of quartered button mushrooms (I thought this an excellent addition, and I’d probably add even more if I made this again), and then setting them aside. I drained the fat from the pan, added the pancetta, onion, carrot, and parsley and sautéed about 10 min. (med. heat) before adding the garlic and drained porcini. After a couple more minutes of sautéing, I returned the chicken pieces to the pan, then strained the porcini soaking liquid and let it bubble until almost completely evaporated (about 10 min.). I repeated this roughly 10-minute step of gently evaporating/reducing, first with 3/4 c. wine (I used a sauvignon blanc) and then ½ c. chicken stock. (I didn’t make LRK’s stock, but used a rich chicken stock I made last weekend). Finally, I added the remaining cup of chicken stock and 1 T. tomato paste and cooked another 10 minutes until the sauce was slightly thickened. I added the olives and button mushrooms and cooked until those were heated through.

                                              This took me just under two hours to prepare, so depending on your schedule/responsibilities, it could be a weeknight meal. While the chicken cooked, I boiled a few Yukon golds, roasted some asparagus, and made a simple green salad w/sliced red onion and blue cheese crumbles as sides to serve w/the chicken.

                                              I thought the chicken was a bit overcooked (DH thought it was not), but maybe my chicken pieces were smallish and I browned longer than necessary. Overall, we were happy with the flavors in this dish: I ate around the big green olives, and we both liked the added button mushrooms. (A bonus is that if you remove the chicken skin, this is a relatively low-fat dish.)

                                               
                                               
                                               
                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                So glad for your review, nomadchowwoman. I've been eyeing this recipe. I'll be careful with the olives.

                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                  Maria Bertuzzi’s Lemon Chicken should not to be missed. Put it back on your list, it is truly delectable.

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    Oh, I definitely intend to make this. It sounds wonderful.

                                                2. Riccardo Rimondi's Chicken Cacciatora, p. 275-76.

                                                  Made this last night. Considering how full of flavor the recipe is, the ingredients-list and prep-time are not that lengthy, as long as you plan ahead enough to season and refrigerate the chicken overnight with a paste of minced garlic and rosemary, plus salt. I did NOT plan ahead quite far enough, only managing a three-hour seasoned mellowing in the refrigerator. But it was still good.

                                                  Anyway, once the 8 seasoned and skinned chicken pieces have rested in the fridge, you scrape off the seasonings (and reserve them) and brown the chicken slowly until golden on all sides. Twenty-five minutes is not considered too much time to accomplish this. Rossetto-Kasper warns to push the pieces aside occasionally to keep them from sticking. After they are nicely browned, the chicken pieces are removed, fat is poured mostly out of the skillet, and a mixture of very coarsely chopped (into one inch "triangle pieces" ) onions (2) and red sweet peppers (3) are heated in the pan until the onion colors. The chicken is then added back to the pan, along with the reserved seasoning paste, and a chopped and skinned medium fresh tomato is added (or 1/2 cup drained canned tomatoes.) A half-cup of dry white wine is "sprinkled" into the pan and all is gently simmered, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then the pan is covered and simmered for 20 more minutes. (You are instructed to turn the chicken a few times.) Taste for S & P and serve--or save and refrigerate for later.

                                                  All went as described. The result is a very tender and flavorful, full-of-veggies dish. Not overly saucy, but nice. I did add one chopped oven-roasted home-gorwn tomato from my stash in the freezer--if you want a slightly more tomato-y-flavor, which I appreciated , 2-3 tsp of tomato paste would also accomplish this.

                                                  The relatively long cooking time (a little over an hour over gentle heat ) resulted in exceptionally tender chicken. The sauce was heavy on veggies and not swimming in sauce, unlike some other cacciatore recipes I have cooked. I liked it this way. Served with roasted butternut squash with a balsamic glaze, and a beet salad with a t cucumber raita. (OK, so I'm cooking through my CSA share.)

                                                  Anyway, this was a satisfying meal on a chilly night. Not with the brightness of the Lemon Chicken, but very savory. And nice that it "mellows nicely when cooked 1 day ahead."

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                    We had this last night too. Mr. QN thought it was "fabulous", I thought it was very nice--so maybe a solid very good?

                                                    Not much to add to Goblin's excellent review except to say that I like her idea of adding a little more tomato to the dish, I followed the recipe exactly (except, I too only marinated the chicken 3 hours or so), and wished that I had used two medium tomatoes instead of the single one called for in the recipe. Also, when I added the peppers and onions to the pan, I covered the pan and sweated them for a few minutes, and I would do it that way again. Otherwise LRK's directions worked a charm.

                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                      I'm late to the party, but we tried this out a couple of nights ago too and quite thoroughly enjoyed it. We actually grew the type of red peppers specifed here this year in the garden - and I seem to have a plethora of them on hand so was excited to use some up. It was kind of cool too because I NEVER have the right peppers for COTM recipes!

                                                      I haven't been anywhere near Planning ahead" lately and so my chicken only "marinated" for about 45 minutes. I don't think this hurt the finished dish but I think if you are short on time you may want to double the amounts of garlic and rosemary. The chicken was still perfectly moist and tender.

                                                  2. Giovanna’s Wine-Basted Rabbit (Conoglio di Giovanna) p. 284
                                                    http://www.publicradio.org/columns/sp...

                                                    This was our first time cooking rabbit at home and it was not as daunting as anticipated. This recipe has minimal ingredients and takes an hour and 45 minutes to cook. I started with the best intentions to follow the recipe to the letter, but ended up chickening out.

                                                    One rubs the rabbit with garlic that is split in half and then seasons it with salt and pepper. The recipe then calls for 1 whole stick of butter (yes that’s 8 tablespoons for a dinner for two to four) to be slathered over the rabbit. I thought I would try it, but later decided to use half a stick of butter and then ended up only using 2-3 T butter. The split garlic and a sprig of rosemary (1” long) is added to the roasting pan (I used a jelly roll pan). Roast 30 minutes at 350. The pour wine and lemon juice over the rabbit, baste and cover with foil for 1 hour- basting and turning every 15 minutes. The foil is then taken off and roasted at 450 for 15 minutes until brown.
                                                    Understandably, the rabbit was not as succulent as LRK describes, but that was my own doing by omitting so much of the butter. Consequently, the taste of the garlic and rosemary was not as prevalent. Although the taste of the lemon and wine present. Surprisingly, the loin was very tender and moist, next was the front leg and least tender was the hind leg. Even though this recipe was not as succulent as it should have been, we found the recipe quite tasty and would make it again with olive oil or use all of the butter recommended.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                      Rabbit's the leanest meat there is, so I think you do need all the butter for this one.

                                                    2. Sage and Garlic Scented Bluefish, p. 263

                                                      We got a fabulous bluefish from our fish CSA yesterday. My husband filleted it and made this recipe. Absolutely delicious and very simple. Season the fish with sage and garlic, a little oil and lemon juice, S+P, refrigerate a couple of hours, then bake. That's it. Of course the caught-that-day fish helped. It was really good.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: mirage

                                                        Sounds wonderful, do you think this would work grilled rather than baked?

                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                          Well, the garlic and the sage would probably fall off.... :-)

                                                          1. re: mirage

                                                            Mash garlic and ground sage with a little salt...? Or mash all the seasonings and spread on the fish? The recipe does sound delicious though, and we can usually get fres caught bluefish at our local farmers' market.

                                                        2. re: mirage

                                                          I love sage ... somehow I've never thought of using it on fish though. Might have to try this.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            ditto your point on sage/fish LM, exactly why the recipe intrigues......anyway, somehow ended up with a wonderful sole for dinner, so bluefish will have to wait a while.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              Sage w/rainbow trout is wonderful.

                                                            2. re: mirage

                                                              Sage and Garlic Scented Bluefish, p. 263

                                                              My turn for this delicious recipe. I'd never cooked bluefish before, but it arrived in our fish CSA and after a EYB search, I settled on Rosetto Kasper's recipe. Simple to make with a flavor that is more than the sum of its parts. The 2 hour rest in the refrigerator, covered with the garlic slivers and fresh sage leaves plus a little lemon juice, EVOO, s and p, gave the finished fish an very savory and interesting flavor. I'd been warned that "Boston bluefish" (or pollock as it's also known) needs to be absolutely fresh for best flavor, and mine was caught that morning.

                                                            3. Erminia's Pan-Crisped Chicken, p. 270

                                                              This was a hit in our house. I thought it looked a little fussy on first read, what with all the turning and cans and precise timing, but I remembered my trusty foil-wrapped brick, which worked great; in the end, this was pretty easy and very delicious.

                                                              LRK suggests seasoning the chicken 18-24 hours before cooking, but mine got the treatment for only six (next time, I'll plan ahead: no doubt that longer seasoning results in an even more flavorful bird). I also doubled the amount of rub (garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, lemon juice) and I definitely recommend that as even the doubled amount was just enough for my chicken (I used four thighs and four legs, organic f-r).

                                                              In a large (13-inch) saute pan, I heated 6 T OO over med-high heat, then put the chicken in skin side down, lowered the heat to medium and cooked 2 minutes to "sear" (after the 1 min. stipulated in the recipe, not much had happened; after 2, it was beginning to sear, just barely coloring). Next, the chicken pieces are turned and snuggled into the center of the pan. (I also ground some additional S & P over the chicken at this point.) I set an aluminum tray (the one that came w/my toaster oven) over the chicken and the brick on top of that and cooked 10 minutes, then removed weight and turned the chicken. One tablespoon of lemon juice is sprinkled over the chicken, the weighted pan returned, and it cooks for another 10 minutes. Weight is removed, chicken pieces are turned and arranged skin side up. (At this point, the chicken looked very nicely browned.) I lowered the heat to medium-low and returned the weight and cooked another 2 minutes. I removed the chicken, put it on a platter, and set it aside to cool for 10-15 minutes before covering it loosely w/foil.

                                                              In the meantime, I poured the fat out of the pan, returned it to the fire, and poured in 1/2 c water and boiled that about 3 minutes, scraping all the brown bits. The result was lovely chicken "jus," which I poured into a glass measuring cup and put in the freezer for an hour or so (until the fat solidified at the top and could be scraped off).

                                                              LRK suggests a 2-hour wait between the first and second cookings. I'm not sure if there is anything magic about two hours (would one work? Four?), but as it turned out, that's how long my rest was.

                                                              Using the same pan, I added another film of olive oil and heated it over a medium flame, put the chicken pieces in skin-side down, weighted them and cooked another 5 minutes. The chicken is finished by removing the weight, turning the pieces, spooning the juices (really gelatinous globs at this point) over them, covering the pan loosely (I used foil), and cooking another 6-7 minutes.

                                                              When I removed the chicken and transferred it to a warm platter, it was a lovely mahogany color and crisped as promised. We loved it; three of us ate every bite. I served it w/baby limas I'd just gotten at the FM and brown rice (not very Italian, but a tasty combination, nonetheless), and a simple heirloom tomato and red onion salad. (I stirred the remaining chicken pan juices into the beans before serving, and that made them extra special.)

                                                              I'll definitely be making this again.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                That sounds really nice, NCW... it's something I think I can make for Sunday night dinner after marinating it overnight starting on Saturday night. So, all told the cooking/holding time takes a little more than two hours... Thanks for the tip about doubling the spice rub. I would have added the pan juices to the brown rice. LOL

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  If you actually rest the chicken for two hours, probably about 2 1/2 hours, but the only time she mentions two hours is when she says to freeze the pan juices that long, but they really took less than an hour to solidify--so you could probably get this all done in two hours or a bit less with the shorter resting time.
                                                                  And, whatever you do, don't waste those pan juices--but I know you wouldn't, Gio ; )

                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                    OK... Thanks. And don't worry. Pan juices and I are like this... (^_^)\\

                                                                2. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                  Thanks for the report, you've moved it up my list. Sounds great!

                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                    We made this for diner tonight (half recipe with chicken thighs) and followed nomadchowwoman's suggestion of doubling the anount of rub and used a brick (great idea) to press the chicken. We made half a recipe and only used about 1.75 T of oil instead of 3 T. I think might be able to do a little less next time. I rolled the dice and only foze the jus for about 45 minutes. This was enough time for the fat to congeal enough to scrape it off. This was probably not the best meal for me to make on a work night, but the results were good. Crispy, succulent chicken.

                                                                    1. re: BigSal

                                                                      Made this tonight, also a half recipe with thighs but using a full amount of the rub. A tea kettle full of water set in a cake pan for the weight.

                                                                      I used to make a similar weighted chicken using a different recipe/technique (wet buttermilk brine, low and slow heat), and I don't know that this one is better or worse, but it certainly works. And in some circumstances being able to stop in the middle and finish at the last minute is a boon, as it was in my schedule today.

                                                                  2. Braised Pork Ribs with Polenta, pg. 309 (Puntine di Maiale con Polenta)

                                                                    This didn't wow us, but I think that was partly my fault. She specifies country-style pork ribs or a beef chuck blade roast, cut into thick, rib-sized pieces. I went with the pork, but I couldn't find bone-in ribs, so I ended up using the boneless type, which were far too lean. Some bits cooked up tender, but others were very dry. The sauce is quite strong, too, and I felt it overwhelmed the pork a bit - I think beef would be better. Short ribs, maybe, or the roast she suggests (as long as I could find a nicely marbled one).

                                                                    Anyway, the recipe is pretty simple: brown the ribs in some olive oil, remove from pan. Add a large diced onion and some parsley and allow to cook until golden brown. Add garlic, a bay leaf, a pinch of cloves, allspice and cinnamon and return the meat to the pan, coating it with spices. Deglaze with a cup of red wine, reduce for 15 mins. Add some canned tomatoes with their juices and some black olives, cover and allow to simmer for an hour. Add a handful of basil and allow to simmer, covered, for another half hour or until the meat is tender.

                                                                    I made my polenta using the oven method and it turned out a lot looser than I wanted - I did a 4:1 ratio of water to grain. I would cut that back to 3:1 next time, but I actually think I would have prefered this dish with another starch entirely - maybe egg noodles or spatzle (though that's not really Emilian). Firm pieces of grilled or panfried polenta might have been nice as well. As for the meat/sauce, it was very satisfying despite the dryish pork. I would probably be more generous with the cinnamon next time. Also, I would let the dish simmer uncovered for a while, since I felt the sauce would have benefited from some reduction. The basil got lost, IMO, so I might just add that as a last minute garnish (or leave it out in favor of some extra fresh parsley at the end). I don't know that this will become part of my regular repertoire but it's a nice recipe to consider for a cold night, or if you need something that doesn't require a lot of attention close to meal time.

                                                                    1. Rabbit Dukes of Modena, p 286

                                                                      My CSA is now offering rabbits for $12 each, which is a very good price. I think I may be eating a lot of rabbit while they are available. At first I planned on doing the rabbit with fennel, after reading reports here, but when I looked through the recipes in the book, this one really caught my eye.

                                                                      You start by marinating the cut up rabbit in white wine with some wine vinegar added (I used a white wine vinegar, although the recipe did not specify). The recipe says to marinate 12 to 24 hours. I forgot to start the rabbit the night before, so it went into the marinade the morning of the day I cooked it. The day you cook, you make a simple tomato sauce of tomatoes (I used fresh ripe tomatoes, since I have a fall crop coming in, but the recipe allows for canned), onion and celery. You also make an aglione seasoning of garlic, rosemary and salt.

                                                                      Now down to business: In a saute pan, you heat some butter and olive oil. Brown the rabbit pieces in this slowly, for about 20 minutes, seasoning with black pepper. Sprinkle the aglione on the rabbit, and cook another minute. Pour in some reserved marinade, plus some fresh white wine, and bring to a simmer. Braise for 30 minutes, then remove rabbit to a platter. At this point you boil down the liquid in the pan until almost evaporated. Then add the tomato sauce and a cup of stock (the poultry/meat stock on p 66 or the quick stock on p 68 - I used the quick stock). Add some parsley, and cook covered another 20 minutes or so, turning often. Once the meat is tender, uncover and cook another 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. At this point you should stir in balsamic vinegar. Since I knew we'd be saving half for leftovers, I divided the rabbit at this point, and only added the balsamic to the portion I was serving.

                                                                      I served this with oven-roasted potatoes, from this book, and some fall salad greens. This was very good. The balsamic vinegar added at the end lent a sweet and sour flavor to the tomato sauce, and went very well with the rabbit. The potatoes were an accompaniment suggested in the "menu" note, and were also very good. Some scraps from the rabbit (the rib cage and pelvis) went into a version of the meat/poultry stock (p 66), which I made overnight in the crockpot. The next rabbit dish I make, I'll have rabbit stock to use.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                        Summer Clams with Balsamic, p. 268

                                                                        I was so looking forward to making this dish and I am sorry to say it turned out to be a bit of a bust for me. I used Littleneck clams and they were on the larger side, which is what the recipe specified. Way too briny for my taste. Next time I will use much smaller, sweeter clams mixed with mussels (also suggested in the body of the recipe).

                                                                        The recipe instructed putting the clams in a bowl with cold water and sprinkling with salt for up to 30 minutes. I did this and I am wondering if that contributed to the overly briny flavor.I drained the clams and did not further rinse them before adding them to the pan. I placed them in one by one, so no salt water made it's way from one bowl to the next.

                                                                        As I said, I didn't love this but I think it had more to do with the clams then the rest of the recipe. If this is on your list, pick smaller, more delicate flavored clams or a mix of clams and mussels and taste before you add any salt.

                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                          So jealous. Just bought my rabbit for $35 from the farmer's market. It is really the only source for fresh rabbit around my parts (other than Bristol Farms which is equally expensive).

                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                            $35! Blimey.

                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                              I know, it is ludicrous! I have to Farmer's Market quality meat prices here are through the roof across the board.

                                                                        2. Lemon Roast Veal with Rosemary pg. 294

                                                                          Soooo, nobody's sprung for a three pound bonelss loin of veal, huh? Well neither did I. I used this recipe, ( but not quite all of it) to roast a pork tenderloin the other night. And it was mighty good. So let me tell you about it.....

                                                                          One starts by making a paste of herbs (like so many othe recipes in the "Second Courses" section to "marinate" the protein). This one uses garlic, parsley and rosemary and also some pancetta. Alas, no pancetta was around so I used bacon. Then some lemon juice is added to the paste and you stuff it into deep slits cut into the meat. And like other recipes in this book, that is supposed to rest for several hours. So, a scant 45 minutes later, lovingly rubbed with olive oil, into the oven it went. (I'm not good about planning ahead.)

                                                                          Since my pork tenderloin was only about 3/4 of a pound, I knew I had to adjust the cooking time down significantly. During the roasting one is supposed to do such things as add wine, lemon juice and such things. Then after, you are supposed to make some kind of a pan sauce with added stock....Well oops, there was no wine around, so I simply drizzled the remaining lemon juice over the meat half way through and forgot about the rest of the recipe. But it was delicious....loved the herbs falling out of the slices...and oh so tender and flavorful. Into the rotation it goes!

                                                                          1. Po River Catfish (Pesce Gatto in Umido), Pg. 266

                                                                            What a nice dish this is. I'm sure other firm white fish would taste just as wonderful with this treatment because the catfish we used was delicious. The fillets are marinated anywhere from 2 to 4 hours with a crushed mixture of garlic, rosemary, freshly ground black pepper and olive oil. We had 3 fillets weighing 1 1/2 pounds, per the recipe, which I sliced in half. I felt there was just barely enough to cover the fillets...really skimpy in my estimation so next time I'll measure out 1 1/2 times the amounts called for. The fish marinated just a little over 1 hour on a plate in the fridge. I didn't wrap the plate with plastic wrap because I was afraid the marinade would cling to the wrap instead of the fish and didn't want to loose any.

                                                                            While the fish is marinating finely mince small amounts of celery leaves, celery stalk, carrot, and onion. LRK says to mince these vegetables so they look like confetti. That was fun! (I also prepared the side dish during this time) Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add all the minced vegetables along with a bay leaf. Cook this for about 3 minutes. Put the fillets into the skillet and top them with any marinade left on the plate. Sear the fish on both sides being very careful not to burn the soffritto. Now add a small amount of dry white wine (Noilly Pratt vermouth) and 1 tinned plum tomato, drained. (fresh, chopped).

                                                                            Coat the fish with this sauce and sprinkle salt over. Pile the soffritto on top if the fish, cover pan and cook till fish is firm and opaque. Serve with pan sauce poured over the fillets.

                                                                            I made the recommended side dish: Salad of Mixed Greens and Fennel on page 349. Instead of serving polenta as suggested G grilled long slices of an Italian-Swiss bread called Pajazzo a local baker has been making lately, then grated garlic over and drizzled EVOO. Lovely dinner.

                                                                            1. Herbed Seafood Grill or Pesce ai Ferri pg 254

                                                                              Here's another "oh so simple, oh soooo good" recipe. Kasper says "Do not let the lack of outdoor facilities stop you from making this simple dish." So, I used her "Grilling in a Saute Pan" method.

                                                                              The recipe calls for firm-fleshed fish fillets and she suggests several that would work. I used swordfish fillets that were about 3/4 of an inch thick. These are thinly slashed in 4 places and then a mixture/paste made from garlic, parsley and basil is rubbed on. This is supposed to marinate for 2 to 6 hours, but due to my last-minute nature, they got one hour.

                                                                              I was slightly skeptical of the basil/swordfish combo but heck, there was still basil and parsley out in the garden.....it was really quite delicious. I will most definately copy the recipe before this book goes back to the library.