In anticipation of a lovely weekend, I wanted to share a Spring menu suggestion with you that worked for me recently:
* Lemon-Oregano Chicken
* Panzanella (thus my freezer stash of whole grain croutons comes into play)
If you want a little heavier side, it would also be great with a little parmesan orzo!
Gourmet April 2009
Yield: Makes 4 servings (I made 8 large chicken thighs from Ellwood's that ended up serving 6)
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
8 chicken thighs with skin (about 1 3/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used my own stock)
1 teaspoon dried oregano(I used a tbsp + of fresh oregano, MUCH better!)
Accompaniment: lemon wedges
Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in middle. (these could be done on the grill too)
Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt, then whisk together with 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pat chicken dry and coat with lemon-garlic mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter and remaining tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until foam subsides. Brown chicken in 2 batches, skin side down, until golden and crisp, 5 to 6 minutes (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer, skin side up, to a 4-sided sheet pan.
Pour off fat (and any small burnt pieces) from skillet. Add broth and remaining tablespoon lemon juice and boil until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Whisk in remaining tablespoon butter and oregano, then pour over chicken.
Roast chicken in oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
I certainly can't claim to corner the market on bread salad, but I've never made it from a recipe. This is just usually what I throw in.
5-6 c. cubed whole grain baguette/country bread
1-2 lbs super ripe tomatos (various heirlooms are fun and make it colorful)
1 c. torn basil leaves
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Toast the bread cubes up with a little olive oil until golden brown and crispy (I know purists will groan, but I like the texture, so deal with it! ;) )
Meanwhile, mix olive oil, shallots, 1/2 the torn basil and red wine vinegar. Set aside/chill. I like to do this well ahead of time, so the flavors have time to meld.
Seed tomatos and cut into bite sized chunks. Along with liking to make the vinaigrette ahead of time, I also like to slice and store the tomatos in advance. This is b/c I will salt them to bring forth their natural juices, which combines beautifully with everything else going on.
You can make well in advance, combine all ingredients right before serving!
These are great on the grill and then served drizzled w/a balsamic reduction (our friend's speciality)
Or, most of the time, I throw them on a long plate w/a few tbsp of water, cover w/a matching long plate and let them rip in the microwave for 3 minutes. Drain. Perfectly steamed, not mushy, every time. Toss w/salt, pepper, butter and serve!