I love to watch cooking shows. Not the contests – I hate those. Just good old-fashioned cooking shows with a pleasant host and accessible recipes. Sometimes I watch things on YouTube, especially if they are for Middle Eastern or Indian cooking. The two dishes that I made for dinner tonight came from Valerie Bertinelli. They are perfect for a summer evening and the prep time is minimal with no crazy techniques. If you are really not a fan of olives, you could substitute mushrooms. While you could serve this chicken dish with an accompanying grain, I served it with some crusty bread. Dessert was fresh cantaloupe melon and ripe strawberries. Okay, there were also some dark chocolate caramels.
The Perfect Pan
A few months ago, Frances and Matthew gave me a gift certificate and I used it to buy this Staub multi-use braising pan that I had my eye on. It’s just the right size for so many dishes when you are cooking for 4-6 people. Staub makes very high quality cookware that will last forever if you take care of it and I definitely recommend making the investment. However, a heavy-duty, deep cast-iron pan will also work for this recipe and the Lodge cookware is very budget friendly.
I mentioned in a previous post that I am not into food fads. So while kale is no longer the “IT” vegetable, I still love it. This kale salad is easy to make especially because it actually is better if made a couple of hours ahead. It’s a great foil for the chicken but would be good with any grilled or roasted meat or fish. While I pretty much stuck to the recipe, my version is ever so slightly less fussy to make. And because I didn’t make any grain with the chicken, my husband and I polished off what easily could have been a salad for 4 to six people! And if you think that you are not an anchovy fan, you MUST give this a try. You won’t see the anchovy as it melts into the garlic but it gives a wonderful briny flavor that you don’t get from anything else.
For Chicken – 4-6 servings
6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 head garlic separated into cloves and peeled (about 10 cloves)
1 medium shallot, sliced into thin rings
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Season the chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few grinds of pepper. Heat the butter and oil in a large, deep cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chicken skin-side down and cook, undisturbed, until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and turn off the heat. Add the wine, then nestle the olives, thyme, garlic and shallot around the chicken. Return the liquid to a simmer over medium-high heat, then transfer to the oven and roast uncovered until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Discard the thyme.
Serve the chicken with some of the sauce, garlic cloves and olives. The garlic has become sweet and oozy with the long cooking so don’t be afraid to eat it.
For the Kale salad – best made 1 to 2 hours ahead
2 to 4 tablespoons pine nuts that have been lightly toasted in a dry frying pan
1 bunch purple or red kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets, minced
1 large clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Torn fresh basil leaves, for garnish
- Fill a large bowl or pot with very hot tap water. Add the kale and stir for a few seconds just to slightly soften the leaves. Drain and squeeze well to dry. [If you have a salad spinner, this will make this part a snap.] If you want to get fancy, gather and stack the kale leaves on top of each other on a cutting board, roll them up and thinly slice. [This is what is known as chiffonade.]
- Mash the anchovy and garlic to a paste on a cutting board with the flat side of a knife. Transfer to a small bowl and add the lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and about 25 grinds of pepper. Whisk in the olive oil.
- Toss the kale with the Parmesan and pine nuts in a salad bowl. Add the vinaigrette to coat, tossing well to combine. Top with the basil. Taste and add more Parmesan if desired.