Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Grilled Chicken With Herbs - from the 60 Minute Gourmet

Pierre Franey's long-running New York Times column, The 60-Minute Gourmet, was a treasure. This simple grilled chicken, from a column published in August of 1981, has been one of my mainstays since cutting it from the newspaper. All these years later I have made only two changes. In the original recipe, the chicken is brushed with butter just before serving. I omit the butter in favor of a drizzle of good olive oil, and add a sprinkle of minced flat-leaf parsley for a little herbal brightness. This combination of flavors really works.

Chicken breasts grilled with herbs

4 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 1 1/2 pounds or slightly more
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
Kosher salt to taste, if desired
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 Tablespoons olive oil (originally 1/4 cup hot melted butter) for serving
Minced parsley for serving      
1. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to a desired degree of heat for grilling.
 2. Cut each chicken breast down the middle in half. Cut away and discard any extraneous membranes or cartilage.
 3. Put the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a flat dish and stir to blend. Add the garlic, coriander, pepper flakes and oregano. Stir to blend.
4. Add the chicken pieces and turn them in the marinade. Cover with foil and set aside until ready to cook. (I marinate for about an hour, while making the rest of dinner.)
 5. Add the chicken pieces to the grill and cook three or four minutes on one side. Turn and cook two or three minutes on the other side. Continue cooking, turning often, for a total of about 10 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a warm serving dish. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with parsley. Serve with rice and a quickly cooked vegetable such as asparagus or corn on the cob.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cool Summer Soups

A friend asked me to do a cooking demonstration at the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market this morning. What fun! I decided to do two cool summer soups: Cucumber with yogurt and herbs, and Peach Buttermilk. Both are easy-peasy, and take advantage of what is fresh and delicious at the market right now.

Buttermilk Peach Soup

2 ½ lb ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup buttermilk (whole or low-fat, not fat-free)
2 T. lemon juice, fresh
1 T. Honey (or brown sugar)
⅛ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. salt
Fresh mint, or basil

Peel the peaches with a sharp vegetable peeler over a large bowl, then chop coarsely. Save all the peach juice.

Add the peaches to a blender jar. Add buttermilk, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, and salt. Put the top tightly on the blender jar, and set the blender to its highest setting. Process for about 3-4 minutes, or until it looks smooth. Taste and add more honey or salt if necessary. Add up to 1 cup water if the soup seems too thick. Pour into a clean pitcher with a lid, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Chill six soup bowls. To serve, stack mint or basil leaves, roll into a cigar shape, then cut into thin ribbons with a sharp knife. Pour the cold soup into the chilled bowls, and garnish with the mint.

Chilled Cucumber Soup with Yogurt and Herbs

4 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ - ½ cup good quality olive oil
⅓ cup loosely packed dill, plus 1 T. for garnishing
¼ cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 Tablespoons loosely packed tarragon leaves
2 T. sherry vinegar
1 t. salt
¼ t. white pepper

Add half of the cucumbers to a blender jar with half of the yogurt, half of the olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 shallot, and half of the herbs. Blend at high speed for 3-4 minutes, or until very smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Add the remainder of the cucumbers, yogurt, olive oil, shallot, garlic, and herbs to the blender jar, and process at high speed until smooth. Pour into bowl. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper. Taste and correct the seasonings. Pour into a clean pitcher and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Chill six soup bowls. To serve, mince once tablespoon of fresh dill. Pour the cold soup into the chilled bowls, and garnish with the dill.