Skillet Caesar Salad Roast Chicken

Oops… I posted the skillet dessert before the skillet dinner. Now you know that I always plan dessert first. 😉

I loved the way this dish was originally described: “The only thing better than a roast chicken and a Caesar salad is a Caesar salad served with a chicken smothered in Caesar dressing and roasted until the garlic, anchovies, and mustard become deeply caramelized and flavorful.” Wow.

This fabulous, full-flavored roast chicken is from Bon Appétit magazine’s “Healthyish” column- one of my favorites. The recipe is by Molly Baz. Plating the carved chicken in the warm skillet kept the meal at a perfect temperature for serving.

For our family, the croutons were the absolute highlight. They brought a “grilled chicken Caesar salad” to the next level. 🙂 I made them using a pain au levain boule from a local bakery. I also incorporated additional romaine in the salad and garnished it with grated Parmesan. We ate the dish with roasted potatoes on the side.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 8 anchovies, mashed to a paste
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 T mayonnaise, divided
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
  • 1 3 ½–4-lb. whole chicken or 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb.)
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 medium shallots, unpeeled, halved lengthwise
  • 1 to 2 lemons, divided
  • 1 oz Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for garnish
  • 4 oz country-style bread, torn into 1 ½” pieces (I used 1/4-loaf Pain au Levain boule)
  • 2 to 3 romaine hearts, leaves separated, torn or sliced (I used 3 Artisan hearts)
  1. Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°, preferably on convection roast.
  2. Whisk anchovies, garlic, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and 1 ½ teaspoons pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the anchovy mayo in another small bowl.
  4. Pat chicken dry; season outside and inside all over with salt.
  5. Arrange breast side up in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and tuck wings underneath.
  6. Arrange shallots around (if using legs, nestle under and around); season with salt and pepper.
  7. Brush remaining anchovy mayo all over chicken, making sure to get it into the nooks and crannies, then brush shallots with any leftover anchovy mayo.
  8. Place chicken in oven so legs are facing toward the back (this is the hottest part of the oven and will help the legs cook before the breast dries out) and roast until some anchovy mayo and fat begin to drip onto shallots, about 15 minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and, using tongs, turn shallots to coat in drippings. Return skillet to oven and continue to roast chicken, stirring shallots once or twice, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breast registers 155°, about 35–55 minutes. (I used an oven probe.) If skin starts to get too dark on the top before chicken is done, tent area with foil, leaving the rest of the bird exposed. If using chicken legs, start checking at 30 minutes (a thermometer inserted right at the joint should register 160°).
  10. Transfer chicken and shallots to a cutting board, leaving behind any juices and fat in skillet. If shallots need more time to soften and darken, roast a bit longer without chicken before proceeding. (I did not continue to cook the shallots.) Remove the shallot peels. Reserve skillet.
  11. Reduce oven temperature to 400°.
  12. Finely grate half of zest of 1 lemon into a large bowl; cut lemon in half and squeeze in juice.
  13. Add reserved 1 tablespoon anchovy mayo, remaining 3 tablespoons mayo, and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and whisk to combine, then stir in Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
  14. Add bread to reserved skillet with fat and turn to coat. Return skillet to oven and toast bread, tossing halfway through, until golden brown and crisp, 12–15 minutes.
  15. Transfer croutons to bowl with reserved dressing. Add romaine and gently toss until lettuce is well coated. Season salad with salt and pepper.
  16. Slice remaining lemon into wedges.
  17. Carve chicken and nestle back into skillet or transfer to a platter; arrange shallots and lemon wedges around. Serve the chicken with the salad. Garnish with grated Parmesan, if desired.

Lee Brothers’ Pimento Cheese

My friend served delicious pimento cheese sandwiches recently- reminding me how much I enjoy them. 🙂 Eating them also reminded me that I wanted to try this version from Charleston, South Carolina.

The recipe is from The New York Times, contributed by the Lee Brothers. I used Cabot 3-year sharp cheddar cheese. I served it on the Fourth of July as a dip with crackers and pita chips. Alternatively, it could be used to fill about 4 sandwiches. Easy and fabulous.

Yield: about 1 1/2 cups

  • 8 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated with a food processor or hand grater (not pre-grated)
  • 1/4 cup softened cream cheese (2 ounces), pulled into several pieces
  • scant 1/2 cup jarred pimento or other roasted red peppers (from a 7-ounce jar), finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons Duke’s, Hellmann’s or other high-quality store-bought mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chile flakes
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. In a large mixing bowl, place the cheddar cheese in an even layer.
  2. Scatter the cream cheese, pimentos, mayonnaise and chile flakes over the cheddar cheese.
  3. Using a spatula, mix the pimento cheese until it is smooth and spreadable, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  4. Transfer the pimento cheese to a plastic container or bowl, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Serve as a sandwich spread or as a dip.

Note: Pimento cheese keeps in the refrigerator for 1 week.

BLT Tacos

Why have I never thought of making a BLT taco before? Genius.

This quick and delicious weeknight dinner recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I cooked the bacon at a lower temperature, increasing the cooking time. I think that this method isn’t as messy. 🙂 I added avocado slices, used corn-flour hybrid tortillas, a Serrano instead of jalapeño chile, increased the lime juice, and used chipotle Tabasco in the mayonnaise. I also warmed the tortillas with steam in the microwave.

Yield: Serves 4

  • 1 pound thick-cut bacon, about 10 slices
  • 1 pint (2 cups) grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered (mixed colors are pretty here)
  • 1 small Serrano or jalapeño chile, seeded or not, finely chopped
  • 2-3 T cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Cholula or other hot sauce, or to taste, plus more for serving (I used Chipotle Tabasco)
  • 8 (6-inch) corn or flour tortillas (I used corn-flour hybrid tortillas)
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 avocado, sliced into eighths
  • refried beans and rice, for serving, optional
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Lay bacon in an even layer in 2 9-13″ glass pyrex dishes or on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plates and let cool. (Keep rendered fat for another use.)
  2. While bacon is cooking, toss together tomatoes, chopped chile, cilantro, lime juice and a large pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Taste and add more lime juice and salt, if needed.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and hot sauce.
  4. Place tortillas in a tortilla warmer or medium bowl. Top with a damp paper towel and seal with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave for 1 minute to warm.  (Alternatively, the tortillas can be warmed on the stove top: Lay a clean kitchen towel in a medium bowl. Using the open flame from a stovetop gas burner (or in a skillet placed on an electric burner), warm and lightly char tortillas, 30 seconds to 1 minute per side. Transfer warmed tortillas to a towel-lined bowl, and cover with towel to keep warm while you finish remaining tortillas.)
  5. Serve, letting people make their own tacos by layering bacon, salsa, lettuce, spicy mayonnaise and avocado, on tortillas. Top with more hot sauce, if desired.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Spinach, Peas, & Pine Nuts

IMG_9456

Every summer we drive out to Montauk to spend the day with my friend and her family when they camp by the ocean for a week at Hither Hills State Park. She and her husband are such wonderful hosts. The amount of food they prepare is amazing!! This year I brought this flavorful pasta salad and oatmeal raisin cookies to contribute. Little did I know, her husband isn’t a pesto fan. 😦 I couldn’t believe it- so unfortunate. My friend was happy that I brought a pesto dish because she doesn’t serve it and she loves it- thank goodness! (her husband did enjoy the cookies…)

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!: Ideas and Recipes for Easy Parties that are Really Fun by Ina Garten. I reduced the amount of olive oil, mayonnaise, and Parmesan to lighten it a little. The spinach and lemon juice help to maintain the pesto’s green color. Tasty!

For the Pesto:

  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis ( pine nuts)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (I used 9 large cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 to 1 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

To Finish the Dish:

  • 3/4 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3/4 pound bow tie pasta or rigatoni
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared pesto
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1/3 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Make the Pesto: Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top. (I found that I didn’t have to add additional oil; this recipe had enough olive oil that rose to the surface to coat it with a thin film.)
  2. Cook the pasta separately in a large pot of boiling salted water for 10 to 12 minutes until each pasta is al dente. Drain and cool to room temperature.
  3. Bring the frozen peas and spinach to room temperature. I place the defrosted spinach in a colander and squeeze out the excess water using a potato masher.
  4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree the pesto, spinach, and lemon juice. Add the mayonnaise and puree. Add the pesto mixture to the cooled pasta and then add the Parmesan, peas, pignolis, salt, and pepper. Mix well, season to taste, and serve at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

Ina Garten’s Vegetable Coleslaw

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One of my good friends absolutely loves this recipe and I have had this coleslaw several times at her house. It is colorful, simple, and delicious. I served it with Slow-Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork on the Fourth of July this year; it was wonderful in the sandwich or on the side. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, via foodnetwork.com.

  • 1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 head)
  • 3/4 pound red cabbage (about 1/2 head)
  • 5 large carrots
  • 2 cups good mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s Organic)
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Fit a food processor with the thickest slicing blade. Cut the cabbages into small wedges and place horizontally into the feed tube. Process in batches.
  2. Next, fit the food processor with the grating blade. Cut the carrots in half and place in the feed tube so they are lying on their sides. Process in batches. Mix in a bowl with the sliced cabbages.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, vinegar, celery seeds, celery salt, salt, and pepper. Pour the dressing over the grated vegetables to moisten them. Serve cold or at room temperature.

One Year Ago:

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