Chicken Marbella

This may be the best chicken you ever eat! This recipe is a crowd pleaser, and perfect for picnics because it tastes best at room temperature. The recipe serves 12, but it’s easy to halve or even quarter. It keeps well, so there is no harm in making the full recipe and enjoying leftovers all week long.

pre-oven

pre-oven

It’s important to marinate the chicken at least overnight, and up to 48 hours. This step tenderizes the chicken and infuses it with flavor. When you’re ready to bake, just sprinkle it with brown sugar and pour white wine on top. I typically cut the brown sugar in half, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Capers and olives balance the sweetness of the brown sugar and dried prunes. I substitute Kalamata olives because they’re my favorite, but really any good olive will do.

it's great for guests because all the work is done in advance

it’s great for guests because all the work is done in advance

This dish is beautiful and smells mouth-watering as it comes out of the oven. Sprinkling some fresh parsley over the chicken after baking adds some freshness and brightens up the other flavors. I typically serve this with rice just so I can make the most of the sauce. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

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Chicken Marbella via Epicurious

Silver Palate Cookbook

Smoky Beans and Greens

This dish is a great way to say goodbye to winter. It’s simple and healthy, but almost achieves the heartiness of a rich winter stew. The trick is in the smoked paprika—a couple of teaspoons bring a complex smoky flavor to the whole pot. I add spicy Italian chicken sausage while I’m sautéing the onions, which is delicious but entirely optional. Kale, cannellini beans, and tomatoes are a common combination in Italian cuisine, and they rarely disappoint. This recipe is no exception!

flavor-filled ingredients

flavor-filled ingredients

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To make this vegan, simply leave out/substitute the cheese. To ramp up the flavor, add extra garlic, red pepper flakes, and use fire-roasted tomatoes. Good on its own, this recipe can also handle a fair amount of improvisation—so if you come up with a brilliant twist, please share!

pictured here with a quinoa corn muffin

pictured here with a quinoa corn and cheddar muffin

Smoky Beans and Greens via Epicurious

Bon Appétit            November 2009

Cod Mare Chiaro

This delightful dish was my first experience cooking cod. Cod is a white, flaky fish that can hold up to frying, but  also turns out beautifully in this roasted recipe. Technically this dish takes about 45 minutes to prepare, but all of the work really happens in the first 20 minutes, while the potatoes are roasting.

roast potatoes and saute the vegetables at the same time

roast potatoes and saute the vegetables at the same time

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Since it’s winter and tomatoes aren’t their best, I purchased a colorful assortment of cherry tomatoes, which are still a bit sweet. They were small enough that I only needed to slice them in half rather than chop them, and the mix of red, yellow, and orange tomatoes was stunning. The flavor combinations are undeniably Italian—oregano and basil, olives, capers, and tomatoes, garlic and olive oil. There is nothing surprising about the recipe, but it’s pleasing and healthy in that good-fats, Mediterranean-diet sort of way. I added a side of sautéed kale just for something green, but this could easily be a one-pot meal.

add cod and pan sauce to roasting dish

add cod and pan sauce to roasting dish

oh, the vibrant green of kale

oh, the vibrant green of kale

There are no tricks—it’s fast and easy to prepare. In the summer with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden I bet it would be salivatingly delicious. Even in February, this recipe is a reminder that a few good ingredients can result in a satisfying, memorable meal.

mangia!

mangia!

Cod Mare Chiaro via Food 52

By Giulia Melucci            July 2009

Quick Italian Chicken Piccata

There’s something about February that makes me want to hibernate. The pleasure I get from dressing in warm, bulky sweaters and indulging in hearty stews has begun to wear off. All I know is that my hands are cold and the calendar has months to go before May. I must not be the only person who feels this way, so with the assumption that some of you may be wrapped in blankets contemplating Spring I’ve decided to make February a month of fast & simple recipes.

pound flat and season, then brown

pound flat and season, then brown

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I chose chicken piccata because I’ve never made it before and I love the combination of tangy lemon and salty capers. It’s perfect for a quick dinner because the thin-cut chicken cutlets cook in no time. You can use thinly sliced cutlets or you can pound your chicken breasts until they are about ½ inch thick. I chose to do the latter, placing the breasts between two sheets of parchment and pounding them with a rolling pin. I’m confident that this is not the traditional way, although it’s not the oddest method out there either. Season your cutlets before you brown them to ensure they have some flavor. I kept mine closer to ¾ of an inch, so I increased the cooking time to 4 minutes per side. Tenting the cooked chicken under foil keeps them warm and juicy.

capers

capers

The single tablespoon of butter adds a nice creaminess to the sauce, but you can use olive oil if you’re avoiding dairy. My only deviation from the recipe was not to rinse the capers. I drained them and left them whole. They would certainly be milder if they are rinsed first, but I enjoyed them as-is and it made the recipe even easier.

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I served this with lots of steamed broccoli, although if you truly love capers you can try this sauteed kale with garlic, shallots, and capers recipe. This side dish is part of my regular rotation, but the broccoli is simpler and this month that’s what I’m all about!

Quick Italian Chicken Piccata via Fine Cooking

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