Sheet-Pan Chicken With Potatoes, Arugula and Garlic Yogurt

IMG_0664I love a good sheet pan meal, and this one really delivers. The chicken and potatoes are coated in an awesome, spicy sauce, and everything crisps up beautifully in the oven. Plating it with arugula and herbs adds the perfect amount of freshness, and the yogurt dip and squeeze of lemon over the top is just the bit of sour and acid you need to cut through the richness. This NYT Cooking recipe is one I’m going to go back to again and again!

TW’s Tips

  • Use whatever bone-in parts of the chicken you like best. This calls for thighs and legs which I love, but if you’re a white meat eater, you can do that too.
  • If the skin isn’t crisping quite right, use the broiler at the end — just be careful, it works quickly!
  • Serve with a green vegetable — I chose broccoli.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (or use another thick hot sauce, such as sriracha)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest (from 1/2 lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed

Directions

Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.

While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.

Pan-Seared Catfish with Tomatillo-Root Vegetable Gratin

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Catfish is one of those fish that gets a bad rap because of its scary name. It makes you envision the fish, alive. No one really wants to do that. And the whiskers. Oh, the whiskers. But it’s actually a really delicious, mild white fish that’s versatile and affordable. Many recipes call for frying it, but this one pan-sears it, giving it a nice crust.

I made this for my girlfriends Shahnaz and Linnea on Monday night for my guilty pleasure — watching the Bachelor. Let’s be honest. This was risky, since Shahnaz is not a seafood eater. But I crossed my fingers and went for it. And I couldn’t have been more surprised when she liked it and even had seconds. If that’s not endorsement, I don’t know what is.

The fish itself is a really simple preparation and takes just a few minutes to cook. You  mix up a few spices — the cayenne is key for the heat — and rub it on the outside of the fish. Then you pan sear it in unsalted butter. Note: unsalted is key here. Otherwise, it will taste really salty. (Even too salty for me, the salt lover.)

The gratin is really interesting. The tomatillos add a whole new layer of flavor to the parsnips and potatoes, along with the smoky cheese. I couldn’t find smoked mozzarella so I used a mixture of smoked provolone and smoked gouda — I don’t think it melted as creamy as the mozzarella would have, but it was still good. It makes a lot, so you could probably cut it in half and still get 4-5 servings from it.

Together, it was a delicious meal. Yum!

TW’s Tips

  • The spice mixture makes a small amount — enough for a very thin layer of spice on the fish, which was perfect. But go easy and don’t put too much on the first couple fillets you season, so you have enough to cover all of them.
  • To give you an idea of how this worked for me — the 1 3/4 pounds of fish came to five fillets — but this will depend on how big the fillets are.
  • When you’re pan searing, don’t move the fish around. Let it sit there for the 3-4 minutes without moving the thing (seriously, put down the spatula). Then flip it and don’t touch it until you remove from the pan.
  • Follow the times they give you here when you’re cooking the fish. It can be hard to tell when the fish is done by just eyeing it, and overcooked fish is just bad.
  • I served this with a green salad.
  • You can make the roasted yellow pepper ahead of time, slice and store in the fridge.

Pan-Seared Catfish with Tomatillo-Root Vegetable Gratin

Ingredients

Gratin

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced yellow onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons minced jalapeños
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 pound rutabagas or parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced horizontally
  • 1 pound Yukon Gold or other yellow-fleshed potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)

Catfish

  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3/4 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 3/4 pounds catfish fillets
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Garnish: chopped roasted yellow pepper

Directions

To make gratin, in a large saute pan or skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, tomatillos, jalapeños and herbs and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine, cover and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375F. In a large, 9-by-13 inch rectangular, lightly oiled Pyrex baking dish, place a thin layer of tomatillo mixture on bottom (1/2 of total). Then place a layer of rutabagas (1/2 of the pile you have) on top, followed by a layer of cheese and then a layer of potatoes (again, half of what you’ve sliced). Repeat sequence again and top with a sprinkling of cheese.

Put in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Cover and continue cooking for 10 minutes more. Remove and let rest, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, combine paprika, herbs, cayenne, salt and black pepper in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Rub onto catfish on both sides. In a large saute pan or skillet over high heat, melt butter. Add catfish and quickly sear for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and continue searing for 2 to 3 minutes, or until done. Remove from pan and place on plates. Place squares of gratin on the side. Garnish with chopped roasted yellow pepper.

[To roast pepper, cook in 350F oven for 45 minutes on a baking sheet, turning periodically. Remove from oven and place in a brown paper bag for 8-10 minutes. Remove pepper, peel off skin, remove seeds and stems, and slice thinly.]

Sole Meuniere and Roasted Asparagus, Fingerling Potatoes, Fennel and Green Beans

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Let me start by saying I’m pretty excited about this post. This meal was absolutely delicious. And fairly easy, too! I have been craving fish lately, and this simple, classic French preparation — sole meuniere — sounded perfect. I’ve also been wanting to try some classic French dishes, so this was perfect. Meuniere refers to both the method of dredging the fish in seasoned flour before cooking, and to the sauce — a mixture of brown butter, lemon and parsley. I was a fan of both.

This is an Ina Garten recipe, and I love her simple, fresh dishes. The fish — I made the extra effort to get sole, which involved going to Whole Foods and spending more than I usually do on fish — was absolutely delicious, and worth the money. It was mild and so tender it melted in my mouth. To cook the sauce, you first brown the butter in the skillet, then add the fish and cook for just 2 minutes a side, and add lemon juice and zest. It was so full of lemony acid goodness, and a real hit of flavor. Loved it!

I accompanied the fish with roasted vegetables, also an Ina Garten — asparagus, green beans, fennel and fingerling potatoes. It was the perfect side dish. The veggies get caramelized and delicious when you roast them, and they’re full of great flavor that you just don’t get when you saute. And the Parmesan cheese at the end gets nice and crunchy on top — yum!

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TW’s Tips

  • If you must reheat the fish for leftovers, please, pretty please, do not defile it with the microwave. Heat a skillet over low heat and slowly heat it through. You’ll be glad you did. It’s oh-so-better than rubbery, overcooked fish.
  • Using unsalted butter REALLY makes a big difference here. I am the proof — I don’t normally buy unsalted, but when I used salted butter to make the first two pieces of fish last night, it was a little bit too salty. Tonight I made the remaining two pieces and stopped at the store to get unsalted butter. Big difference. Much better. (And I’m a salt fiend, so listen to me!)
  • For the veggies, I couldn’t find haricots verts, so I used regular green beans and it was just fine.

Sole Meuniere

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 fresh sole fillets, 3 to 4 ounces each
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Have 2 heat-proof dinner plates ready.

Combine the flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper in a large shallow plate. Pat the sole fillets dry with paper towels and sprinkle one side with salt.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter in a large (12-inch) saute pan over medium heat until it starts to brown. Dredge 2 sole fillets in the seasoned flour on both sides and place them in the hot butter. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 minutes. Turn carefully with a metal spatula and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. While the second side cooks, add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice to the pan. Carefully put the fish filets on the ovenproof plates and pour the sauce over them. Keep the cooked fillets warm in the oven while you repeat the process with the remaining 2 fillets. When they’re done, add the cooked fillets to the plates in the oven. Sprinkle with the parsley, salt, and pepper and serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetables: Fennel, Fingerling Potatoes, Asparagus and Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 2 small fennel bulbs, tops removed
  • 1 lb small potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 lb thin string beans (French/haricots verts)
  • 1 bunch thin asparagus, ends removed, cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Cut the fennel bulbs into 6 wedges each, cutting through the core to keep the wedges intact. Place on a sheet pan. Cut the potatoes in half length-wise and place them on the pan with the fennel. Drizzle the olive oil on the vegetables, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Toss with your hands.

Roast the vegetables for 25 – 30 minutes, until the potatoes are tender, tossing once while cooking. Toss the string beans and asparagus with the roasted vegetables and roast for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and roast for another minute or two until the cheese melts.

Chicken and Chorizo Romesco with Spanish Potatoes and Kale

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If you’ve never had Romesco sauce, you’re in for a treat. I’ve discovered it’s one of my faves. Made of roasted red peppers, garlic, roasted tomatoes, garlic, toasted bread, almonds and sherry vinegar all blended together, it’s super flavorful and nutty and garlicky, and you’ll want to put a big dollop on every bite you take of this meal. The meal, by the way, combines this delicious sauce with chicken and chorizo, and some Yukon gold potatoes smashed up with kale and manchego cheese. I love the idea of getting the kale in with the potatoes so you get your greens. And it adds some nice depth and crunch to the potatoes.

This is a Rachael Ray recipe, and unlike some of her recipes, I actually think this took about 30 minutes! Shocking. To make it even faster, pound the chicken out a little bit so it cooks through more quickly. The leftovers from this were delicious as well.

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TW’s Tips

  • On my first go-round, I toasted the garlic a bit too much — I was afraid it would taste burnt, so I redid it. Take it easy on the heat.
  • If you have leftover Romesco, slather it on some fresh baked bread or use it like a pesto on a sandwich — yum.
  • I might try a spicier sausage next time around.

Chicken and Chorizo Romesco with Spanish Potatoes and Kale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup shredded manchego
  • 1 to 3 slices stale bread, toasted, cut 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 cup pequillo peppers or roasted red peppers
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, drained, about 1 1/3 cups
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup marcona almonds (Spanish toasted almonds), substitute toasted sliced or peeled almonds if unavailable
  • 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest or lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • A handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3/4 pound Spanish chorizo, casings removed, cut into 8 pieces on the bias

Directions

Heat about 1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and slowly cook until crisp and golden brown.

Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water, bring to a boil, season with salt and cook 15 minutes or until tender, drain and return to hot pot. While the potatoes cook, simmer kale in salted water 10 minutes then drain. When you are ready to serve, mash potatoes with stock and cheese, fold in kale, adjust salt and pepper.

While potatoes come to a boil, move forward with the meal. Add to a food processor: toasted garlic (reserve the oil), some of the toasted bread in pieces, the peppers, tomatoes, sherry vinegar, almonds, and salt and pepper. Turn processor on and stream in reserved “garlic-oil” and add the rest of the toasted bread in pieces until you get a pesto-like consistency. Transfer sauce back to the skillet and keep warm over low heat.

Cut each piece of chicken into 3 chunks and season with citrus zest, smoked sweet paprika, salt, pepper and parsley. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chorizo and render it 1 minute. Remove the chorizo to a plate and then add chicken and cook 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally.

Pour a pool of sauce onto each dinner plate and top with a mound of potatoes and kale and chunks of chicken and chorizo.

Salade Nicoise: Cuisine Francaise Part Deux

Part deux of my French feast for book club (to accompany Lentils with White Wine, Herbs and Tomatoes) was a classic Nicoise Salad. Magnifique!

I searched around for recipes that caught my eye, and settled on one from Emeril Lagasse. I’m a big fan of a hearty salad, and a Nicoise salad definitely fits the bill. I love the unlikely combination of salad and potatoes, and the crunchy green beans, tuna and hard-boiled egg add a great diversity of flavor and texture. And the presentation…pretty impressive!

The dressing for the salad was a winner and adds another whole layer of flavor. You may know that a traditional Nicoise salad incorporates anchovies. Wellll, I’m not the biggest fan of anchovies (whole and looking all fishy laying on top of my food). BUT, anchovies have a great way of breaking down and melting into a sauce or dressing, adding salty, tangy flavor without the anchovy weirdness. The anchovy dressing takes advantage of that quality, combining the sharp anchovy flavor with shallots, lemon juice, capers and Dijon mustard…it’s pungent and creamy and acidic — the perfect accompaniment to the fresh flavors of the salad.

This salad can easily be a meal on its own, and would be great for a lunch with friends. Don’t forget the French wine!

TW’s Tips

  • Emeril called for cutting the potatoes into “sticks” — I like how they look better when they’re halved or quartered.
  • If I did this again, I’d skip the onion.
  • Use canned tuna in oil, not water. It makes a huge difference and tastes so much better.
  • You can also use fresh tuna and sear it, and serve it sliced on the salad.
  • The anchovy dressing uses a raw egg. Get over the weirdness and try it. So yummy.
  • I couldn’t whisk the egg well enough so I put the anchovy/garlic paste and egg in a food processor VERY briefly to break it down (don’t over-mix) and then whisked in the rest of the ingredients by hand.

Salade Nicoise 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half
  • 1/4 pound haricots verts, or small, thin green beans, ends trimmed
  • 1 can chunk tuna in oil
  • 1 large head romaine or Bibb lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • Anchovy Dressing, recipe follows
  • 1/2 pound Roma plum tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2/3 cup Nicoise olives
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion (optional)
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced or halved
  • Chopped fresh herbs, for garnish (parsley, tarragon, chive, etc.)

Directions

Boil potatoes until tender. Drain in a colander, pat dry, and set aside. Add the green beans to already boiling water and blanch until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, pat dry, and set aside.

Tear the lettuce into bite-size pieces and combine with chopped fresh parsley and tarragon. Toss with enough of the anchovy dressing just to coat. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. Toss the potatoes and green beans in 1/4 cup of the anchovy dressing. Arrange the lettuce along the side of 4 large plates (or 1 serving platter). Spoon the vegetables along the other side of the plate. Arrange the tuna over the lettuce. Arrange the tomatoes, olives, sliced red onions, and eggs on the other sides of the plates (or serving platter). Garnish with additional herbs if desired and serve immediately.

Anchovy Dressing

  • 1 anchovy fillet, drained
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a medium bowl, mash the anchovy, salt, pepper, and garlic into a paste with the back of a fork. Add the egg and whisk well to blend. (I used a food processor for this first part.) Add the lemon juice and mustard, and whisk well. Add the oils in a steady stream, whisking constantly to form a thick emulsion. Add the shallots, capers and Worcestershire, whisk well, and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 1 cup

Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Oh yeah — recipe success! I made this delicious meal — Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with BLTPs (Bacon Leek Tomato Potatoes) — for dinner Wednesday night.

The recipe is from Rachael Ray’s “Big Orange Book.” I am a BIG Rachael Ray fan. Not so much of her as a person (she can be a little much, and her cooking show is annoying), but I’m a fan of her cookbooks (I have pretty much every single one) and her easy, reliable, yummy recipes. I’m a champ at following a recipe and she makes it pretty fool-proof.

TW’s tips for this recipe:

  • I used multicolored potatoes to give the BLTPs a bit more color.
  • I omitted chicken stock, which she called for as a finishing touch to the potatoes. I didn’t want to lose the crispy finish on the potatoes and felt like it would turn the whole dish into mush. So I took that part out of the recipe below.
  • I used mango chutney because I had some in the fridge, but I’d love to hear how this is with another kind!
  • I used top notch extra sharp Cabot cheddar — it makes all the difference. The sharpness of the cheese and the sweetness of the chutney, combined with the nice brown crust on the chicken was killer!
  • I cooked this on a night when it was way too hot to use the oven. Don’t do that. I hated myself. But I was much happier once I ate this meal.

Chutney and Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with BLTPs (Bacon Leek Tomato Potatoes)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds red bliss, fingerling or baby Yukon gold potatoes, skin left on
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons prepared chutney
  • 8 slices sharp white cheddar
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Place potatoes onto a baking sheet, drizzle them with a little EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss them to evenly coat and move them to one half your baking sheet. Roast them for 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

After 20 minutes, toss the tomatoes onto the empty half of the baking sheet, drizzle them with a little EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Return the pan to the oven and continue roasting another 20 minutes, turning the veggies occasionally but keeping them separate, until the potatoes are tender and the tomatoes have burst open.

Once the tomatoes go into the oven, place the chicken breasts onto a cutting board and cut a pocket into one side of each of them using a paring knife. Spread about 1 tablespoon of chutney and place 2 slices of cheddar inside the pocket of each. Season the outside of each breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, and sear the chicken breasts in the large pan until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side.

Once the chicken is seared on both sides, transfer them to the oven to finish cooking, about 5-6 minutes (if your pan is oven-safe, just put the whole pan in the oven. Otherwise put the meat onto a baking sheet before moving it to the oven).

Once the chicken goes into the oven, place another large skillet over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. Add the bacon and cook, about 2-3 minutes. Once the bacon starts to brown, add the leeks and cook until tender, another 4-5 minutes.

When the vegetables have finished roasting, transfer them to the skillet with the bacon and leeks. Season everything with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serve up the cooked chicken breasts with a scoop of BLTPs alongside.