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Simplicity at its Lemon-Roasted Best
Jan 8th, 2011 by

Roasted potatoes go well with this dish.

Roasted potatoes go well with this dish.

My friend Jeannie gave me the most beautiful cookbook for Christmas. It’s part of Williams-Sonoma’s “Authentic Recipes of the World” series. And this one focusses on the city of Florence.

Northern italians cook simply with the freshest and best ingredients at hand. And that’s what you should do here.

So splurge: buy a good chicken, not one of those thawed out ones for 99-cents a pound. And use the best lemons you can find. There aren’t too many more ingredients to this dish but here’s the list:

Ingredients:

  • Chicken (1 whole bird, about 3 1/2 pounds, preferably free-range, neck and giblets removed).
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (2 tbsp.)
  • Lemons (2 small)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper (I always use Kosher salt; and always, always, pepper from a grinder.)

What I did:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry with paper towels.

Rub outside of chicken with olive oil, then sprinkle skin and insides with salt and pepper.

Stuff the cavity with two whole lemons.

Put the chicken in a lightly oiled shallow roasting pan and cook for about 1 1/4 hours, until golden brown. Baste occasionally.

Transfer chicken to a carving board and remove the lemons. Then tent some aluminum foil over it.

When the lemons are cool to the touch, cut them in half and squeeze the juice into the roasting pan. Throw the lemons away.

Add 3 tbspoons of water to the pan and place over high heat.

Cook for about two minutes, until reduced by 1/3.

Carve the chicken and arrange on a platter. The pour the lemon pan juices over it.

Makes about 4 servings.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

Salmon With Lemon Butter and Dill (Caesar Salad Option Too)
Feb 17th, 2010 by

Shown here is about 1 pound of salmon, enough to feed two people.

Shown here is about 1 pound of salmon, enough to feed two people.

Microwaves aren’t usually associated with gourmet foods. However, one thing they excel at is cooking fish. Salmon haddock, swordfish steaks — most any firm fillets — come out flakey and moist when cooked for a few minutes in a microwave.

It’s the quickest and easiest way to cook fish and is easy to clean up. Unlike so many other things in life that sacrifice quality for convenience — microwave popcorn, TV dinners, instant coffee, sliced bread — I believe this method makes a better fish than more labor-intensive methods such as frying or baking.

The key is getting the freshest fish possible (there should be no fishy odor).

I made a salmon Caesar salad last week using this method (and because some members of my family won’t eat fish, I also made a chicken Caesar using leftover baked chicken.)

Salmon Fillet with Lemon Butter and Dill

Ingredients/Shopping List (for salmon fillet; salmon Caesar salad recipe follows this one):

  • Salmon fillet (About 1/2 pound per person. Ask to have the skin removed when you buy it.)
  • Lemon (1 large lemon, cut into thin slices.)
  • Butter (Thin slices of unsalted butter to cover each lemon slice.)
  • Fresh dill (A few sprigs)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Waxed paper (or plastic wrap)

What I did:

Put the salmon fillet on a dinner plate.

Cover with slices of lemon.

Add thin slices of butter on each lemon slice.

Sprinkle sprigs of fresh dill over the butter, lemon and fish.

Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Cover with waxed paper (or plastic wrap), tucking the paper beneath the plate to make a loose seal.

Cook in the microwave for about four minutes. Each microwave cooks differently, so you may want to cook for two minutes at a time, checking to see if it’s done.

When you place the salmon Caesar salad on the table, the cat is sure to come running.

When you place the salmon Caesar salad on the table, the cat is sure to come running.

And if you’d like to serve this over a Caesar salad, here’s what you need:

Ingredients/Shopping List (For Caesar Salad):

  • Lettuce (I like to use a variety of arugula, red-leaf and/or Boston lettuce)
  • Tomatoes (At this time of year, the best available in this part of the country are grape tomatoes. I cut them in half.)
  • Onions (A few slices of a sweet onion, split into rings. Then split the rings into smaller pieces.)
  • Garlic (1 clove, peeled)
  • Salt (1 1/2 tsp.)
  • Olive oil (1/2 cup)
  • Red wine vinegar (3 tbsp.)
  • Dry mustard (1/4 tsp. or 1/2 tsp. of dijon)
  • Anchovies or Anchovy Paste (About 5 fillets or 1 tsp. of the paste)
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (About 3 tbsp. or more to taste)

What I did:

Wash and cut lettuce and put in a big bowl.

Add tomatoes and the onions.

Make the dressing by putting the garlic and salt in a bowl. Crush it good using a fork until garlic and salt are well blended. Add the olive oil, vinegar, mustard, anchovies and parmesan cheese. Whisk until blended and mixed thoroughly.

Add chunks of salmon (or chicken) to the salad in the bowl. Add the salad dressing, toss and serve.

Find more recipes in the Food section.

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