Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Menu 16: A Lemon and Herb Extravaganza

If I were to choose a wine to go with the lemon and herbs in all three dishes, I might try a gewurztraminer or a riesling with a little residual sweetness to balance all the sour herbiness. What do you think would work nicely?

John’s Roasted Chicken with Herbs and Lemon

1 (3½ pound) free-range chicken
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened (in the microwave for 1 minute)
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme or rosemary
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving
Chopped parsley to garnish, optional

1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400ºF. Line a low-sided roasting pan with parchment paper. If you are using a pottery dish, there is no need to line it with parchment.
2. Remove the giblets and the neck from inside the chicken.
3. Set the chicken on its tail with the backbone facing you. Cut down along one side of the backbone from the neck to the tail. Cut down along the other side.
4. Open the chicken and split the chicken between the breasts from neck to tail. You now have two halves of a chicken, without the backbone. Remove the center breastbone if you want.
5. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, butter, parsley, salt, and thyme or rosemary. Massage the mixture all over the chicken halves, slipping some underneath the skin. Season with salt and pepper, especially the inside without the skin.
6. Set the chicken halves, skin side up, on the prepared pan and roast until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pricked, about 40 minutes. (A 4-pound chicken will take 50-55 minutes; a 5-pound chicken will take 50-60 minutes.)
7. Serve hot or warm, with lemon wedges and the optional parsley.

4-5 servings
Adapted from Carrie Brown’s The Jimtown Store Cookbook

Lemon Barley Pilaf

2¾ cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking pearl barley
1 cup de-hulled barley
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried sage
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Grated zest from 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring water and salt to a boil and stir in the barley. When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes for the quick-cooking and 25 for the de-hulled. Drain if necessary.
2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet and sauté the onion until transparent and golden, about 10 minutes. Add the drained barley, herbs, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, and toss together. Serve warm or hot.

Note: You can make the whole dish ahead of time. When it is time to serve, reheat it in the skillet and taste for seasonings, especially salt.

4 servings
Adapted from Linda Gassenheimer’s Dinner in Minutes

Indian-Style Broccoli with Spiced Yogurt

2 large heads of broccoli, broken into florets
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
5 cardamom pods, seeds removed and pods discarded
¼ teaspoon sweet smoky paprika
1 cup natural plain yogurt, medium consistency (not too thick or too thin)
Zest from 1 large lemon
Juice from 1 large lemon or less if your yogurt is pretty thin
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Blanch the broccoli in boiling salted water for 4 minutes or less, until bright green.
Steam the broccoli over boiling water until tender and bright green.
Drain in a colander.
2. Toast all the spices (except the paprika) in a hot pan for 2 minutes or until they become fragrant. Let them cool slightly. Grind them in a spice or converted coffee mill. Add the paprika to the mixture. Store any leftover spice mixture in a labeled jar to use the next time you make the dish.
3. Stir about half of the spices into the yogurt. Taste the result, adding more of the spice mixture to your taste, along with the lemon zest, juice, salt and pepper. Save a bit of the spice mixture for the garnish. The yogurt mixture improves if allowed to sit for an hour or more.
4. Place the broccoli in a serving bowl. Just before serving, pour out any accumulated water from the bottom of the bowl and then spoon part of the yogurt mixture over the top. Sprinkle with some of the reserved spice mix. Serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining yogurt mixture in a small bowl on the side.

4-5 servings
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook

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