Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dinner with Matt Lauer

Last week I took my son to the dentist. While they were cleaning and flossing and answering his questions about plaque (the preschool took a trip to the dentist just a month ago, and since then my son has declared that instead of a marine biologist, he wants to be a dentist) I was perusing all the magazines I read only because my health care providers have subscriptions. Ladies Home Journal. Self. People. OK, mostly People. Because I have no idea who is breaking up with who, or shopping in their underwear, unless I get some People time.

Usually I do not find menu inspiration in People. In fact, the last recipe I clipped from a magazine was a quick cheesecake in an ad for Philly Cream Cheese, which I made with organic cream cheese just to make myself feel better about it. (Not that good: it also called for Cool Whip, for which there is no foodsource in nature to match.)

But this issue had a recipe that no lesser than Mr. Matt Lauer claimed as his favorite. This made me take notice. When I left home to work I watched the Today show every morning over coffee, and I know that Mr. Matt Lauer is right up there with the President when it comes to being feted with food. I mean, for how many years now have we gotten to guess "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" (I just looked it up: this will be the 10th; he has circled the globe nine times.)  And all those places probably served him three squares, with, plenty of tasties in between (worms, not so great; fried crickets, ok). Not to mention the meals that Mr. Matt Lauer eats out in real life (the man lives in New York)? Or dishes served up by famous chefs on the Today Show set?

My point is, he has a lot to choose from. This must be really something. I ripped it right out of the magazine. (April 12 issue, page 113. Sorry, Dr. Woodside.) Chicken Marbella, a Silver Palate classic.

The next day, my brother in law, who is also called Matt, was coming to town. Too perfect. I went down to the Home Farm Store and bought 5 pounds of assorted chicken parts, all fresh, raised on their farm right here. I got their home grown garlic and tossed it all about with Sterling Vineyard's organic Chardonnay, and a jar of Spanish green olives.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. I picked up a bag of Ayreshire Farms arugula, an avocado, tiny fingerling potatoes and fennel. While the chicken cooked, we took a glass of the leftover wine to the garden and picked the first asparagus, so fresh much of it never even made it to the pan. Try this at home.

Chicken Marbella
adapted from Silver Palate Cookbook

1 whole chicken, 5 lbs., cut into 8-10 pieces
1/2 head of garlic, peeled and pureed
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
coarse salt
ground pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup pitted prunes
1/4 cup pitted green olives
1/4 cup capers with a bit of juice
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup brown sugar (here is where I adapted: the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I couldn't do it to all this fine chicken. Turns out, 1/4 was perfect.)
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped

Combine chicken, garlic, oregan, salt, pepper, vinegar, olive oil. prunes, olives, capers and ay leaves in a large bowl. Cover bowl and marinate in refridgerator over night.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken in large, shallow baking pan and spoon marinade over it evenly.

Pour white wine over the chicken and sprinkle with brown sugar.

Bake for 50-60 minutes, basting frequently with pan juices.

Transfer chicken, prunes, olives and capers to serving platters with a slotted spoon. Moisten with pan juices and sprinkle with parsley.


Grapefruit and Fennel Salad with Wasabi dressing
adapted from Su-Mei-Yu

1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon minced shallot
2 teapooons finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon wasabi paste

Large ruby grapefruit
1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly on a mandoline
1 avocado, sliced thin
6 cups of arugula

In a small bowl combine lemon juice and zest with shallot and ginger and wasabi paste and season with salt.

Using a sharp knife, peel the grapefruit, removing all the bitter white pith. Working over a large serving bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the sections. Layer grapefruit, fennel, avocado and arugula on a serving plate and drizzle with the dressing. Toss gently before serving.


1 comment:

  1. I am reminded the last time I ate chicken marbella, from silver palate, didn't really need to eat much the next day. a truly satisfying dish, must be all the salt and savory swimming together.