A highly spiced mixture gives deep flavor to this dish, which comes together very easily (toasting the seeds before grinding intensifies their flavor). The yogurt sauce delivers the perfect tangy balance.
For the wet rub:
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 12 allspice berries or 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoonVietnamese cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, plus more for drizzling
- 2 tablespoons water
For the pan:
- 2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs, each cut into four pieces
- 1 medium head cauliflower, between 2 and 3 pounds, cut into florets
- 1 large sweet onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
For the yogurt sauce:
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
Make the wet rub: Heat a small sauté pan and then toast the peppercorns, coriander, and cumin seeds, and allspice berries, if using, until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a spice or coffee bean grinder, pulse to a powder, then place in a small bowl with the rest of the spices and salt; mix well. Add the olive oil, vinegar, and water, and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
Preheat your oven to 425°F. Generously brush olive oil on a rimmed sheet pan. Arrange the chicken, cauliflower, and onions on the pan and brush liberally with the wet rub. Roast for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, turning the chicken and vegetables after 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the yogurt sauce by whisking all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Serve the chicken and vegetables topped with pan juices as well as generous dollops of the yogurt sauce.
Yields 4 to 6 servings
A purée of red peppers and onions makes a sweet accompaniment that won’t overpower the taste of the salmon. Coulis leftovers make a great sandwich spread and dip for crusty bread.
- 2 large red bell peppers
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use, plus more for drizzling
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar, plus more to taste
- Kosher or sea salt to taste, plus more for the salmon
- 1-1/2 to 2-pound salmon filet, skin on
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few springs of fresh thyme, chopped
Turn on your oven to broil. Halve the peppers and remove the stems and ribs. Peel the onion and cut it into 4 thick slices. Brush a tablespoon of olive oil on a rimmed sheet pan. Place the onion slices on the sheet pan and top each one with a pepper half (this allows the onions to cook without burning). Broil until the pepper skins have blistered and blackened, about 10 minutes. Place the sheet pan on a heat-safe mat and cover the bell peppers with a domed lid for 10 minutes; this makes it easier to peel off the charred skin. Peel when cool.
Place the peeled peppers in your food processor or blender along with the onions, all the pan juices, a tablespoon of olive oil, and the vinegar. Process until very smooth, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Turn your oven to 350°F. Place a piece of parchment paper on the same sheet pan (no need to wash it) and brush on another tablespoon of olive oil. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the parchment, and brush with the final tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle on just a pinch of salt, sone black pepper, and the thyme, and bake until the top of the filet feels firm to the touch, about 15 minutes, depending on thickness.
Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice the salmon into 4 portions. Place a pool of the pepper coulis on each of 4 dinner plates and top each with a salmon serving and a drizzle of olive oil. Pass the rest of the coulis separately.
Yields 4 servings
This take on a quesadilla makes a festive presentation for brunch, and you can customize it with ingredients you love best.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 bell pepper, any color, seeded and finely diced
- 1 chile pepper, such as a poblano or a jalapeño, seeded and finely diced
- 6 eggs
- 4 corn or whole-wheat tortillas
- 1-1/2 cups grated Manchego, Monterey Jack, or cheddar cheese, or a combination
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 avocado, cut into thin slices
- Your favorite salsa
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add two tablespoons of olive oil, the onions, and peppers. Sauté until the onions soften and turn a light brown. Whisk the eggs and add them to the pan; cook to a soft scramble.
Heat a griddle over medium heat. When hot, drizzle on the remaining olive oil. Place two of the tortillas side by side on the griddle and layer on the ingredients, in this order, divided between the two: half of the cheese, the scrambled eggs, beans, avocado slices, and then the rest of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas and press down gently with a large spatula or cake lifter (see Quick Kitchen Nugget in Newsletter #154).
When the bottoms of the tortillas brown and the bottom layer of cheese has melted, flip them and continue cooking until the other cheese layer has melted. Transfer the quesadillas back to your cutting board and cut them into quarters. Serve with salsa as desired.
Yields 4 servings
As my team knows, I love pistachio anything. And this version of pesto has earned a place in my repertoire. While my wife Meghan and I enjoy it on skin-on chicken thighs or breasts, it can be used on boneless skinless chicken pieces (or whole birds) as well. Leftovers are amazing on bruschetta, on sandwiches, or stirred into pasta.
For the pesto:
- 1/4 cup salted pistachios, shelled
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and spun dry
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
For the chicken:
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 325°F. Make the pistachio pesto: Place the pistachios in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes to lightly toast them. Let cool completely.
In the bowl of a small food processor or a blender jar, combine the toasted pistachios, basil, cheese, garlic, and lemon juice. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the red pepper flakes, if using. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil until the mixture is emulsified, but still retains some texture. Taste, adding more lemon juice, if desired. (If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, but the color and flavors will be brightest if freshly made.)
Increase the oven heat to 380°F if roasting the chicken immediately. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper or foil and top with a wire rack. Gently lift the skin on the chicken thighs or breasts and push about a spoonful of the pistachio pesto under the skin. Massage with your fingertips to distribute the pesto evenly. Brush the skin on each chicken piece with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Arrange skin side up on the wire rack over the baking sheet.
Roast the chicken for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is nicely browned. The internal temperature when read on a meat thermometer should be 165°F. As a final step, for even crispier skin, set the oven to broil and broil for 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serves 4 to 6