Here’s a savory trick. You are having a holiday meal, a traditional one. Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, and something cranberry. What can you do to make that meal different? You can’t take away the gravy or the stuffing, but you can add something fresh and bright.
Offer your dinner mates a little break between first and second helping. This herb sorbet will cool the mouth, yet let it still be very much alive with the seasonal seasonings. It’s easily prepared and will surprise both palettes and brains.
Yield: serves 12
- 1 ¼ cups water
- 1 cup water
- 2 limes
- 1 egg white
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- ½ cup dry vermouth
- Salt, nutmeg, and white pepper to taste
- Some combination of the following fresh herbs to make ½ to ¼ cup total: peppermint, lemon balm, lemon thyme, dill, rosemary, tarragon, parsley, oregano, sorrel, or basic
- ½ cup champagne
Mix the sugar and water in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and cool.
Cut the zest off the limes with a zester or vegetable peeler and chop fine, the squeeze the limes into a small bowl.
In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar syrup, lime zest, lime juice, egg white, white wine, and vermouth.
Chop all the herbs finely in a blender or food processor and add to the mixtures. Mix well and place in an ice cream freezer, processing according to the manufacturer’s instruction.
To serve, spoon a small scoop into each of 12 cups and drizzle with the champagne.
This sorbet can be frozen but it will quickly lose its freshness, so it’s best to prepare and eat.
Source: Hudsons’ on the Bend, Austin, Texas
There can be no argument. The best chicken recipes in the world are French. Now, I have just insulted advocates for Italian cuisine and Chinese and every BBQ fanatic across America. I love all those other styles, but it’s just a plain fact: French recipes and techniques for chicken produce a combination of flavor and elegance that make you pause at the first bite.
If you ever have a chance to visit Paris, then be sure to tour some of the open air street markets. The markets can be small, with only twenty stands or overwhelming with over two hundred vendors tempting you step by step.
You’ll find wonder of all kinds in these markets, and along the way almost certainly a rotisserie filled with chickens scenting the market for many paces on either side. If you are lucky, you are renting a house and have a kitchen. So you can buy a fresh chicken, herbs and veggies, take it all back to your stove, and cook something grand.
A recipe? Essential Pepin has many chicken offerings but this one is Suzen’s favorite. Marrying a great chicken [from Free Bird Farm in the Hudson valley] with fresh herbs from our winter garden yields a bird that you are still picking at as you clean up the kitchen. If, if by chance, there are leftovers the next day, then you can have a great chicken sandwich: sliced or made into chicken salad. Go all out there, and make you own mayo. It turns out, it’s not that hard being French.
Jacques urges you to use fresh breadcrumbs. If you use dried ones, you’ll only need half the volume. Yes, one of the ingredients is Tabasco sauce. Yes, you’ll taste it. Yes, French chefs are flexible and inventive. No, I don’t think his grandmother ever cooked this for him.
If you do plan a trip to Paris, then the best guides to the street markets are Paris in a Basket: Markets, the Food and the People and Markets of Paris. Paul Bocuse co-authored In a Basket so it has great credibility. In a Basket can still be bought from resellers at Amazon while the newer Markets of Paris is still in print. If you love France, then both books are ones you will treasure.
Baked Chicken with Herb Crumbs from Jacque Pepin
Yield: serves 4
For the Chicken:
- 1 chicken (about 3 ½ pounds)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the Herb Crumbs:
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- dried thyme
- 2 fresh oregano sprigs or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 slices firm white bread (3 ounces), processed to crumbs in a food processor (about 1 ½ cups)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives or parsley
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Cut the wing tips off the chicken. (The wing tips, neck, and gizzard can be frozen for use in stock or soup.) Butterfly the chicken (see the sidebar).
Pull off the skin; it should come off easily except, perhaps, around the wings. Remove as much as you can.
Place the chicken flesh side up o n a large baking sheet and rub with the oil and Tabasco. Sprinkle with the salt.
For the herb crumbs, if using fresh thyme and oregano, chop the leaves in a food processor or mini-chop or with a sharp knife. Combine the bread crumbs, thyme, oregano, chives or parsley, pepper, and oil in a bowl and toss gently.
Pat the herb coating lightly over the surface of the chicken. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the crumbs are nicely browned. Remove and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut the chicken into pieces and serve. Discard the melt fast or use it to sauté potatoes.-
Source: Essential Pepin by Jacques Pepin