Saturday, October 1 – Friday, October 7, 2022
Crazy for Carrots
Saturday: Margherita Pizza with Salad
Sunday: Roasted Chicken and Croutons with Fish-Sauce Butter and Roasted Carrots with Pancetta, Hazelnuts and Parmigiano
Monday: Left-over Chicken with Callaloo (Caribbean Greens)
Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Salad
Wednesday: Carrot Tart
Friday: Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
Have you ever wondered what would happen if Bugs Bunny, the Groucho Marx of cartoon characters met Foghorn Leghorn, poultry’s version of Hercules? No? Well, maybe that’s why you don’t have a blog, and also why your relatives have never considered putting you in an asylum. But I’m sure your life has its own complications.
Anyway, back to Bugs, we cooked two carrot dishes in the last week – the first because it appealed to me and the second because, the moment Barbara saw it, she said to me, “You have to cook this.” Coming from SWMBO, this was not a statement I could afford to ignore.
You may have noticed an underlying theme in the blog – two weeks ago I cooked Sheet-Pan Mushroom Parmigiana because Beez liked the looks of it. And last week . . . what can I say? I am neither a scoundrel like Bugs Bunny who would find a way to get around SWMBO, nor a he-man like Foghorn Leghorn who could stand up to her. I am her willing slave and cooking for her makes me happy. And sharing those dishes with you kicks that up a notch.
Beez’s carrot dish was spectacular – she has an eye for great recipes – but so was the other (Beez told me it was going on the Thanksgiving menu). So, which to feature in this blog? You’re going to get the Thanksgiving one because it goes with another spectacular dish you need to cook – Roasted Chicken with Fish-Sauce Butter. SWMBO tells me that I should not use the term fish-sauce in the menu title. But look, fish-sauce is one of the great umami heighteners in the world. You could use Worcestershire, if you wish, but if you look at its ingredients, you will see they’re quite fishy as well. So, get yourself a nice bottle of fish-sauce and use it liberally to deepen the flavor of meats, stews and rice. You don’t have to mention it to a soul.
Note: This method of roasting chicken creates a crispy, golden and edible skin – the holy grail of chicken roasters.
ROASTED CHICKEN WITH FISH-SAUCE BUTTER
(adapted from NYT “Cooking Section”, September 25, 2022
Timing: One Hour
Ingredients: Serves 4
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
4 cups of bread, crusts removed, torn into bite-sized pieces – we used a country boule from Giant Eagle and did not remove the crust
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons cold butter in one piece
Cilantro leaves with tender stems, for serving
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper (the fish sauce butter will add a lot of salt)
Tear bread into bite-sized pieces
The Chicken and Bread:
Arrange chicken skin-side up on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil over the chicken skin, coating evenly.
Roast until chicken is light gold and sheet pan is pooling with hot, rendered chicken fat – 20-25 minutes
Remove sheet pan from oven, scatter bread around the chicken and toss gently to coat in the chicken fat – if you’ve removed the fat before cooking, you might have to toss with a bit more olive oil.
Return pan to oven and roast until the chicken is golden, crispy and sizzling – about 15 minutes.
While the chicken roasts, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan or stirring, until bubbling vigorously and reduce by about half – this will take 3 minutes or so. Now turn off the heat and add the butter, constantly swirling or stirring, until all has melted.
Scatter the cilantro (or parsley) over the chicken and bread and spoon some of the fish-sauce butter over each thigh, reserving some to add to each plate for dipping.
ROASTED CARROTS WITH PANCETTA, HAZELNUTS AND PARMIGIANO
(adapted from WSJ “Side Dish Season”)
Timing: 45 minutes
Ingredients: Serves 4-6
1 ½ pounds medium carrots with green tops, if possible
4 ounces pancetta, finely diced (we used jamon – you could use prosciutto as well, but pancetta is best)
1 shallot, finely diced
½ cup of hazelnuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, finely grated (we used ½ clove)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish – you can use some of the carrot top leaves for garnish instead
Finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for serving
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Remove tops about ½” from top of root and set tops aside in glass of water if using for garnish
Scrub the carrots clean and halve lengthwise, then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet or roast pan. Toss carrots with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Dice pancetta (or jamon or prosciutto)
Measure out butter
Roast carrots in oven, turning three or four times until soft and browned (about 30 minutes or a bit more)
While carrots are roasting, melt butter in a skillet over medium-low and then sauté the pancetta and shallots for about 6 minutes. Now add the hazelnuts and garlic and continue cooking until buttery and golden – just a few minutes more.
Remove carrots from oven and let cool slightly. Add vinegar, pancetta-hazelnut mixture, parsley and some of the leafy carrot tops and toss to combine.
Serve in roasting pan or on a platter after topping generously with Parmigiano and some more carrot tops or parsley and ground black pepper.