Grilled Chicken + Arugula and Zucchini Salad by Rattaya Nagorski

The actual title of this dish, from Curtis Stone's cookbook What's For Dinner? was Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette. I shortened the title here simply because it was just a lot of to say; even though the vinaigrette itself was equally a star along side the chicken and the salad. Besides that, this dish was quite delicious. It was healthy, tasty, and overall easy to make. 

The vinaigrette took a little bit to prep, but the instructions were really easy. I was grateful to use a few ingredients that I had sitting in the fridge already, such as the capers and the pepperoncini. The dish served four.

GATHER:

Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp coarsely chopped drained nonpareil capers
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped peperoncini
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tsp champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

CHICKEN

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 6oz each)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

SALAD

  • 5oz baby arugula (about 8 cups not packed)
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 small, thin zucchini
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

MAKE:

  1. To make the vinaigrette: In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, peperoncini, parsley, and vinegar together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 
  2. To cook the chicken: Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, or until it is seared with grill marks and shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a cutting board.
  3. To assemble the salad: In a large bowl, combine the arugula and tomatoes. Trim the ends of the zucchini. One at a time, lay the zucchini flat on a work surface and, using a vegetable peeler and working from the stem end to the blossom end, shave off long, thin ribbons until you reach the seedy center. Turn the zucchini around and repeat on the second side, then repeat on the third and fourth sides. Add the ribbons to the bowl and discard the seedy centers of the zucchini.
  4. Using your hands to avoid breaking the ribbons, gently toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut each chicken breast crosswise into thirds. Transfer a cut chicken breast to each dinner plate and heap some of the salad alongside. Drizzle the chicken and salad with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately. 

Fricasse de Pollo by Rattaya Nagorski

Fricasse de Pollo (Cuban Style Chicken Stew), by legendary Cuban cook and author Nitza Villapol, is such a hearty and tasty stew that I was ready to make again. 

Recipe retrieved from Saveur, magazine number 163, the flavor profile rooted from the use of alcaparrado, a mixture of pimiento-stuffed olives and capers. Even though I omitted the olives when I made it, I still used the capers and the stew boasted such full and delicious flavors. From the pull-apart chicken, tangy-ness from the capers, heartiness from potatoes, and sweetness from the raisins, the stew was a great full-flavored meal. 

The dish yielded 4 servings. I served it with bread.

GATHER:

  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
  • 1 3-4lb chicken, quartered (backbone discarded) (I simply bought 4 drumsticks and 4 bone-in chicken thighs)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced [I omitted, not a big fan, and saved some money]
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
  • 1/2 cup jarred alcaparrado or 1/3 cup pimiento-stuffed olives and 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted

MAKE:

  1. Toss lime and orange juices, garlic, chicken, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; chill 1 hour.
  2. Heat oil in an 8-qt saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade; pat dry using paper towels and reserve marinade. Working in batches, cook chicken, flipping once, until browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add bell pepper and onion to pan; cook until soft, 6-8 minutes. Add wine; cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan, until reduced by half, 5-7 minutes. Return chicken to pan and add reserve marinade, potatoes, alcaparrado, raisins, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until chicken and potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Stir in peas before serving.