I am still cooking from Rocco DiSpirito’s cookbook Flavor, although this will be the last night of the adventure for a while. We loved the Aromatic Cauliflower Soup, but the Bucatini with Summer Vegetables & A Tomato-Anise Broth was a complete bust. The former highlighted DiSpirito’s sour-salty-sweet-bitter flavor combination theory at it’s best; the latter was just plain weird and unpleasant. Psychologically, it was the equivalent of biting into one of those faux foods made to look like something other than what it is – meatloaf that look like a cupcake with mashed potato frosting, or candy that looks like sushi.
Tonight was my last night with Rocco, and I am pleased to say that he ends up with a 75% success rate in these parts. I made his Quick Miso Chicken, which gives a great hit of flavor with ridiculously little effort, and his Soubise, which is really nothing but a boatload of butter and onions cooked until they are sweet and silky. Cous cous was a great foil, and I would happily eat just the Soubise and cous cous as a meal…probably tomorrow for lunch. The chicken, by the way, was a favorite with fans of all ages and could easily be pounded and combined with the marinade and frozen until you need a quick dinner that doesn’t taste like a quick dinner. Thaw it in the refrigerator during the day, and in about 10 minutes you could have the chicken cooked and some cous cous made…add a salad and you’re a hero of modern day kitchen battle. (P.S. I have noticed that many of my pictures look the same – in my defense, I am not a food stylist, I cook a lot of similar-looking chicken dishes, and I can’t find the batteries for the Fuji so I am taking pictures with my phone…bear with me…).
Quick Miso Chicken
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, about 6 ounces each
- 2 tablespoons medium-colored miso
- 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
- salt and ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon vegetable, canola or corn oil
Place chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pound thin with a mallet.
in a small bowl, whisk together miso and marmalade. Sprinkle chicken breasts lightly with salt and pepper and brush all over with marinade. Let stand 30 minutes. (I put the pounded chicken and marinade in a plastic zip-top bag and left it in the fridge for several hours while I did other things. I also doubled the marinade and put half in a separate bowl for later basting).
Warm a nonstick saute pan with the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken. Cook on first side 3 minutes. Flip. Baste tops with any remaining marinade. (Kindly do NOT use marinade that the raw chicken has been sitting in, or you may not live to see my next post). Cook on second side 3 minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Flip, cook 15 seconds and transfer to plate.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound sweet (such as Vidalia or Maui) or spring onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon chopped, fresh chives (I completely and totally forgot to buy these; besides, I wouldn’t have wanted to add calories from the chives on top of all that butter)
- Ground pepper to taste
In a wide saute pan or saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add onions, season with salt and stir to coat with butter. Cover pan and, stirring occasionally, cook until softened, 20-25 minutes. Uncover and cook just until most of the liquid has evaporated. Look for the viscous texture of a marmalade. Stir in chives (or don’t) and season with salt and pepper to taste.