I cook every night. It’s what I do. We’re hungry and need food. I go to the fridge and cupboard and figure something out. I don’t spend a lot of time fretting or consternating, but I do realize that there are a lot of people who do not take this easy approach to dinner time.
Half of the battle is having a pantry full of basics (olive oils, vinegars, herbs and spices, pastas, rice, couscous, canned beans and tomatoes and more). With a fridge full of veggies from the farmers’ market and chicken breasts, steaks and chops in the freezer, it’s fairly simple to put a great meal together. I love to try new recipes and cook showstopping dishes, but on your average week night, I prefer to cook food that’s quick and easy, yet full of flavor.
Some years back we had a wonderful french bistro in town. As interesting as their menu was, I always seemed to order the same thing-roasted chicken breasts with fresh herbs. To me a well cooked chicken breast is the sign of a good kitchen. This favorite restaurant changed hands over the years and once the original owner (from France) left, it was never the same. Rather than lamenting the fact that I’d never have that dinner again, I set put to recreate it at home and it couldn’t be easier.
The main course of roasted chicken breast is really a no-brainer. You start with chicken breasts on the bone with skin. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Rub breasts with olive oil and top with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast chicken until skin is crispy, about 25 minutes. While the chicken is in the oven chop a bunch of fresh herbs-your choice.
Tonight I did chives, parsley and dill. Tarragon is also great. Use what you love. When you take the chicken out of the oven, top with fresh herbs and serve. We had this with mushrooms that I tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted alongside the chicken. A salad of arugula and toasted pine nuts tossed with extra virgin olive oil and rice wine vinegar rounded out the meal. Dinner, ready in less than 45 minutes. Buon Appetito!