When I was a young cook, just getting my feet wet, I always thought things had to be fancy to prove my skill. Ina Garten has probably done more than anyone to prove that wrong. Two of tonight's recipes came from Barefoot Contessa at Home: Chicken Piccata and Herb Roasted Onions. Each of these dishes would get a five out of five stars from me, and together, they were perfect. But...there was nothing complicated. No long, crazy list of obscure ingredients. Olive oil. Lemons. Bread crumbs. Chicken. Parsley. The very humble onion. That's about it.
The Chicken Piccata picked up an extra hit of lemon from the preparation method. Remember yesterday, when I said I would reveal a slightly different way of making this dish? In the preparation of the pan sauce, you boil the four lemon halves left from squeezing the juice in the juice and white wine. It adds a distinctive and strong lemon taste. The roasted onions also have a citrusy zing, as they are doused in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, and herbs before roasting, then the remainder is added as a dressing when they come out of the oven. By cutting through the root, the wedges of onion stay together just enough to look delicate and feathery--almost flowerlike. But again, this is nothing more than squeezing some citrus and roasting a pan of vegetables. Easy, peasy.
As an add-on, I made sauteed zucchini and summer squash from James Peterson's Vegetables. This book just doesn't get enough press. Again, a simple preparation, and just five ingredients--including salt and pepper. This is the dish that got my squash-hating husband to love zucchini.
To prove what a truly unselfish person I am, I packed up the leftovers for the Husband's lunch. It wasn't easy, though. He owes me...maybe the Hope Diamond.