From Faith Middleton: This is insanely delicious, I thought, taking my third bite of Giada's chicken cacciatore. There are a few steps involved, but not too many, and they are worth the time it takes because each step layers flavor.
Without a doubt, this is the richest and best cacciatore I have ever had, and it's easily tweaked if you're not a caper fan, or you need skinless, boneless chicken. The recipe can be doubled, tripled, depending on the size of your party, and will benefit from being made ahead, allowing the flavors to become even more powerful. (And allowing you to enjoy the game.)
I have gluten-free friends so I skipped the flour dredging altogether, and the chicken browned beautifully anyway. Then I served the cacciatore over a terrific brown-rice pasta that is closest to the real thing, made by Jovial.
HOW I MAKE IT FASTER
There's no reason this dish couldn't become a weeknight meal by adding some Swanson's chicken stock, garlic, peppers, capers, Kalamata olives and onions to a jarred pasta sauce. I make twice what I need and freeze some for the following week.
Enjoy Giada's fantastic creation!
Fried Deviled Eggs
(From Southern Fried by James Villas)
These melt in your mouth—nicely seasoned traditional deviled eggs, dipped in bread crumbs, a little egg and flour, then fried in peanut oil to give them a crispy exterior.
1 dozen large hard-boiled eggs
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Peanut oil for deep frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup fine bread crumbs (Faith uses Panko)
- Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise and place the yolks in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise, mustard, chives, salt, and pepper. Mash mixture with a wooden spoon until it's well blended and smooth. Spoon the yolk mixture into the empty egg whites and set aside.
- In a deep fryer or cast iron skillet, heat about two inches of oil until it registers 350° degrees on a deep-fat thermometer.
- Dredge the stuffed eggs very lightly in the flour, dip into the beaten egg, and dredge very lightly in the bread crumbs. Using a slotted spoon, lower the eggs in batches into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, turning once, about 3 or 4 minutes, and drain on paper towels. Please be sure to serve them hot.
Skillet Parmesan Turkey Hash
From Faith Middleton: He makes fried deviled eggs. Skillet steaks with chive butter. Trout drizzled with bacon cream sauce. And classy butter-fried oysters. Welcome to the fearless world of James Villas, author of Southern Fried.
Jim has become a regular on The Food Schmooze. (What can you do? He keeps writing books, seventeen of them.) A transplanted Southerner, Villas cooks and writes in East Hampton on The East End of Long Island, where he throws a mean cocktail party from time to time.
I first fell for Jim years ago when I interviewed him at Wolffer Vineyard on The East End. Explaining he was a long-time listener, he brought me a batch of his homemade biscuits, and those hefty beauties pretty much sealed the deal. As we sat around swapping stories, I learned that Jim had one of the best waist-expanding jobs in America; he was food and wine editor of Town & Country magazine for 27 years, an eternity in national publishing. (Perhaps he plied everyone with biscuits; I don't know.)
What I know is that every time Jim comes on the show, my Southern friends start calling. Southerners have an honorable food tradition tied to memory. I feel as if I know so many of their relatives, though we have never met; a southern recipe often represents aunt Ida or Uncle John. There is a bit of the rebel hiding in Mr. Villas, I suspect; only a rebel would create Southern Fried in a time of hysteria over trans fats. But he's on to something, if you ask me. There is deep comfort in good Southern cooking, and these days we can all use some of that.
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 medium onion, minced
½ small green bell pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups finely diced cooked chicken
2 cups cooked mashed potatoes
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley leaves
¼ teaspoon minced fresh tarragon leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat the bacon grease over moderate heat, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and stir till softened, about 8 minutes.
- Add the chicken and potatoes and stir for 5 minutes longer. Add the cheese, parsley, tarragon, and salt and pepper and stir till well blended.
- Using a heavy spatula, press the mixture down and let it cook till a brown crust forms on the bottom, about 10 minutes.
- Using two heavy spatulas, carefully flip the hash over in the skillet and cook till the other side is crusted, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Slide the hash onto a plate, cut into 4 portions, and serve immediately.
Publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from “Southern Fried” by James Villas. 2013.
Spicy Red Grape Salsa
Put this quick, easy salsa on chicken, pork, or fish. We discovered it in the October/November issue of Fine Cooking magazine, and can assure you it's very good. Ten minutes of work, tops. The magazine's staffer Ronne Day says: "Coarsely chop seedless red grapes. (Faith buys organic when it comes to grapes.) Toss with chopped sweet onion, minced jalapeno, finely grated lime zest, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and salt."
Products we talked about:
- James Villas - author of Southern Fried.
- Chris Prosperi - senior contributor and chef/owner, Metro Bis, Simsbury