Typically my husband will ask late in the afternoon, “So what’s for dinner?” If red meat happens to be the anchor of our meal, his face lights up, but if I mention that fish is on the menu his disappointment is apparent. A devoted carnivore, he adores grilled steaks and chops, savors any form of lamb, and thinks pulled pork should be at the top of the food pyramid.
This week, though, when I served roasted cod fillets topped with a hearty mélange of sautéed fennel and little red and yellow tomatoes, he changed his mind, eating this simply prepared (and I might add quite healthy!) seafood dish with gusto. The colorful fennel and tomato topping, which takes only about 20 minutes to assemble, can be prepared ahead. At serving time all that is necessary is to arrange thick-cut fish fillets in a baking dish, then spoon the garnish over them. In less than a quarter hour the fish is tender, flaky, and ready for the table.
I rarely entertain at lunch, but last week in Paris, I planned a midday get together for three friends. The guests—all thoughtful women who lead busy lives in France’s capital—rearranged their schedules to come for a tasting meal to help fine-tune a recipe for my new book, Sunday Casseroles, due out next year.
Baked chicken with fennel and tomatoes was the centerpiece of our menu. Prepared with humble chicken thighs, magically transformed into a delicious, fork-tender entrée as they slowly bake in a casserole with assertive vegetables, this main course was an instant hit with mes amies.
I sautéed herb-seasoned thighs, combined them with carrots, fennel, onions, and tomatoes, then simmered everything in stock, wine, and orange juice. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients (all of which are easy to find in your local supermarket), because once this dish is assembled, it is placed in the oven for more than an hour of unattended baking. Another bonus is that this casserole can be prepared two days ahead, and it improves in flavor with time! Continue reading
Recently at my local farmers’ market, I was selecting tomatoes when the farmer whispered to me. “Better buy plenty because they’re not going to be around too much longer!” I didn’t want to hear these words. I was hoping that the luscious red orbs that have been exceptionally sweet this season would last forever, but it was September, and I knew he was right.
I bought a bunch along with that some zucchini and yellow squash to make a Provencal dish I had been working on for the new book I am writing, Sunday Casseroles (it’s due in 2014). I’ve just started to create the recipes for this collection, and am happy to share one here. Continue reading
Is there a more quintessential summer dish than ratatouille? This Provencal mélange is prepared with a medley of the season’s most colorful and omnipresent produce. Last week I easily found everything needed for this dish at my local farmers’ market. Dark shiny eggplants, zucchini and bell peppers picked just that morning, tomatoes that were deep crimson inside and out, and bunches of fragrant basil all found their way into my straw basket. Continue reading
This recipe is a perennial favorite of students. Back in the 1990s it appeared on a winter cover of Bon Appétit and then later in my book, American Favorites. This dish has plenty going for it—you can make it ahead, it’s and all-in-one main course, and it’s inexpensive.