Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bistro Fare

I adore goat cheese and roasted chicken breasts, and this recipe not only combines the two, it melds them into a creamy, juicy and highly-flavored meal. Inspired by a recipe from Ina Garten, I stuff a round slice of goat cheese under the fat on the breast, replace the skin, then top it with a paste made from salt and garlic. The goat cheese will melt slightly and the skin will crisp beautifully. Crunchy, salty, creamy, and flavorful....a perfect combination!

Remember the fat left over from the roasted duck legs? Tonight I will use it to fry pan-smashed potatoes, which are small, white new potatoes that have been boiled until soft, then smashed flat in a pan and gently fried in fat. Olive oil works fine, but the duck fat will elevate this side dish into something really special. I heard an expression somewhere and it is so true: Fat is where the flavor is!

My husband requested something light, I'm not sure if this fits the bill...perhaps if you consider the color.

Two helpful hints:

1. Before I knew this, the scent of garlic would linger on my fingers no matter what I tried. When you are done chopping the garlic, run your fingers over side of the stainless steel blade (NOT the sharp edge) of the knife under hot, running water and it will erase any smell of garlic instantly!

2. In order to finish a plate with professional looking parsley, after chopping it finely, place it in a paper towel and squeeze the moisture out. The result is beautiful, flaky parsley, just like at a restaurant.

Chicken Breasts with Goat Cheese

3-4 large chicken breasts with a good covering of skin
1 slice of goat cheese per breast about 1/4-1/2 inch thick
2 cloves garlic
1 t salt
handful of minced flat-leaved parsley

Preheat oven to 400°.

Carefully run fingers under skin and lift to create pocket. Slide in goat cheese and replace skin over, using a toothpick to secure if necessary. Finely chop the garlic, then using the side of a chef's knife (the wide kind), smash 1 t of salt into it, back and forth, until a paste has been created. Mix the garlic/salt paste with the parsley and spread on top of the chicken breasts. Drizzle with oil and bake for 45 minutes or until the juices run clear.

Smashed Pan Fried Potatoes

10-12 small fingerling or new white potatoes
2-3 T duck fat or olive oil
salt and pepper
minced flat-leaf parsley

Boil whole potatoes in hot salted water for 10-15 minutes or until can be easily pierced with a knife, but are still holding their shape. Drain in a colander. Heat fat in a heavy skillet (I prefer cast-iron) until hot. Carefully place potatoes in fat and smash with a heavy spatula or fork until quite flattened. Salt and pepper, and fry on each side for 5 minutes, or until brown and crispy. Remove to serving dish and sprinkle on chopped parsley.


Liz Likes said...

Your blog site is terrific! I can't wait to try the recipes - I know they will be delicious. Thank you,
Elizabeth :)

Alison said...

Why thank you!