Sunday, January 22, 2012
Simple, under robin's egg blue
The weekend draws to a close, and in northeastern Florida it's been a wonder. Clear, comfortable days under stunning skies as blue as diamonds wish they were, full of birdsong and hope, beckoning like sirens toward Spring. Too early!, our minds say, but to our hearts and our gardeners' hands, the lure is almost irresistible. And so at our house, we've spent much of the day simply sitting under the perfect turquoise sky, watching breezes ruffle the Spanish moss, being grateful for our blessings.
Among these, as my dear friends and readers will know, are counted simple foods. These are the foods we would all put before our families had we the time; these are the foods for which we yearn, not because they present the challenges of our favorite chefs de cuisine, but because they require little more than the investment of time, a commodity that often seems just beyond reach. As we sat tonight, watching the dusk come, listening to the last evensong of the birds, we prepared for a simple meal of roast chicken and potatoes with salad.
Roast chicken breasts are easily prepared on a two-tiered gas grill, using whole chicken breasts with skin on. Salt and pepper, and place on the topmost rack of your grill. Cover and allow to roast until the skin is golden brown the the thickest part of the meat tests done. Using those new, delightful tiny potatoes as a compliment to the roast chicken, I toss them lightly with olive oil in a small cast iron skillet and scatter with a touch of kosher salt. The skillet can be placed under the roasting chicken after half an hour or so of roasting; chicken breasts with bone and skin will need an hour or so - perhaps a bit more - to cook while the small potatoes take 30 or 45 minutes. When they're done the small potatoes need nothing more than a touch of pepper. This evening I split them and topped with a tiny spoonful of feta cheese, but no one knows your people better than you. Feta, fine cheddar, or nothing more than pepper: simple, simple. Finally, a bag of salad (yes, I did use a bag o' salad; as I've often said here, shortcuts have their places!), added fresh watermelon and croutons and supper was ready. The bright sky, which had verged on a bright robin's egg blue all day long, darkened until the silhouettes of trees and moss were backlit by shadow.
We moved indoors to simple food and company, and wish you all the joys of your own.
Posted by Angela Christensen