The Ultimate Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Probably the best grilled cheese sandwich of my  ENTIRE life — hits all the notes: cheesy and creamy (fontina), salty (prosciutto), herby (arugula pesto), and pickle-y (pickled shallots). YUM! Truly — THE BEST!Screen Shot 2017-03-12 at 11.27.08 AM

For the Sandwich

  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced lengthwise
  • 1/3 pound prosciutto (about 10 slices)
  • 1/3 pound fontina, thinly sliced
For the pesto

  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  1. Make the pickled shallots: bring the cider, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over a medium flame. Simmer for a minute, until the sugar has dissolved, then pour the hot liquid over the shallots in a small bowl or jar so they are fully submerged. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then place in an airtight container until ready for use. This can be done up to a week before.
  2. Make the pesto: in a small food processor, pulse the pine nuts and garlic until coarsely chopped. Add the arugula, lemon juice, and salt and pulse to combine. Stream in olive oil and continue to blend until all the ingredients are finely chopped and the pesto is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary.
  3. Preheat the broiler. Place the two slices of bread crust side down on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 3-5 minutes, until beginning to crisp but not totally browned. Slather the bottom half of bread evenly with pesto and arrange the cheese slices in a single layer. Return just this slice of bread to the oven and continue to toast until the cheese has melted, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Slather the other slice of bread with the remaining pesto and arrange the pickled shallots on top, followed by the prosciutto. Sandwich the halves together.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Depending on the size of your pan and the size of the ciabatta, you may have to cut the sandwich in half. Set the sandwich top side down in the pan and weight it with a smaller skillet and/or a heavy bowl so the bread is crushed and flattened as it toasts. When the bread has browned, repeat on the other side. When finished, the panini should be browned, crisped, and flattened, and should have cheese oozing from it. Toast the remaining half (if necessary), and then cut it again to create four sandwiches.
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Szechuan Green Beans

 

Major umami — caramelized beans, low fat ground turkey, in  a super flavorful, gingery, garlic-y, spicy (up to you) sauce.

 

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4 servings

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I prefer Aleppo pepper flakes — not as searingly hot)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound green beans, ends cut off
  • 1/4 pound ground pork or ground turkey (but seriously — I added 1/3 pound).
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3 scallions, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

This goes together so quickly, so be sure to have everything prepped in advance!

  1. In small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, white pepper, pepper flakes, mustard, and water until sugar dissolves; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add beans and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp-tender and skins and light charred in spots, 5 to 8 minutes (reduce heat to medium-high if beans darken too quickly). Transfer beans to large plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add pork to now-empty skillet. Cook, breaking pork or turkey into small pieces, until no pink remains, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 15 to 20 seconds. Stir sauce to recombine and return beans to pan with sauce. Toss and cook until sauce is thickened, 5 to 10 seconds. Remove pan from heat and stir in scallions, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Serve immediately.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Oregano

Amazing flavor, quick and easy to make. Our newest crush.

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INGREDIENTS
    • 4 large or 8 small skin-on, boneless chicken thighs
    • 1 lemon
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
    • 3 sprigs oregano
    • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
    • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
    • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1/4 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
    • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
PREPARATION
    1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Very thinly slice half of lemon; discard any seeds. Cut remaining lemon half into 2 wedges. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper.
    2. Coat a large room-temperature skillet with 1 teaspoon oil. Add chicken, skin side down. Place skillet over medium heat and cook, letting skin render and brown, and pouring off excess fat to maintain a thin coating in pan, until chicken is cooked halfway through, about 10 minutes.
    3. Scatter half of lemon slices over chicken and half on bottom of skillet (the slices on top of the chicken will soften; those in the skillet will caramelize). Transfer skillet to oven, leaving chicken skin side down. Roast until chicken is cooked through, skin is crisp, and lemon slices on bottom of skillet are caramelized, 6-8 minutes.
    4. Transfer chicken pieces, skin side up, and caramelized lemon slices from bottom of skillet to a warm platter. (Leave softened lemon slices in the skillet.) Return skillet to medium heat. Add oregano sprigs, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes; cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    5. Remove skillet from heat. Add wine; cook over medium heat until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes. Add broth; cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge over and season sauce with salt, pepper, and juice from remaining lemon wedge, if desired. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons oil. Return chicken to skillet, skin side up, to rewarm. Serve topped with caramelized lemon slices.

Cider-Glazed Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

I know, I know–balsamic glazed brussel sprouts with bacon are the rage these days, but it seems like the balsamic vinegar sauce overwhelmsthe  flavor of the sprouts at times.   I found this new recipe on the Kitchn blog, and modified it a bit, and have had these for dinner the past three nights.  I know–that’s a little nuts —  but they are delicious.

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The original recipe called for baking sheets — and I would probably use them if I were making a lot.  I used an oven proof skillet (cast iron is awesome), and it worked super well.   There are two recipes below — the first one is when I make a double serving of the brussel sprouts — the second is bruised sprouts for a crowd (8 to 10 servings).  Here’s how I made them:

Cider Glazed Brussel Sprouts for 1 or 2

Heat your oven proof skillet in the oven as you’re preheating the oven at 400 degrees.  BE SURE TO USE A POTHOLDER FROM HERE TO THE END!

  • 1/2 lb. brussel sprouts, cut in half through the stem.
  • 4 – 6 fingerling potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • 3 slices of thick cut applewood smoked bacon, cut crosswise into 1″ pieces.
  • 1/4 cup apple cider.  The original recipe called for unfiltered apple cider — but I could only find that in giant containers.  I bought a bottle of Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, and it made a delicious glaze.
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (the original recipe called for brown sugar)
  • kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • aleppo pepper (optional — I love the flavor and it provides just the a tinge of heat

 

Toss the potatoes with a teaspoon or two of olive oil — and toss the potatoes into the hot skillet and bake those in the oven for 5 minutes.   Then add the bacon to the skillet — stir potatoes, and cook until bacon begins to crisp — about 5 – 6  more minutes.   Then toss the Brussel sprouts in a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste, and toss those into the skillet, stirring the contents, and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes.

Then take the skillet out of the oven — pour the glaze over the veggies and toss well.  Let the veggies sit in the glaze for a couple of minutes before serving.   Taste — and add salt, pepper and aleppo pepper to taste.  Eat ’em up!

Cider Glaze

Meanwhile put the apple cider, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup into a small pot, and simmer on the the stove top until it is reduced by half.  It won’t look thick at this point because it’s so hot.  Remove from the heat — and if it is super sticky, you’re on the right track — you can warm it before you pour it over the Brussel sprouts.

 

Here’s the original recipe from the Kitchn Blog.

Serves 8 to 10

1 pound thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 pounds Brussels sprouts, halved through the stem
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unfiltered apple cider
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Divide the bacon between 2 rimmed baking sheets and spread into an even layer. Place the baking sheets in the oven and heat to 400°F.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a large bowl or pot (something large enough to easily toss them), drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Remove the hot baking sheets from the oven. Stir the bacon. Divide the sprouts between the 2 sheets, and arrange them cut-side down into an even layer.

Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and stir the Brussels sprouts and bacon. Return the baking sheets to the oven, switching them between racks and rotating them from front to back. Roast until browned and tender, 12 to 15 minutes more, depending on the size of the Brussels sprouts. Meanwhile, make the glaze.

Heat the apple cider, brown sugar, and apple cider vinegar in a small saucepan over high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Cook until it’s reduced by about half and thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat.

When the Brussels sprouts are ready, remove the baking sheets from the oven. Turn the oven off. Combine the Brussels sprouts onto one baking sheet, drizzle the glaze over the sprouts, and stir to combine. Return the baking sheet to the turned-off oven and let sit until the Brussels sprouts absorb some of the glaze, about 2 minutes more.

 

 

Little Gem Salad with Buttermilk Vinaigrette

I am addicted to little gem lettuce — it’s kind of like a miniature romaine.  Lunardi’s, one of my favorite grocery stores, carries it, and it’s the only place I can find it except for the farmer’s market occasionally.   This is a pretty and delicious salad —  my new fave.

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Dressing
1 small shallot
1 1/2 tablespoons Moscatel vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon creme fraiche
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil

Mince the shallot, then place in a medium bowl, and add the Moscatel vinegar.  Allow to macerate for about 10 minutes.

Add the buttermilk and creme fraiche and stir.  Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Salad
1 head of little gem lettuce
2 tablespoons toasted breadcrumbs
2 leaves of basil, chopped
1 radish, thinly sliced
8 thin slices of fennel (cut the bulb in half, lengthwise, then slice into half moons)

kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper

In another bowl, combine the gem lettuce,   toasted bread crumbs, basil, radish and fennel.  Whisk the vinaigrette, then pour over the salad.  Toss to coat the salad evenly.

To plate, stack the leaves from largest to smallest, making sure to include the vegetables and  basil.

Recipe by Brian Huston

 

 

Pasta all Gricia

A 15 minute dinner from beginning to end with few ingredients — super delicious and so easy to make. Be sure to save a cup of the water you cook the pasta in. I’m straight up licking every drop off my fingers, it’s that good.

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INGREDIENTS
Kosher salt, to taste

1 pound spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

7 ounces guanciale, cut into 1½-by-½-inch strips. I can’t ever find guanciale in the third world country of Silicon Valley, so I buy 4 slices of pancetta at the deli counter and ask them to cut it in about 1/4″ slices.

½ cup white wine

1 cup grated Pecorino Romano, plus more for garnish

a pinch of red pepper flakes, or to taste

2 tablespoons minced parsley

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS
1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Season the water with salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. DON’T FORGET TO SAVE THE WATER!!!

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the guanciale and cook, turning often, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the white wine and red pepper flakes, and cook until slightly reduced, 2 minutes. Pour in the reserved 1 cup of cooking liquid and bring to a simmer.

4. Add the pasta and the grated cheese and toss to coat. Cook, stirring vigorously, until a thick, silky sauce forms, 2 to 3 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Divide the pasta between plates and garnish with the minced parsley and more grated cheese and freshly ground black pepper, and eat it up!

Lemongrass Shrimp and Pork Dumpling Soup

I changed the name.  I did.

Color me envious.  She’s beautiful (and pretty funny), and she and I like to eat the SAME STUFF! whu-hut???

If you know me at all, you know I am not a fan of the cult of celebrity in this country.  But, I’ve been stalking Chrissy Teigen’s food blog Delushious for a while and am finally ready to admit it.  And yes.  I did buy her new cookbook and plan to make most of those recipes too.  So this is  basically my friend Chrissy’s recipe,  with a few  of MY adjustments.

dumpling

I hope you’re not one of those people who look at a list ingredients and decide NOT to cook a recipe based on that.  This goes together super quickly–I think we were slurping dumplings inside of 45 minutes.

It truly is DELUSHIOUS. Easy to make and packed with big flavors.

INGREDIENTS
Serves 6

DUMPLINGS:

  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes,
  • 1/2 pound cleaned shrimp (no tails!)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 6 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely minced
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro, plus more leaves for garnish
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, minced — tough leaves removed
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large square (6 inch) egg roll wrappers
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • This is how I think you should make the dumplings:  Put the shrimp in a food processor and pulse a few times until it is well chopped — toss in the rest of the ingredients up through the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pulse until well mixed — you don’t want it to be a paste — you should see small chunks of shrimp.
  • Now, here are my friend Chrissy’s directions.  It took longer.  Finely chop the shrimp and gently combine them in a bowl with the pork, shiitakes, cilantro, garlic, the other tablespoon of fish sauce, the ginger, ½ tablespoon of the sesame oil, Sriracha, and salt until just incorporated (don’t manhandle the mixture!).
  • OK — Chrissy and I are back in sync now.  Working one or two at a time, place the egg roll wrappers on a clean surface (keep the rest of the wrappers covered with a kitchen towel). Using 1/4 cup filling, mold the filling into balls and put 1 ball in the middle of the wrapper.Brush the edges of the wrapper with water and gather up the opposite corners of the wrapper on top of the ball, sealing them in tightly — try to push out the air so they don’t become balloons and pop.  Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers.

BROTH:

  • 8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass, smashed and minced (toss the super tough leaves first (or you could put a  couple smashed coins of ginger if you can’t find lemongrass)
  • 2 Kafir lime leaves or regular lime leaves, or not
  • a good squeeze of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes (or to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil

Mix the broth ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer.

Using a spider thingie (my friend Chrissy’s words), lower the dumplings into the simmering broth, but really,  I just picked up the dumplings by their pointy little tops, and carefully put the dumplings into the simmering soup.

Cover the pot and simmer until the dumplings are cooked and the noodles look sort of see-through, 8-9 minutes. Gently lift each dumpling out of the pot into a soup bowl and cover it with broth–this time use the spider thingie. Garnish with scallions and cilantro.

Seriously.  It’s delushious!

Mozza Salad: I Could Eat this EVERY Night!

My most favorite salad in the world with the most badassical garbanzo beans I have ever had, and that says it all considering I used to gag on garbanzo beans.  SERIOUSLY! DO NOT MAKE THIS SALAD UNLESS YOU MAKE THESE GARBANZO BEANS. Okay.  OKAY!  Make the  #*!&$ salad and open a can of beans, but I’m telling ya’ — once you make these beans, you’re a gonner.img_1149

Ingredients:

1 small head iceberg lettuce (I prefer romaine and a little arugula)
1 medium head radicchio (I usually leave this out)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 pint small sweet cherry tomatoes, halved through the
stem ends
1 1/2 c. garbanzo beans (KILLUH recipe below)
4 oz. Provolone or Fontina, sliced 1/8″ thick and cut into 1/4″ wide strips
4 oz. salami, sliced 1/8″ thick and cut into 1/8″ wide strips
5 peperoncini, stems and thinly sliced

juice of 1/2 lemon  plus more to taste
dried oregano for sprinkling

Oregano Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients.  Drizzle 1/2 c. of the vinaigrette over and toss to coat well.  Squeeze the lemon juice over the salad – and again gently toss.  Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon juice or vinaigrette to taste.  Pile the salad onto plates, and sprinkle with dried oregano.  Yum! Yum! Eat ‘em up!!

Oregano Vinaigrette

In Nancy Silverton’s wonderful Mozza cookbook, she calls for 1  and 1/2 cups of olive oil in this dressing, but for my taste, that’s about a cup too much. Start with 3/4 cup of olive oil, and then whisk it in — let the dressing sit for a while. Then taste and add oil to your taste — I usually don’t add any more.

2 1/2 T. red wine vinegar
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. fresh lemon juice, plus more to taste
1 grated clove of garlic (Silverton also calls for 1 more smashed clove — but that’s too much garlic for my taste)
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground pepper
3/4 c. olive oil

Combine all ingredients except for the olive oil and whisk. Add the olive oil in a slow, thin stream, whisking constantly. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice to taste. Refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving, whisking to recombine.

THE BEST GARBANZO BEANS I HAVE EVER HAD — MAY BE EVEN BETTER THAN BACON!

CECI

Note:  Start these the night before . . . they  need to soak overnight.

1 cup dry chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 tablespons kosher salt
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled and halved
1 celery rib, halved
1 dried arbol chile (I had New Mexico chiles. Seemed to work fine!)
16 garlic cloves (I know, I know.  I think I got tired of peeling garlic after 12)
1/2 yellow onion, halved

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by 1 1/2 inches. Add the salt and the olive oil. Place the carrot, celery, chile, garlic, and onion in a double piece of cheesecloth and tie it into a closed bundle with kitchen twine. Add the bundle to the pot with the chickpeas and bring the water to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the chickpeas until they are very tender and creamy, about 2 hours, adding more water to the pot as needed but never covering them by more than an inch to an inch and a half. (Cooking them in just enough water yields richer-tasting, creamier beans than if you were to just boil them in tons of water.) (Note: the time will vary greatly depending on how long you soaked the beans and how old the beans are; the time could be anywhere from 1 hour to as long as 4.)

Turn off the heat and allow the chickpeas to cool in the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bundle. The chickpeas can be prepared to this point up to a week in advance. If you are using the chickpeas now, drain them, reserving the cooking liquid to use as a hearty, chickpea-flavored base for vegetable soup. To use later, transfer the chickpeas and the cooking liquid to an airtight container and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Bring the chickpeas to room temperature and drain them before using.

Greek-Style Lettuce Cups

I completely love anything in a butter lettuce cup.  I was feeling so loggy after the holiday food fest,that all I wanted for a month was anything that was green  This is fresh, light and sparkling delish, and made me feel clean and ready to eat again!

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Ingredients:

chicken

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I’m all over the ones at Trader Joe’s
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 lemon, zest freshly grated and juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 8 to 10 fresh butter lettuce leaves

salad

  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cherry, grape or any small tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, chopped (jarred are fine)
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped (in love with Persian cakes)
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced or chopped
  • 6 ounces feta
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced or pressed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

avocado tzatziki

  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

directions:

Heat the broiler in your oven to the highest setting with the oven rack about six inches below (I set my rack on the second-highest level.) Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Place the chicken in the dish.

Stir together the salt, pepper, dill and garlic. Cover the chicken evenly on both sides. Heat up the grill and cook until firm — about 10 minutes — or bake them in the oven. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the honey, lemon juice and lemon zest. Once the chicken is finished, brush the honey mixture on top and grill for 2 more minutes. Flip the chicken, brush the other side and cook 2 minutes move. Remove from the oven and let cool, then slice.

To assemble the lettuce cups, spread some tzatziki in the bottom of the butter leaf. Top with the greek salad, the chicken, and any extra feta.

salad

Place the shallots, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, olives and half of the feta in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, honey, garlic, dill, oregano, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together. Pour it over the vegetables and let sit under ready to use. You can store this in the fridge, even overnight, for tons of flavor! Right before serving, I use half of what is left of the feta to stir into the veg, and the other half for topping the cups. This makes for a good amount of leftovers!

avocado tzatziki

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until combined. You can leave this as chunky or as smooth as you’d like!

 

from one of my favorite bloggers — Jessica Merchant at How Sweet Eats.

The Judy Bird

So, we had a completely delicious Thanksgiving dinner this year at Mark and Tony’s. . . I mean COMPLETELY!  From the dry-brined turkey that was unbelievably tasty and the only way to ever make turkey again, to the mashed potatoes we made early and kept hot in a crockpot (thanks NPR!), and the Roasted and Goat Cheese Pear Salad, Cranberry Negronis and Manchego Parmesan Dip  — it couldn’t have been better/easier/yummier!  I don’t think I’ll ever make a turkey any other way.

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Where has this turkey been all my life?  Just think Zuni Chicken . . .

From the LA Times Food Section:

Russ Parsons’ Dry-Brined Turkey

Fondly Known as The Judy Bird (in honor of Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe)

  • One 12- to 16-pound turkey (frozen is fine)
  • Kosher salt
  • Herbs and/or spices to flavor the salt (optional — see suggestions in step 1)
  • Melted butter for basting (optional)
  1. Wash the turkey inside and out, pat it dry and weigh it. Measure 1 tablespoon of salt — we used Diamond Crystal kosher salt — into a bowl for every 5 pounds the turkey weighs (for a 15-pound turkey, you’d have 3 tablespoons). You can flavor the salt with herbs and spices if you like — Tony used smoked paprika and orange zest. Grind together with the salt in a spice grinder, small food processor, or mortar and pestle.
  2. Sprinkle the inside of the turkey lightly with salt. Place the turkey on its back and salt the breasts, concentrating the salt in the center, where the meat is thickest. You’ll probably use a little more than a tablespoon.
  3. Turn the turkey on one side and sprinkle the entire side with salt, concentrating on the thigh. You should use a little less than a tablespoon. Flip the turkey over and do the same with the opposite side.
  4. Place the turkey in a 2 1/2-gallon sealable plastic bag, press out the air and seal tightly. (If you can’t find a resealable bag this big, you can use a turkey oven bag, but be prepared for it to leak.) Place the turkey breast-side up in the refrigerator. Chill for 3 days, turning it onto its breast for the last day. Rub the salt around once a day if you remember.
  5. Remove the turkey from the bag. There should be no salt visible on the surface and the skin should be moist but not wet. Place the turkey breast-side up on a plate and refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.
  6. On the day it is to be cooked, remove the turkey from the refrigerator and leave it at room temperature at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  7. Pat it dry one last time and baste with melted butter, if using. Place the turkey breast-side down on a roasting rack in a roasting pan; put it in the oven. After 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and carefully turn the turkey over so the breast is facing up (it’s easiest to do this by hand, using kitchen towels or oven mitts).
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees, return the turkey to the oven and roast until a thermometer inserted in the deepest part of the thigh, but not touching the bone, reads 165 degrees, about 2 3/4 hours total roasting.
  9. Remove the turkey from the oven, transfer it to a warm platter or carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand at least 30 minutes to let the juices redistribute through the meat. Carve and serve.

 

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