This is a magical recipe. A recipe so unbelievably simple you can't believe that it will be great, but it is always great. I rarely roast a chicken, but from now on, I will only do it this way. I've tried so many other recipes that require so much more work, and none of them are ever as delicious, juicy, and wonderful as this one. It is Marcella Hazan's Roast Chicken with Two Lemons. And that is literally all it is. It is a chicken, and two lemons. Okay, and some salt and pepper, but that's it. Take two lemons and poke a bunch of holes in them. Stick them in the bird, truss the opening up with toothpicks or string, rub some salt and pepper all over, stick in the oven and that's it. You turn it over once, you never baste it, you just leave it alone. Miracle chicken. When you cut into this thing, the juice practically bursts out of it.
Of course, that meant that I could turn my attention to a side dish that is perhaps a little bit more interesting than some blanched veggies with lemon and oil, which I always do. I was craving cauliflower and came upon a recipe for the Cauliflower Gratinate that they serve at Batali's Pizzeria Mozza in LA. This is a classic example of taking something healthy and making it completely, utterly unhealthy. But in such a delicious way.
I don't think the health benefits of the cauliflower can fight through the butter, oil, and cream in this recipe.
Such a well rounded meal. Well rounded in fat sources. I worked out a little extra hard this morning...recipes after the jump:
ROAST CHICKEN WITH TWO LEMONS
From Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
1 3-4 lb chicken
2 small lemons
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the chicken in cold water inside and out and dry very well with paper towels. Be sure to drain all water from the cavity of the bird. Salt and pepper inside and out very generously and rub well into the skin. Using a trussing needle or strong toothpick, poke about 20 holes in each lemon. Place the lemons in the cavity of the bird, then close the cavity with toothpicks or a trussing needle and kitchen string. Tie the legs together loosely with kitchen string, they can lie in their natural spots, this is just to prevent them falling to the side and splitting the skin. Place in a roasting pan breast side down and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, turn the chicken breast side up trying not to break the skin, and return to the oven for 30-35 minutes. Then turn the oven up to 400 degrees and roast an additional 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the bird. Figure about 20-25 minutes per lb of total cooking time. My bird was a little over 4 lbs, so I roasted for a total of about 90 minutes. Remove the bird and allow to rest 10-15 minutes before carving. Be careful if you are removing the lemons, they are still full of piping hot juice. Josh and I like to carefully cut the lemons in half and squeeze the juice onto our pieces of chicken.
From Pizzeria Mozza
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 Spanish onion, peeled, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices
10 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 head of cauliflower, stem removed, cut or pulled into 2-inch chunks
2 cups heavy cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a heavy saucepan, preferably 10 inches wide with a 3-to 4-quart capacity, over medium heat and combine olive oil, butter, onions, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook over low heat, covered, for 3 minutes.
Stir in the cauliflower, heavy cream and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 8-10 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the cooked cauliflower and put it into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
Continue to cook until the cream is reduced by half (about 3 to 5 minutes). When the cream has reached a rich, thick consistency, add to the bowl with cauliflower, stir to combine, then place into a casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes, until brown. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve.