Tag Archives: tarragon

Potato Salad with Lemon Tarragon Aioli and Haricots Verts

Is That Phallic-Looking Potato a Dictator?

I’ve been wistful this week, thinking about my fam and the kinds of laughter that would only appear when all of us were together. The kind that makes you cry like a fool and wheeze, you can’t even get it out. Around the time that my little sister was first getting to know my then boyfriend-now husband, she laid some strict rules on him to be accepted into the family (all of this according to her alone, by the way). The most important one of the three (which I remember also included him doing a jump kick and possibly joining Facebook?) was to say something so ridiculously funny to her, she’d break out into silent laughter. It turned out this wasn’t much of a challenge given that my husband tends to be fucking hilarious the majority of the time, but I loved that my sister’s request was so telling of what was so very prized to her and to all of us in the fam. My husband completed a crew that has always (and will always) appreciate the times where we all get to do nothing but chill – I’m talking a backyard feast with plenty of grey goose, barbecue or blue crabs, farmer’s market produce gifted to my dad for playing music for the vendors, and an inordinate amount of stupid puns.  Continue reading Potato Salad with Lemon Tarragon Aioli and Haricots Verts

Throwback Tuesday: French Lemon Tarragon Vinagrette

Tart Lemons and Spicy Mamas

I think it’s apropos that this Tuesday following Mother’s Day (aka Dia des Las Madres), the recipe is one of my all time faves that my own resplendent mama taught me. She’s pretty majestic, and given that one day isn’t enough to honor her awesomeness, I’m extending the party to this Tuesday. My tartness is all earned honestly, but I can’t say that I didn’t get any encouragement growing up in a house with some of the sassiest fucking people to ever walk the earth. A sass factory if you will, and I was sentenced to work early on in the game. This original recipe was one of the early ones on Adesina’s Kitchen, and though it’s a clutch go-to every time I need a vinaigrette, the old picture did not sell this salad’s infinite awesomeness. I knew I had to go back and give it the glory that it deserved. Bibb lettuce. Check. Crispier croutons. Check. Snipped tarragon and chives. Check and motherfuckin’ check. Continue reading Throwback Tuesday: French Lemon Tarragon Vinagrette

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

Much like my obsession with collecting bolognese recipes, I love love love a good roast chicken recipe.  I adore the way in which a little love, butter or olive oil, salt, pepper and aromatics transform the lowly chicken into something worth honoring.  Crisp, golden skin and tender meat come into their own with very little effort, and a homestyle supper is on the table for loved ones without a second thought.  Or if you love them EVEN more, you’ll just tuck in with them without even leaving the kitchen.  Best of all the leftovers make at least one more meal, if not a gorgeous chicken stock.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

My husband saw me oogling over Jonathan Waxman’s pan roasted chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet and purchased me a Lodge Logic 15″ beauty from Amazon.  It’s heavy as hell (a two-hand job) but an amazing holder of temperature and big enough for a chicken and a mess of roasted veg to boot.  It needs a name.  Like Thor.  Or maybe the Kraken.  So whenever I take it out, I’m releasing the…haha…you get it.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

For the butterflying portion, you can certainly have the butcher do it, but it’s easy work with a nice pair of kitchen scissors.  Simply cut out the back (and save for stock) and flatten the entire mess with a little pressure on the breast bone.  Prepping the chicken in this manner cuts the cooking time way down and allows more of the surface area to come into contact with the lemon and herbs.  The whole mess forms a delicious sauce for the incredibly moist chicken, all with no fuss at all.  So basically, yes, your prayers were answered and that homecooked meal you’ve been dreaming about is here.  Now.  Go make it.

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs © Photo by Angela Gunder

Recipe for

Butterflied Chicken with Lemon and Herbs

1 whole chicken
2 lemons
1 bunch of rosemary
1 bunch of thyme
1 onion, thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and black pepper
good olive oil
1 bunch of tarragon
1/2 c. of chicken broth
2 tbs. of butter

Preheat the oven to 450°.  Rinse the chicken well and pat dry.  Using the poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone to remove it.  Flip the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten it.  Liberally season with coarse salt and black pepper and then rub with a bit of olive oil.  Place chicken skin side down in a cast iron skillet.  Surround the chicken with the onions and top with the rosemary and thyme.  Halve the lemons and squeeze the juice over the chicken.  Tuck lemons into the pan with the herbs and onions.  Drizzle with a little more oil and pop into the oven.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the juices of the thigh meat run clear when pierced with a fork.

When the chicken is finished,  remove from the skillet to a platter and let rest.  Put the skillet on the stove and heat.  Add the chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  When the sauce thickens a bit, add the butter.  Strain the sauce and set aside.  If you feel diligent, you can also pick out some of the roasted onions.

Carve the chicken into pieces and serve with the sauce.

Steamed Mussels with Tarragon and Shallots

A pot of mussels, for me, is a treat worth sharing with special folks around.  It’s rare these days that we get to partake in such a tactile experience – a large pot is slapped in the middle of a table, and folks collectively tuck in with their hands, scooping, dipping and munching on sweet mussels and typically a tangle of crispy fries or crusty bread.  Mussels come in a million preparations, but this little bivalve is ever so easy to prepare.  You’ve just got to know all the tricks.

Steamed Mussels with Tarragon and Shallots © Spice or Die

When you get your mussels, they need to be alive before you cook them.  A dead mussel in the pot will make your tummy unhappy later.  As you go through them, mussels should be closed and if open, should close after you agitate them a bit.  I usually just tap them on the counter and wait for them to close slowly.  If they refuse to close, chuck ’em before cooking.

After you cook the mussels, it’s the opposite deal.  If they stay closed after cooking, they are bad.  Don’t eat them for fear of even more tummy unhappiness.

As I mentioned before, there are tons of way to sauce these guys – this recipe is based on one of my favorite preparations as featured by The Smith here in NYC.  They bathe their bivalves in a lovely combo of shallots, thyme, wine and cream.  It’s a luscious sauce that is meant to be sopped up with bread, fries, or whatever carb you can grab the fastest.  I enhance my own with a heaping spoon of dijon mustard and a bit of garlic – deliciousness for an incredibly low price.  If you can believe it, restaurants charge $17 or more per pound of mussels, whereas you can purchase them for as little as $2 a pound to cook at home!  Outrageous!  Not to mention the fact that you can be assured that your mussels are clean and fresh before cooking – not the case when you eat them out.  If ever there was a case for cooking at home, this is it.  Include this recipe on the menu for your next date night and savor the simple pleasure of a shared dish and company close at hand.  It’s a dying art, I tell you.

Steamed Mussels with Tarragon and Shallots

2 lbs. of mussels, scrubbed of barnacles
3 tbs. of butter
2 shallots
2 cl. of garlic, smashed
1 c. of dry white wine
bunch of tarragon
2 tbs. of dijon mustard
1/2 c. of cream
salt and pepper

Check mussels to make sure that they are still alive – mussels should close after you tap them on the counter or rap them a bit with your finger.  Clean mussels of any grit or barnacles on the shells and put into a large bowl.  Fill bowl with cold water and let the mussels sit for a half an hour.  This allows them time to expel any sand or grit – you’ll actually hear the mussels bubbling around in the water.

In a large pot or huge skillet, chuck in 2 tbs. of butter and melt on low.  Turn up the heat to medium and add shallots and garlic.  Cook until translucent and then crank the heat to high.  Dump in wine, tarragon, and mussels and cover the pot.  Cook 5-6 minutes or until mussels open up.  Remove mussels from the pot and set aside, discarding any mussels that didn’t open in the cooking process.  Boil sauce down, whisking in mustard and cream.  Allow to reduce by 1/4 and then taste for salt and pepper.  Pour sauce over mussels and serve, making sure to sop up the sauce with bread or crisp fries.

Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Apples

Ready to Shred

So rumor has it that chicken salad comes in a can?  I had no idea – I’d never touched the stuff.  Truly, my first taste of chicken salad came from the Corner Bakery in Tysons Corner.  There, diced chicken, apples and celery (and supposedly currants and red onion according to their website – neither were memorable) are nestled between slices of pumpernickel studded with walnuts and raisins.  It was insanely good, and that wasn’t even including their homemade kettle-cooked potato chips.

I haven’t been to the place in years, so I can’t speak for what the sandwich tastes like now.  No matter, though, because over the years, I’ve just been making this super simple chicken salad, and it surpasses all expectations that I’ve had for that Corner Bakery sandwich.  It’s the perfect marriage of sweet and savory, with the lovely zing of lemon and dijon to wake the whole thing up.  Tender white meat chicken becomes moist and delicious in a fine poaching liquid of lemon and pepper.  And if you can score a really good artisinal bread, it’s a treat and a half.  Dennis and I ambled over to the SpaHa Bakery on 116th and Lexington, and were able to purchase some Mulitgrain Foccacia for him and a Cranberry Walnut Pullman Loaf for me.  What a treat that place is!  Between the excellent bread choices and the freshly prepped chicken salad goodness, Dennis put the sandwich in the Pantheon of his top 5 sandwiches of all time.  I expect him to print out a certificate for this honor and frame it for me for Christmas. Continue reading Chicken Salad with Tarragon and Apples

French Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

An Ode to Waking Your Ass Up

If ever you feel like it’s a “boo-hoo eat salad at home like a dieting loser” kind of night, I strongly advise you to make this dressing.  The recipe originally came from my mom – a bold mixture of lemon, garlic and olive oil packing a serious punch on whatever greens she dressed them with.  It woke your ass up. Continue reading French Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette