I am going to be traveling for the next few weeks so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone and make a couple of this months recipes. Marie has chosen several wonderful recipes from Marcella Hazan for this months Gutsy Cooks. I have been a fan of Marcella for many years and have cooked my way through many of her books. Maries recipes for this month are a few that I have missed.
Panzanella has been a family favorite in my family for as long as I can remember. As a child I absolutely detested raw tomatoes (and actually I still prefer them cooked), panzanella was one of the few ways my mom could get me to eat them. We had it often in the summer when the ripe tomatoes were plentiful in my dad’s or grandfathers gardens. I have taken just a few liberties with this recipe. My mom never peeled the tomatoes and I have also chosen not to peel them here. She also always added fresh basil and I just can’t imagine ripe tomatoes without it so I have also added it here. Other than that the recipe is almost identical to what I grew up with and was delicious.
I just happened to have a whole chicken in the freezer which I was saving for stock but I decided it would be nice to try the chicken with two lemons here. The recipe is simplicity itself. Nothing but chicken, lemons, salt and pepper. Prep is easy, just wash and dry the chicken. Salt and pepper it and add the pierced lemons. Truss it loosely and then roast it breast side down for 30 minutes. Turn it over and roast for another 30 minutes. Then raise the oven temperature to 400 and roast for another 25 minutes. It practically cooks itself. Marcella says that if the skin is unbroken and you have trussed correctly the chicken will puff up. I am not exactly sure what I was expecting to see but the chicken does in fact puff. When done the chicken is nice and swollen with a beautiful golden skin. Perfection. You simply will not believe the incredible aroma that comes from the bird as it is carved. The meat is tender and very juicy with a wonderful lemony flavor. And don’t overlook the pan juices. I separated out the fat and added a bit of white wine. Reduced it slightly and enriched with a bit of butter. Heavenly.