Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top O’ The (Italian) Colcannon To You

Because it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I think I can be excused for serving a couple of starches in one meal, especially when they’re as good as these.

The first recipe is a variation on Mark Bittman's Green Mashed Potatoes. I don’t know why he didn’t make the connection between this dish and Colcannon, but it seems obvious to me. He uses greens instead of cabbage, and bakes it with a crumb crust, instead of serving straight from the saucepan. It's got to be a second cousin, at least, to the old Irish favorite.

Italian Colcannon (serves 4-6)

4 big russet potatoes
4 garlic cloves
1 bunch broccoli rabe
4 to 5 tbls. of the best extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs

Peel and cut potatoes into large chunks. Add to a large sauce pan with unpeeled garlic cloves. Cover with cold water and add a large pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, lower heat and simmer until barely done about 15 to 18 minutes. Scoop out into colander. Cover with clean dishtowel to finish the cooking – Ina’s great tip.

Remove garlic cloves and put through garlic press into large bowl. Add potatoes and mash with potato masher, adding 2 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon Kosher salt.

Bring potato water back to the boil. Add bunch of broccoli rabe and cook for 5 to 6 1/2 minutes. (If you have resisters to bitter greens, cook them for the full 6½ minutes. I did.) Drain well. Chop and squeeze out moisture before adding to potatoes. Mash potatoes and rabe together roughly. Stir in more salt to taste and another tablespoon of olive oil, if you think it needs it.

Spoon into Pam-ed baking dish. Cover with ½ cup fresh breadcrumbs. Drizzle over a bit more olive oil. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes.

In the next recipe, I combined two chicken recipes to a pretty good effect, I think. One is Melissa Clark's from last week’s NY Times (sitting right next to Bittman’s potato recipe), where she roasts a chicken on top of bread, the other is a yummy marinated chicken, written about rapturously by Nicole over at From The Inside. (Her engaging blog has A LOT going on…so be patient when it takes awhile to load.)

Marinated Roast Chicken (serves 4)
inspired by Nicole (à la Gordon Hamersley) and Melissa Clark

3 garlic cloves, halved and green stem removed
2 tbls. Dijon
grated zest of one lemon
½ tsp. dried rosemary
1 tbl. olive oil
½ tsp. Kosher salt
1 shallot
2 tbls. lemon juice (reserve spent lemons)

1 4 to 5 pound chicken
6 slices of stale (or not) good bread
(I used ciabatta and it was 3 hours, not 3 days, old.)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
olive oil

Place all the ingredients for the marinade in the food processor. Try to get it as fine as you can. Rub it all over the chicken.

Place used lemon peels inside chicken. Refrigerate for a couple hours or leave at room temperature for 30 minutes (no more) before roasting.

Place slices of bread in bottom of roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Lay chicken over.

Roast at 375°F for 1¼ hours or until chicken is done. Remove chicken onto board and place upside down. Cover loosely with foil for 5 minutes before carving. (10 is better). Remove bread onto serving platter, cutting in half, if desired.

Strain juices into small saucepan and add 1 cup stock. Reduce until slightly thickened. Carve chicken, place on platter and serve sauce separately.

Note: Melissa Clark’s recipe (from a friend of hers) has the oven temperature at 425°F. I found the bread gets too brown, too fast, so I’ve lowered the temperature to 375°F.

Here’s a quick dessert, particularly if you have some frozen egg whites to use up and some fruit that needs attention.
Apple Meringue (serves 4-6)

6 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tbls. water
juice from ½ lemon
optional: 1 – 2 tbls. Irish whiskey
3 egg whites
6 tbls. sugar

Note: Add other fruit if you have it handy. I used only 5 apples and added ½ cup frozen peaches and a handful of fresh raspberries.

Place apples in heavy bottomed medium saucepan. Stir in brown sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook on medium heat. When steam builds up, turn down, cover and cook on low until apples have broken up and are completely soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. It should look like chunky applesauce. Stir in Irish whiskey, if using and spoon into pie plate.

Beat 3 whites until soft peaks form.

Beat in sugar gradually. Beat until firm. Spoon meringue onto top of fruit, covering every bit, right up to the edge of the dish.

Bake at 300°F for 30 minutes.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Great recipe. Those are some GREEN potatoes. So many of us are of mixed Italian and Irish heritage (well, at least I am), so it works!

Sue said...

Thanks Rach,
As they say in Ireland:

May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow
And may trouble avoid you wherever you go.

DebCarol said...

Oh my gosh, it all looks delicious. What time is dinner?? I promise I won't be late.

Anonymous said...

those potatoes look great!

Emily said...

This apple meringue is a nice, light dessert. Perfect for me! I'm trying to eat really healthy this week, and then gorge myself the two days I'm in New York.

I've been wanting to roast a chicken lately. I have this sort of Indian spice blend I've been wanting to use. I've made notes on your directions. I'm dying to try the bird flipping trick. I told my dad to do it last year and he wouldn't. Is the bread scumptious? Does it soak up all of the chicken juices? I wonder if it's crispy or soft.

The colcannon sounds great. I wish we had broccoli rabe here.

Pam said...

I have got to try that chicken recipe.

meHUNGRY! said...

what a clever variation on colcannon. my broccoli rabe loving husband will enjoy it. Thanks!

SayGrace said...

I have chickens but rarely have enough whites to freeze as we tend to snarf them down about as fast as the gals out back can put them out. But I made Guinness ice cream to go with some chocolate Guinness cake we had for St. Patrick's day and it took 6 egg yolks to complete... and totally worth it! I just threw the egg whites into the freezer and want to know how to use them now... can I just stick them in the fridge for a day until they're liquid again and can they be used just like fresh egg whites from that point on? Thanks so much!

Sue said...

Next time...

Thanks HealthyD!

Indian spices are good on ANYTHING. Go for it!

Sneak into the kitchen and turn that bird upside down.

Hi Pam,
I think you'll really like it.

You're lucky to have a BR loving husband.

Hi SayGrace,
Yes, that's fine. If you leave them in the fridge more than a day or two, I would freeze them. And you can freeze egg whites for months. Just make sure they're in a really good airtight container.

The best way to thaw them is in the fridge overnight and then on the counter to get to room temperature until you're ready to use them.

Ching Hermosa said...

Nice pics and very yummy too! I can't wait to try this at home.