One of my favorite monthly events is the day I check the mail and find a new issue of Bon Appetit. Several years ago I received a free subscription after purchasing some culinary gadget as a gift for my dad and I’ve been hooked ever since. I actually have several framed covers decorating our kitchen wall. And I may have – on one occasion – convinced Nick to drive through a snowstorm to pick up an issue after a subscription mix-up sent it to my aunt’s house 30 minutes away. He was not happy.
Anyway, I was a little apprehensive a couple months ago when the magazine got a new editor. I was particularly unhappy when I received the issue featuring Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover. I mean, seriously??? This isn’t Cosmo or People- it’s Bon Appetit! The cover is supposed to have a close-up of a perfectly grilled steak, or a cherry pie with an impossibly precise lattice top. Fortunately the last two months’ covers have been strictly food, so I am hoping they’ll be sticking with that.
Some of the other changes, however, I really like. There’s a new philosophy focused more on basic skills (kind of the art and theory of cooking) and less on specific recipes. I believe the editor described it as “how to cook, not what to cook.” There certainly are still plenty of recipes, but they are accompanied by things like last month’s math behind marinades. The formula: acid + salt + alliums (e.g., garlic, onions) + sugar/syrup + chiles + herbs = a good marinade. I love this idea of helping people think about the balance of ingredients by offering guidelines while still encouraging experimenting and allowing flexibility for substitutions.
All of that being said, I did stick pretty close to their recipe for Chimichurri Sauce when making a marinade for chicken tenders last night. It worked out well that I was looking for a use for the big bunch of cilantro I bought last weekend, and I happen to be growing chile peppers and parsley. It also worked well that when Mike (my sister’s fiance) moved in the other week, he brought a snazzy new grill with him and, being the awesome soon-to-be-brother-in-law that he is, offered for us to use it.
To go along with the chicken, I decided to roast some pattypan squash. I have fond memories of my mom frying tomatoes (in cornmeal) and pattypan squash (in a flour mixture) in the summers when I was a kid, and it was tempting to try to recreate it, but opted for roasting as a slightly healthier preparation.
You’ll want to prepare the marinade at least three hours before dinner so that the chicken has time to soak up all the yumminess. Note that I halved the BA recipe since I was only cooking 1 lb of chicken, and their recipe is intended for handling 2 lbs of beef. To start the chimichurri marinade, combine 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, 1 or 2 sliced or minced garlic cloves (I used one giant clove, sliced), 1/2 of a finely chopped shallot (I used one whole, but smallish shallot), and 1/2 of a finely chopped Fresno chile or red jalapeno (I used two little peppers from my pepper plant…. I’m not entirely sure what kind they are, but I had them in the fridge and one happened to have turned red). Let this mixture stand for about 10 minutes.
Then stir in 1 cup of minced fresh cilantro, 1/2 cup of minced fresh Italian parsley, and about 2 tbsp of thyme (because I didn’t have oregano).
Arrange 1 lb of chicken breast tenderloins in a glass dish or bowl and toss with marinade. Cover and chill for at least three hours.
Nick grilled the chicken. I don’t have particular instructions for that part, but it’s grilled chicken… it’s not that difficult. I do recommend brushing the marinade on the chicken while it’s grilling. Anyway, this is what it looked like afterwards:
For the pattypan squash, I got my inspiration from a recipe for Roasted Pattypan Squash and Herbed Chickpeas (which sounds awesome, and I’ll definitely be trying it in the future).
As suggested in the recipe, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees, and then divided each squash into eight pieces. (I ended up halving a lot of the pieces, because the one squash was substantially larger than the other!)
In a baking pan, I drizzled the squash with olive oil and then seasoned with salt and pepper, then threw ’em in the oven. After about 15 minutes I stirred them around, and then let them go for another 15 minutes. They were a little more cooked than I like, but I did like the amount of browning on the outside. So, next time I’d probably cook them at 425 or 450 and pull them out earlier. These were still really good, though. Pattypan squash has this wonderful buttery-ness and, to me, is just one of those quintessential summer flavors.