*This post is another in our Date Night series with Chateau St. Jean. For those of you who love a good glass of white wine you will love this recipe which pairs beautifully with their full bodied Chardonnay with aromas of peach and vanilla spice on the nose. Be sure to check out their site for more great date night recipes.
Date nights are the time to fry parsley. The other days, where there are five mouths to feed and several of them claim allergies to green things, are for simple food and continual reminders to eat your vegetables. But date nights, those are for long simmered risottos, chicken thighs seared to a crisp and emerald leaves fried until their green brightens and pungent grassy flavor turns deep and almost meaty.
Gabe and I tucked into April Bloomfield’s restaurant, The Breslin, during a quick book tour trip to NYC. The clock said breakfast time but our stomachs still on west coast time demanded a burger and caesar salad. There I met fried parsley. It sat high and mighty atop my salad while its statuesque figure intrigued me. Using my fingers I plucked the garnish and bit into the leaf which shattered on my tongue. “Taste this!” I demanded of Gabe with a giddy excitement that he delights in but doesn’t always seem to understand. “It’s good.” He said trying, yet failing, to match my glee.
It tasted almost like anchovy. Sure anchovy was in the salad but somehow the herb itself, light in flavor when fresh, took on a hearty, savory taste once fried.
These are the sort of things that get me excited about our date. I mean of course I love the time with my husband too but sometimes it’s the food nerd in me that marvels at the wonder of fried parsley that motivates me to bound into the kitchen to make us a meal worthy of a date.
Is it too early to imagine spring’s arrival? Perhaps but I like to think that this recipe tips to that notion. It’s comforting and hearty but not heavy. Sure there’s a good bit of cheese and a robust roastiness from the cauliflower but it’s not overly indulgent. Maybe it’s because the meal goes perfectly with a glass of chardonnay that my mind is already dreaming about crisp glasses of wine sipped slowly in the sun. Soon enough.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Roasted Cauliflower Risotto
Yield 2 Servings
This dish pairs beautifully with Chardonnay.
1/2 head cauliflower, cored and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 thyme sprig
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
4 cups low sodium chicken broth, warmed
1 cup grated comté or gruyere cheese
4 small sprigs Italian Parsley
2 bone-in chicken thighs
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Chef 1: Add the cauliflower to a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Roast for 20 - 25 minutes or until tender and caramelized in parts.
Chef 2: Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the shallots and thyme with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft, about 7 minutes. Sauté the rice with the shallots for just a couple of minutes before adding the wine. Stir until the wine is absorbed then start stirring in the chicken stock 1/2 cup at a time making sure the liquid is absorbed before each addition.
Cook until the rice is tender. The risotto would be quite loose when finished. Stir in the cheese and roasted cauliflower then taste and add more salt as needed. Remove the thyme sprig before serving.
Chef 1: Sear the chicken in a hot skillet, skin side down, for 5 minutes. Carefully flip over the chicken then bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to rest then very carefully add the parsley to the hot skillet and fry in the chicken grease until crisp, about 30 seconds.
Chef 2: Serve the risotto and chicken with the toasted pine nuts and crispy parsley.
Chef 1: Pour the wine.