*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.

Courses Dinner


15 Responses to “Crispy Chicken Thigh with Roasted Cauliflower Risotto”

  1. Candace

    Hi! This looks AMAZING. I didn’t see in the recipe when/where you should add the cauliflower to the risotto. Is it on the side or mixed in? I apologize if I have simply overlooked it.

  2. Allyson (Considering The Radish)

    My husband and I started doing date night a few months ago thanks to your book. The other day we were texting about what we wanted to do, and I just kept repeating the question “But what do you want to eat?”. All that’s to say, I understand exactly where the food nerd comes in.

    This risotto looks fantastic. I’ve never seen risotto and chicken together, but this looks unreal. And the fried parsley idea is genius.

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      I LOOOOOOOOVE reading this. This is why I do what I do. And you know I get it. I adore my husband but sometimes I need the delight and promise of soul satisfying food to lure me into the kitchen. Totally worth it.

  3. Maria

    Crispy chicken skin, yum!! And love risotto. This looks fabulous. Especially that crispy chicken! Its such a simple thing, but I always forget about crisping up some chicken thighs for dinner!! Especially with all those awesome spring veggies coming into season;)

  4. jill polsby

    And then there’s the crispy chicken thighs on the williams-sonoma website. Brown the skin, put in the oven with lemon slices on top, cook, sprinkle on some marjoram, let sit – omg! Would love to know if there’s a way to make the “risotto” without the rice…..could minced up cauliflower “fake” it in any way or would it just turn out mushy???

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      That sounds delicious. You know, I would serve this chicken on a bed of that roasted cauliflower that would be a lovely alternative. Or you could totally use cauliflower rice but you’d have to prepare it differently as it would mush. Maybe if you “rice” the cauliflower then roast those lovely little bits in the oven until they get a good bit of color then serve that in place of the risotto. Sounds pretty great to me!

  5. Michelle

    Can you think of an alternative to the cheese in this recipe? Something tells me risotto isnt it’s full glory without it? Or perhaps omitting it wouldn’t take too much away from the texture and taste?

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      You know I actually think it’d be still totally delicious without the cheese. You’ll need to add more salt to compensate for the saltiness the cheese adds but it’ll still be lovely I’m sure.

  6. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    Wonderful pairing. Hubby and I make it date night every night. I know it sounds boring but we love working in the kitchen together than sitting down and enjoying what we made. Oh, and we do sip on our wine as we are preparing our culinary delight. 🙂

  7. Claudia

    I never thought of frying parsley, but I LOVE butter fried sage. The butter browns, and the leaves get crispy. Can’t wait to try this. And cauli risotto? Genius! Your whole roasted cauli for your birthday was my introduction to all things cauli. Thanks so very much!