Friday, July 15, 2016

A Spa Chicken Dish by the Incomparable Charlie Trotter

Steamed Chicken with Preserved Carrots, Peppers and Daikon with Marine Cider Vinaigrette

Mr. Trotter writes: "A perfectly steamed chicken breast is hard to beat. Here, I have coupled it with crisp vegetables flavored with marine cider vinaigrette and a touch of Thai fish sauce. If you are unable to find marine-flavored cider vinegar (cider vinegar seasoned with marine herbs and sea salt), any good-quality cider vinegar may be used."

(Photo by Julie)
Cousin Jules is one of the very best home chefs I know - she's right up there with my mom as far as her culinary expertise and imagination go. She, too, rarely follows recipes, and when she does, it's very hard for her not to get bored half way through the cooking process, as happened with the above dish when she made it (7.13.16), but persevere she did, and, boy were we all happy she did! All of Charlie Trotter's recipes are very detailed, lengthy with many ingredients and steps, and it's quite easy to get quite bored before you're anywhere near done. That said, the two recipes that we've (I made his mussels recipe) made from his Spa Cuisine: One & Only Palmilla cookbook were over the top and all kinds of wonderful! His subtle use of ingredients, (some of the combos which are just down-right weird), and how they combine are simply sublime! We're both anxious to test our patience further and try the other gems in his cookbook. This is so worth the time and trouble! Note: No where was there information on how to make marine-flavored cider vinegar, thought there were many articles on chefs that use it in their restaurants (google "marine cider vinegar") so Julie used plain Bragg cider vinegar and it worked just fine!

The so not a throw 'n go: 

For the marine cider vinaigrette:
2 T. olive oil
4 t. apple cider vinegar
4 t. chopped fresh cilantro (hate cilantro; I'd use parsley)
4 t. thinly sliced scallion
sea salt

For the chicken:
1 T. minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 T. finely chopped lemongrass, from the bulb portion
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the vegetables:
1 C. peeled, julienned carrot, steamed (blanched)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned
1/2 C. peeled julienned daikon radish (use regular radishes if you can't find daikon)
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro (again, hate cilantro; I'd use parsley)
1 t. black sesame seeds
1 t. white or toasted white sesame seeds
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
2 T. toasted sesame oil (Trader Joe's has a great one)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

For the red bell pepper puree (optional - it's not on the above plate):
2 T. chopped roasted red bell pepper (in a jar - Trader Joe's has a great one)
2 T. water
sea salt

To prepare the Marine Cider Vinaigrette:  Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. 

To prepare the chicken:  Combine the ginger, garlic and lemongrass in a small bowl. Season the chicken with 1/4 t. each salt and pepper and then place the chicken in the bottom of a bamboo or other steamer. Top the chicken breasts equally with the ginger mixture and set steamer over a pan of simmering water. Cover and steam for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is just cooked. Brush the ginger mixture off (at least the hard lemongrass pieces then thinly slice the chicken and toss with 1/2 the vinaigrette; use more vinaigrette if needed. 

To prepare the vegetables:  Combine the blanched carrot, bell pepper, daikon, cilantro (or parsley) and black and white sesame seed and toss to mix. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lime juice, fish sauce and sesame oil. Add this mixture to the vegetables and toss to mix. Season with salt and pepper. 

To prepare the (optional) red bell pepper puree:  Combine the roasted bell pepper and water in a blender and process until smooth. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and season lightly with salt. (Julie forgot to buy the red peppers so served it without - didn't hurt a thing!)


Mound some of the vegetable mixture into the center of each plate, top with some of the chicken mixture, and then more of the vegetable mixture. Drizzle any juices from both mixtures around the plates and then spoon some of the pepper puree around the plate. 

Now eat up that deliciousness!


'till we feast again!

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