Farmers market staples star in this end-of-summer dish
This story begins on a Saturday morning at my farmers market, where I found four classic late summer ingredients: zucchini, yellow cherry tomatoes, shallots, and garlic; unsure what to do with them, though.
Once home, I headed to one of my trusted food sites, Food & Wine (foodandwine.com), where I found an interesting sheet-pan chicken dish over which they ladled a warm, cherry tomato vinaigrette (they called it a relish) at the end. The only ingredients I did not already own were a whole chicken and fresh tarragon.
Food & Wine's recipe required a whole chicken cut into pieces. I pivoted to four skin-on, bone-in organic chicken thighs stored in my freezer.
I was not about to spend several dollars on a few sprigs of fresh tarragon. Wanting the flavor that tarragon delivers, I went with dried tarragon. Not just any dried tarragon; my partner, Nan, had dried some fresh tarragon from her garden a year ago. Perfect.
F&W's recipe used more than a half-cup of extra virgin olive oil, opening up a terrific opportunity for me to use an unopened olive oil. It was a California extra-virgin olive oil from an Arizona vendor (localsouthwest.com) that my brother, Robert, appreciates. In fact, it is the only olive oil he uses.
F&W's recipe used red cherry tomatoes. My Sungold cherry tomatoes from the farmers market not only looked good but bumped up the sweet flavors a bit.
F&W baked the chicken and vegetables and then broiled them to brown everything up. They suggested transferring it all to a platter and using the half-sheet pan to make a tomato vinaigrette (they called it a relish, and later a salsa) using red cherry tomatoes, white wine vinegar, salt, and fresh tarragon.
Heating the half-sheet pan on my stovetop would not work for me. Instead, I briefly simmered the vinaigrette in a saucepan and, once I transferred the chicken, zucchini, and shallots to a platter, poured whatever pan juices that had accumulated in the sheet pan into my vinaigrette. Then, I spooned the vinaigrette over the chicken, zucchini and shallots, setting some vinaigrette aside for later use.
Not only did the finished dish look just as good as the one pictured on F&W's website, but it tasted great, with the flavor of the tarragon shining through.
I saved and refrigerated the leftover tomato vinaigrette and used it to top some cooked pasta for a meal later in the week.
Thanks to my farmers market, Food & Wine, and my brother, an absolute winner.
• Don Mauer welcomes questions, comments and recipe makeover requests. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Later Summer Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs
For the chicken
4 large (about 2 pounds) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (preferably organic)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
½ teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, divided
4 medium-large shallots, peeled, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 large or 3 medium zucchini, ends trimmed and cut into ¾-inch-thick rounds
For the vinaigrette
2 cups halved yellow cherry tomatoes (red one's work, too)
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried tarragon leaves
2 large garlic cloves, grated on a micro plane
Place the oven rack in the center position and begin heating the oven to 450 degrees.
Rub chicken thighs with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place thigh on a rimmed, half-sheet pan.
Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the shallots and zucchini and, using a large rubber spatula toss and fold together. Distribute the zucchini mixture around the chicken on the sheet pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through the bake time. Leaving the sheet pan in place, increase oven temperature to broil and broil until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees) and skin is lightly browned, about 4 minutes.
While the chicken roasts, add and stir together the tomatoes, vinegar, tarragon, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and the remaining ¼ cup oil. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer, stirring from time to time. Remove from the heat.
Transfer chicken and vegetables to a platter. Transfer any sheet pan juices to the tomato mixture and stir in. Immediately pour tomato vinaigrette over the chicken and vegetables and serve. Serves 4
Nutrition values per serving: 327 calories(50 percent from fat), 18.1 g fat(3 g saturated fat), 16.3 g carbohydrates (3 net carbs), 2.8 g sugars, 4.5 g fiber, 23.1 g protein, 86 mg cholesterol, 1036 mg sodium.
SaltSense: Using only 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt reduces the sodium per serving to 643 milligrams.
Suggestion: Leftover, re-warmed vinaigrette is terrific over cooked pasta.
Adapted from a recipe from Food&Wine.com