Monday, November 16, 2015

Chicken Palermo with Cherry Peppers and Kalamata Olives

Palermo is in Sicily, Italy. It is difficult to know where to begin when describing the food of Sicily, which is arguably the best in Italy. Although Italian based, the food is greatly influenced by all who have inhabited the island over the centuries and it has traces of Spanish, Greek and Arab cuisine. Sicily produces vast amounts of grain, olives, grapes, almonds, pistachios, figs, artichokes, lemons and vegetables. They also produce carob, and capers.

Whenever, I think of Italian food especially that coming from the boot or Sicily, I think colorful and exciting taste. Palermo is on the northern coast. The weather is fantastic and so is the food. This is a simple chicken dish. There are even many versions of it throughout Italy. Of course, as chicken is a basic food option.

Since, the climate in Palermo is warm many flavors grew out of this Mediterranean town. For this dish, you need to buy a package of chicken thighs with the skin on. Marinate them skin side down in fresh squeezed lemon juice and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle on a bit of salt. After an hour or 40 min. you can begin cooking.

Lavishly pour out olive oil into your skillet, to the oil add as much fresh dried rosemary, mint and oregano as you like. Turn on the heat, about med. Once, the oil sizzles, lay in your thighs skin side down and turn the heat a bit higher. You can dash some garlic powder over them and cover. As the sizzling becomes a cacophony, of spurts and pops, turn the thighs over and let them brown on the other side. Cover again and simmer for 6 min on a med-low heat. I even like them to get a little black on the edges.

At this point, lift the lid and add one small can of diced tomatoes (I like to use Red Gold). To this, add chopped garlic and fresh basil or cheat a bit and select a can which has it already added. Now, toss in some sweet hot cherry peppers, some fresh rosemary sprigs and kalamata olives. I do hold back on the olives as they can be salty. Better to use a few while cooking and the rest in a small dish to set on the table.

As the chicken simmers for about 10 minutes on low heat, you can prepare pasta. Tonight I am using spinach enriched pasta. Drain when they are tender. Set the table and put out a good Cabernet Sauvignon.

 Such an exciting taste combination, you will smile and smile all the while you indulge!

~ Tutti a Tavalo!

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