Steak with feisty green olive tapenade and garlic mayo

“If you are anything like me, you will smoke out the whole kitchen in the cooking process of this recipe. Fear not, though — the reward is great. All steaks are best when prepped and seasoned simply, cooked quickly and given plenty of time to rest. Do those three things and no amount of smoke will dampen the result. Serve these tasty strips of steak and the indulgent dips with some flatbread and a tangle of watercress.”

by Flora Shedden 

stealw.olivetapenade

Serves 4 people

INGREDIENTS
2-4 sirloin steaks, about 750g in total | Olive oil | 1 tsp each of black and pink peppercorns, cracked | Watercress, to serve
FOR THE TAPENADE
200g pitted green olives | 1 small green chilli | Juice of ½ lime | 1 tbsp white wine vinegar | 2 tbsp olive oil | 1 small bunch of fresh coriander
FOR THE GARLIC MAYO
2 smoked garlic cloves | 2 tbsp good olive oil | Smoked salt (normal if you can’t find) | 100g mayonnaise

01 Set a griddle pan over a high heat, ready to cook the steaks.

02 Lay out a large sheet of greaseproof paper and drizzle a little oil over half the paper. Sprinkle over some cracked pepper. Place the steaks on top in a single layer,…

 

A Chicken’s Tour of the Mediterranean

A Chicken Thighs Recipe With Mediterranean Flavor

FEB. 27, 2015 | City Kitchen | By

A good cook needs an assortment of chicken recipes up his or her sleeve. It’s fair to say that most carnivores like chicken, but even chicken fans prefer a bit of variety, a break from the familiar roasted, fried, grilled.

Evan Sung for The New York Times

Evan Sung for The New York Times

Braising chicken is a technique to master. The simple process of browning the meat, then adding liquid and gently simmering, ensures tenderness and succulence.

Most people I know agree that the thigh is the choicest part of the bird under most circumstances. I find that chicken thighs make the best braises, and I recommend using skin-on bone-in thighs for the best flavor. (In these days of skinless boneless everything and fear of fat, these unadulterated thighs are scarcer than before, but persevere; they can be found.)

One of the best chicken braises I know uses a broadly Mediterranean approach. The classic combination of chicken with lemon and olives is found throughout the region, but a minor tweaking of the basic recipe is all it takes to give this braise a regional accent.

The example given here is Italianate: rosemary, garlic, fennel seed and red pepper. Marinate the thighs, surround them with lemon wedges, and brown them in the oven. Add a handful of green and black olives and a ladleful of chicken broth. Simmer a bit. The result: earthy, herbaceous, lemony. Serve with polenta.

To give the same dish a more Provençal profile, use thyme sprigs rather than rosemary and choose oil-cured black or tiny niçoise olives. Serve with potatoes or egg noodles. For a North African feel, use large green olives and add toasted ground cumin seeds and hot paprika. Serve with flatbread or couscous.

As for lemons, any kind may be used. Meyer lemo

ns are nice, since they are sweeter than others and the soft skin is mild enough to eat. But ordinary Eureka lemons are fine, thinly sliced, as are rinsed salt-preserved lemons cut in small cubes.

Of course, you should try to get the best chicken you can. Choose organic, free-range, heritage birds when possible. Even at $4 a pound, that’s far less expensive than other prime cuts of meat, and you are more likely to get flavorful chicken if it is of noble provenance. Free-range birds generally have firmer muscles than cheaper “factory style” birds. If you have tasted chicken in other countries, you know that firm meat and flavor go hand in hand.

Once you are hooked on the chicken-lemon-olive theme, you’ll find many more ways to practice it. Imagine, for instance, a chicken sandwich smeared with a garlicky chopped olive tapenade and a dab of bright lemony mayonnaise. You get the idea.

(Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/04/dining/a-chicken-thighs-recipe-with-mediterranean-flavor.html?_r=0)

Olives can enliven a host of dishes

Citrus-Marinated Olives

Take these olives along on your next picnic.

ingredients

  • 1035981 1/2 cups Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
  • 1 1/2 cups cracked brine-cured green olives (Try Inolivia)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

preparation

Combine all ingredients in large heavy-duty resealable plastic bag. Shake bag to blend ingredients. Refrigerate at least 1 day and up to 3 days, turning bag occasionally. Transfer olives and some marinade to bowl. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before serving.

(Source: http://www.epicurious.com)