Better than Expected

Earlier this week, I had an afternoon off of practice. In addition to catching up on some grocery shopping and work (planning practices, making line-ups, etc.), I decided to make a somewhat elaborate dinner.

The first two components of this dinner are super simple--open some cans, make a few chops, toss, heat, serve. The third, a recipe whispered by my aunt during the festivities leading up to our wedding, is perhaps the most spectacular potato recipe I've ever eaten.

Each of these dishes could be served solo. Together, they merry incredibly well for a savory, filling, and flavorful meal.

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Chickpea Salad
serves 2

This salad could be served warm, but was extra delicious heated just above room temperature in the microwave. The lemony brightness contrasts well with the garlicky richness, and the soft bite of the beans provides the perfect texture.

2c cooked chickpeas
1t paprika
0.5t salt
freshly ground pepper
1 clove garlic, finely minced or microplaned
1T garlic oil or extra virgin olive oil
0.5 lemon, juiced
1t sugar

1. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Microwave for 1-2 minutes, or until just warm.
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Roasted Broccoli
serves 2

The rest of the meal was super complicated, so this had to be utterly simple. The roasting softens the stems and crisps the florets, making a wonderful play on textures. A little bit of salt cuts any bitterness, leaving pure, sweet broccoli joy. Dan, of course, added pepper.

1 large head of broccoli

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F
2. Rinse the broccoli and cut it into big chunks (maybe 5 or 6 pieces per head). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
3. Place the broccoli on a baking pan and roast for 25-30 minutes, or until the florets are as close to burned as you're comfortable with.
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Crispy Herb Potatoes
serves 3 (or 2...)

Crispy on the outside, soft of the inside, herby, garlicky, carby, fatty--everything you could want from a potato.

7-8 waxy skinned potatoes
3T olive oil
0.25c minced herbs (we used basil, oregano, tarragon, parsley and marjoram)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
salt, pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, wash your potatoes and cut them into equal size chunks.
3. Lightly salt the boiling water, and return to a boil. Add the potatoes and boil for 10 minutes (and not a minute more).
4. Drain the potatoes and toss with the oil, herbs, garlic and salt/pepper.
5. Spread the mixture on a baking tray. Bake for an hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
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A lot of this can be prepped ahead of time. You can pre-boil the potatoes and let them sit in the oil/herb mixture all day. The chickpea salad can be made a day in advance. The broccoli can be pre-cut and salted, ready to go on the baking tray. In addition, most of the clean-up can be completed while dinner is cooking.

This would make great party food. Lots of oohs and ahs, without tons of effort. It's also not overly heavy or fattening, and very food-restriction friendly--vegan, gluten-free, nut/soy/dairy free--and without any weird substitutions.

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.

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  1. I am a big eater of broccoli and i've never put it in the oven but your post is making me want to give it a shot!

  2. Do it! It's so much more delicious than steaming, and so much healthier than sauteeing in oil.

  3. Made it, loved it, miss it now!


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