Remember how a couple of days ago I posted this picture of my on-the-fly menu for dinner? I was having a girlfriend of mine over for dinner (we’re food buddies), and seeing a friend who is as food-obsessed as I can sometimes be always spurs my creativity when it comes to what I’ll put on the plate.
So, I did end up making exactly what you see in the menu above, but of course the execution/presentation did not come out as I had planned. It’s not bad, but not what I had planned on (geez, isn’t THAT a mouthful for everything in life, AM I RIGHT?!)
Here’s what happened:
I started with some seriously overripe tomatoes (I know you can’t tell that from this picture, which is on purpose, but let’s just say I had to cut some sections out of a couple of them because they were on the back side of their lifespan). I had actually put them in the fridge (kiss of death for tomatoes) to keep them because I had read on another blog by a friend of mine that you could make these slow roasted tomato slices that could then be used on the fly for flavoring other dishes. Sounded like a good idea, but I didn’t get around to it soon enough. Blah Blah Blah…. Anyway, every veggie can be made a million times better by roasting them AND doing so with this amaze.craze seasoning salt by my dear friend, Kathy, which you can find here. I use it on everything that goes in the oven and consider it my (not so) secret weapon.
Alright, where were we? Right, all the tomatoes. So slice those suckers up, nothin’ fancy. Toss them with olive oil and said seasoning salt, lay them out (non-neurotically, unlike me) in a single layer and slap them in a 375F oven for 35 minutes until they are blistering and getting burnt on the edges.
Okay, good job dude. Then set them aside to cool, turn up your oven to 425F and slice a golden potato paper thin using your mandolin (or a knife, duh) and put them on a baking sheet with scant olive oil, dill, grey sea salt and coarse black pepper. Throw them all the way in the back of the oven on the top rack and forget about them for 20 minutes. They will turn into the best potato chips that you don’t feel bad about eating (plus they look fancy so you can pull the “I’m a grown up” card, not the “I’m eating trash for dinner” guilt trip).
Meanwhile, you’ve obviously been following your prep schedule (see picture 1 at the top) so you’ve got a full onion chopped, sautéed and caramelized with three cloves of garlic in your largest frying pan. To this, you add an entire bunch of cleaned and roughly chopped spinach, which you then cover to steam a bit until it’s bright green:
After about 5 minutes, the spinach has cooked just enough, you mix everything in the pan together thoroughly, add 2 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper and smash it all into your blender where you puree it (use the pulse function, keep the lid cracked and put a kitchen towel over it, or else you’ll be WEARING the whole messy hot disaster on your work clothes. I do not speak from experience or anything…)
What comes out is this incredible, thick, velvety emerald green sauce that can be used for so many things. I should really make a batch of this every week and stretch it out in multiple dishes. My friend had a great idea as we were eating dinner, “you could totally use this as a layer in lasagna, instead of red sauce.” Good call dude. Good call.
So what do you pair with roasted tomatoes, gourmet potato chips and velvety spinach sauce? Chicken piccata of course! Yes, that’s the creamy, caper laden piccata sauce you see drenching the thin, thyme covered chicken medallions.
Of course, I didn’t realize at the time that I was creating a fully Italian colored plate, but it worked out well. Especially with the awesome bottle of wine and baby ciabatta rolls from Macrina Bakery my friend brought with her. Perfect for sopping up all the extra sauces at the end.
All in all, pretty freakin’ good guys. We basically put the plates back in the cupboard, since we had all but licked them clean. Not too shabby for a mid-week meal. Granted, I couldn’t break away for a workout like I’d hoped/planned, but then again, it was actually really healthy, so I guess I’ll live another day.