The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso, was probably the most influential general cookbook of the 80s, and 35 years later, it’s still one of the essentials. Just last March, Bon Appétit published an article titled “How the Silver Palate Cookbook Changed Our Cooking”.
The signature recipe from the cookbook was the one for Chicken Marbella. Making Chicken Marbella involves marinating chicken overnight in a mixture of green olives, capers, prunes, honey, white wine, red wine vinegar, oregano, garlic, bay leaves*, and other stuff that momentarily skips my mind. It isn’t really complicated, but it results in a complex melding of the ingredients. The taste reminded me of Tzimmes, the stew I’d made a couple of months ago, and when I did a little research, I found that, like Tzimmes, Chicken Marbella has become a favourite meal served during Passover.
The New York Times published a brief history of the Silver Palate on the occasion of the cookbook’s 25th anniversary. You can find the recipe for Chicken Marbella at the bottom of the article.
I’ve decided to start rating these experiments on a five-star scale, The boldface entry is my evaluation of the current dish.
★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.
*When my brother and sister-in-law last visited, they brought me some wonderful fresh bay leaves from the plant in their backyard in California. I used the last of them when I made Beef Bourguignon last month, so I trekked up to Giant to buy a jar from the McCormick spice rack. I was surprised to see that the 0.12 ounce jar, containing 8-10 bay leaves costed $8.49. When I looked closer at the label, I got a bigger surprise.
At that price, a pound of bay leaves would cost $754.67. I think it might be time to buy acreage someplace that has a Mediterranean climate, and start a little herb farm to call my own.