These recipes appear in Cooking Know-How, by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Wiley Books, 2009.
Mushroom Frittata (Makes 4 servings)
A quick lunch — or dinner — a frittata is like a simplified omelet: no flipping required. Because the oven's radiant heat can compromise the eggs' tenderness, the best frittatas are made stovetop.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter 6 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 2 teaspoons minced tarragon leaves 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg 8 large eggs, at room temperature 2 tablespoons brandy 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1. Melt the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. (Do not use a nonstick skillet since it will later be placed under a heated broiler.)
2. Add the mushrooms and garlic; cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms give off their liquid and it evaporates to a glaze, about 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tarragon and nutmeg; cook just until aromatic, maybe half a minute.
4. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl with the brandy until quite creamy and uniform. Pour into the skillet.
5. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the top is set, about 8 to 10 minutes. When done, you can pull back the edge with a heat-safe spatula.
6. Preheat the broiler. Top the frittata with the grated cheese. Place the skillet 4 to 6 inches from the heat source and broil until the cheese melts and browns a little, 1 or 2 minutes. Serve by cutting into wedges.
Here's the best preparation for one of America's favorite dinners. Admittedly, it's a little more time-consuming because the breasts are first soaked in a salt brine to ensure their juiciness. Want to avoid that first step? Buy kosher boneless skinless chicken breasts, already brined.
8 cups cool tap water 1/4 cup salt, preferably kosher salt Four 7- to 8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts 2 tablespoons peanut oil 3 medium whole scallions, thinly sliced 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced 1 cup sliced canned water chestnuts 2 garlic cloves, minced 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest 1/2 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup orange juice 1/4 cup soy sauce (regular or low-sodium)
1. Whisk the water and salt in a large bowl or roasting pan; add the chicken breasts, cover, and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 12 hours.
2. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Remove the breasts from the salt brine, pat them dry with paper towels, slip into the skillet, and brown well on both sides, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and tent with aluminum foil.
3. Add the scallions to the skillet and cook until softened, stirring often, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the bell pepper, water chestnuts, garlic, ginger, and orange zest; cook, stirring often, until aromatic, about 3 minutes.
5. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the broth, orange juice, and soy sauce. Scrape up any browned bits on the skillet's bottom, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
6. Return the breasts and any accumulated juices to the skillet, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the breasts registers 165 degrees F, about 5 minutes.