A Dish For Every Man's Cooking Repertoire

GQ: Is there a dish you think every guy should know how to cook for a woman?

Elizabeth Gilbert: I think that if you can roast a chicken, you can get whatever you want out of a woman. Maybe it's just me but I would suspect that a man trying to impress a woman would be more likely to bring out the steak–"I killed this for you, now I'm grilling it for you." Which is just going to remind her of her dad in a bad way. Or he's going to try and go full Food Network, which just makes you think that if you have sex, he's going to be performing other stuff that he saw on TV, as well. [Laughs] A man that can cook you a proper meal that is like a weekday meal–which I think cannot be better than in the form of a roast chicken–that's the greatest.


It's quite simple, really. All you have to do is pat a whole chicken completely dry, inside and out. Rub with dry seasonings of choice–and freshly chopped garlic, if you please. Truss the chicken with twine. Set it on a baking pan and bake at 450F for an hour or until the juices run clear.

Jessica's Special Chicken Salad

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I'm the queen of making chicken salads. And tuna salads. And regular salads–you know, with lettuce and salad stuff. I once made a salad with nothing more than greens and herbs, Maldon sea salt, a turn of freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, and my dinner guest kept asking what else I put in the salad. To me, making a salad is an art form. It's about balance, proportions, and harmony. When all of this is aligned, you've created a masterpiece! With this chicken salad, it's about how thinly the chicken is shredded, how finely the onion is chopped, what herbs I use, how creamy the consistency is... But rather than measurements, it's guided by my eyes and my intuition. Below are the broad strokes on how to make it. You can take care of the details!


1 cooked chicken breast (can also use leftover rotisserie chicken)
Mayonnaise
Dijon mustard
Cornichons (or capers)
Half of a small red onion
Fresh herbs (any or all of the following: scallions, dill, curly parsley, chives, tarragon)
Sea salt
Black pepper
Celery seeds
Smoked paprika

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1. Shred the chicken breast into a large bowl. I like to pull the shreds into thin strips.

2. Finely chop the red onion, cornichons, and fresh herbs and add to the chicken. Set aside a little bit of the chopped herbs as garnish.

3. Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard to the bowl to start. Mix well until incorporated. Add more if desired. 

4. Season with celery seeds, sea salt, and black pepper to taste. 

5. Before serving, sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika and herb garnish.

*This salad tastes delicious on top of a toasted and buttered English muffin for lunch!

Shredded Roast Chicken with Herbed Rice

This is less of a recipe and more of a dinner idea. If you're a follower of my Twitter account, you'll see that I tweet an awful lot about Citarella's rotisserie chicken. It's the best I've ever had: flavorful and moist with a crisped, well-seasoned skin. Just about all that you could ever want in a roast chicken. But, to really take it to the next level, here's the SGD secret: Try dipping the chicken into Citarella's tartar sauce.

Yes. I'm totally serious. Tartar sauce is not just for fish sticks. Tell me, how could chicken not work with the combination of mayonnaise with dill pickle, onion, capers, fresh parsley, lemon, Dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce?

Most of the time, I'll ask the prepared foods counter guy to cut the chicken into quarters and, for dinner, I'll have a quarter of the chicken, on the bone, with a knife and fork. For this dish, however, I tore the chicken off the bone and shredded the meat with my fingers. This makes it feel like a whole new meal. 

I like to have a side of freshly steamed rice. I usually add a swirl of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt to the pot before cooking the rice. When it's done, I turn off the heat then chop up a bunch of herbs, like scallions, dill, and chives. Just throw them over the rice and cover the lid so that the flavors will infuse with the steam. When you fluff the rice, you'll want all of the herbs to mixed into the rice evenly. This adds so much dimension and requires such little effort!

Try this meal with an easy side salad (shown here is a sugar snap pea, pea shoots, and radish salad). And, of course, a dollop of that tartar sauce.


 

The Sand Dab Discovery

I was dead-set on having Citarella's rotisserie chicken for dinner last night. My mistake was that I didn't get to the store until about 8:30 p.m. and they had already sold out. "Monday night, Miss," said the prepared foods guy, shaking his head apologetically, "They usually sell out by 7 p.m." I circled around the store, evaluating my options before cruising along the seafood display. Salmon? Boring. Tuna? Feels a little too heavy. Halibut? Whoa. Too expensive. Then, I came across these sand dab filets, which were flat and small--not much bigger than the palm of my hand. I decided to give them a try. Sand dabs are a smaller version of flounder, but still have that trademark moist, sweet flesh. I had a vision of crisping them up in a hot pan and then drizzling over a lemon-butter & dill sauce. They're just the right size for a #singlegirldinner. One serving is about four filets, which came out to be a whopping total of $3.95. Dinner is solved.