Here is how a weeknight dinner party goes. First, you plan it, a few weeks in advance. It will be a nice small get-together to say farewell to your friend who’s moving away. Then, it will sneak up on you.
As your husband drops you off at the train on the morning of your dinner, you will ask him, “Did you invite Daniel?” No, he forgot. (Or at least you think that’s what he means, because your husband is not a morning person and doesn’t really speak until around 9 AM.) Oh well. “Maybe you can text him.”
On the train into work, you will first check your emails to make sure there are no fires to put out. Then you will meal plan.
You mentally catalogue what you have at the house. (Not much. Chicken thighs in the freezer. Lots of herbs in the garden. Pantry staples.)
You calculate the amount of time you will have between arriving home and when you told people to arrive. One half hour. Oh god.
You think about whether your house needs cleaning. Not only does it need cleaning—badly—but you decided to start ripping up the kitchen floor last week. Why did you do that?
At lunch, you sneak out to the grocery store a few blocks away to buy some peaches. They are firm. Well, okay, they’re really hard and underripe. You stash them under your desk.
At the end of the day, you pack up your things and get ready to jump on the train that will take you home in time to host your friends. You make it two blocks before you realize you left the peaches under your desk. Turning on your heel, you smack into a man in a powersuit. You have to run, but you catch the train.
When you get home, you dump together chicken thighs, the underripe peaches, some chopped ginger, fistfuls of torn basil and mint, oil and sherry and salt. It goes into a hot oven and you escape to drink a beer on the patio.
Your friends arrive. They are public high school teachers and software guys and gardeners and canvassers. They are gorgeous. You hug them.
Roasted chicken thighs with green summer fruit, ginger, and herbs
I should probably rename this blog, “Recipes shamelessly and barely adapted from Melissa Clark, Melissa Hamilton & Christopher Hirsheimer, and Deborah Madison”. But it’s just not as catchy.
This recipe, from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, is simple and SO good. It is my new favorite summer one-pan dinner. The green tomato version is a little more herbal, the peach and plum versions are sweet and crowd-pleasing. It yields a lot of thin pan juices, which are possibly the best part, so serve with lots of crusty bread or rice.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (although I have made this dish with bone-in as well)
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 pound green/hard peaches, plums, or tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 inch-long piece of ginger root, peeled and minced (or grated)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons (or more to taste–I like a lot of herbs) chopped fresh summer herbs, such as basil, mint, or parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the chicken thighs on a sheet pan or in a baking dish, and salt them thoroughly with kosher salt (about a teaspoon of salt per pound of meat). Set aside.
- Halve the fruit, remove pits or core, and slice into 1/2 inch wedges.
- Toss chicken with fruit and all remaining ingredients, reserving 1 tablespoon chopped herbs.
- Roast in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through and fruit has softened, about 20-30 minutes. Garnish with remaining herbs and serve immediately.