You remember The Silver Palate Cookbook, of course. Obligatory cooking in the 80’s; everybody had the book. I remember making salmon mousse and Decadent Chocolate Cake for parties. Bread pudding, zabaglione; my old paperback copy of the book falls open to the pesto recipe. The catering company I worked for made endless batches of the wild rice salad. And then there’s Chicken Marbella.
Arguably the most famous recipe in the book. Which, being me, I never made back when everybody else was making it. I have, however, made it once or twice post-80’s, and I can certainly see what all the fuss was about.
It’s such an easy recipe, and the result somehow seems like more than the sum of its parts. You marinate chicken overnight with oil, vinegar, lots of garlic, olives and prunes and a few other things. The next day, you sprinkle on some brown sugar and white wine, and bake it. Really, that’s all there is to it.
I intended to take a photo of the marinating process and all the ingredients. Didn’t quite get to that. Too much on my mind, and into the oven it went, unphotographed. As compensation, here’s a picture of it still in the pan, after it was done cooking:
Well, some of it, anyway. The rest was already on plates by the time I snapped the shutter.
Doesn’t that look good? Well, it was. Kale is the perfect side, since its bitter note nicely offsets the sweet sauce. And fresh homemade bread for dunking in the sauce. Hard to beat. And best of all, proof positive that not everything in the 80’s was a trainwreck.
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