Seven Years Tastes Good

On June 7th, Josh and I celebrated our 7-year anniversary! We had a full day of trekking through the woods in Shelburne with Frodo, picking up a prime steak at Shelburne Meat Market, and packing everything up for a picnic on the beach. Turns out the beach had a good deal of wind ripping through it so we sat huddled in sweatshirts drinking our Champagne and eating shrimp cocktail, then we packed everything else up and went back home to finish our dinner al fresco (North Beach 1 - Abby and Josh 0). Besides our awesome steak, I prepared my go-to recipe for potato salad! Well, it's Alton Brown's recipe, but it's genius. The sneaky trick is that after you boil the potatoes, you slice them and let them hang out in some vinegar while they are still warm. They soak up all that flavor and now you've got an amped up potato salad. I have, naturally, included that recipe below.

I also wanted to share two other Summertime dishes I've made recently. One is Nashville Hot Fried Chicken, which is my new obsession. I mean, I love fried chicken, who doesn't love fried chicken?! But...ermahgerd...this is amaze-balls. And, like John Cougar Mellencamp would say, it hurts so good.

The last recipe I have for you involves a fish that I thought I didn't love. Swordfish. I believe the problem is that I've had a lot of over-cooked versions because it always seemed so dense and dry. But I did a lovely Swordfish Souvlaki - fat skewers of fish get grilled up and served with Naan bread, tzaziki and a Greek Salad. So fresh and summery! The marinade is simple and I've been getting gorgeous fresh Swordfish at Price Chopper lately so I highly recommend doing this recipe sooner rather than later.

Alton Brown's Potato Salad
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 pounds red potatoes
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1/2 tablespoon very thinly sliced garlic
3 tablespoons fine chopped cornichons
1/2 cup small dice red onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Place potatoes into a large heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with cold water and place over medium heat. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and remove lid. Gently simmer until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Slice potatoes into rounds or cut into large dice and place into a zip top bag. Add the vinegar and toss to coat all of the potatoes. Place the bag into the refrigerator overnight. (Even letting them marinate 30 minutes makes an impact).

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, parsley, tarragon, garlic, cornichons, onions, and celery. Once evenly combined, add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Let the salad chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

Nashville-Style Hot Chicken
Serves 4
*Based on the recipe from Hattie B's

1 3-pound chicken, each cut into pieces (breasts halved)
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk or whole milk with the juice of a lemon added
1 tablespoon vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Crystal or Tabasco)
2 cups all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)
3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Special equipment:
A deep-fry thermometer

1. Toss chicken with black pepper and 1 tablespoon salt in a large bowl. Cover and chill at least 3 hours. Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 2 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.

2. Fit a Dutch oven with thermometer; pour in oil to measure 2". Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°. Pat chicken dry. Working with 1 piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.

3. Working in batches and returning oil to 325° between batches, fry chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of pieces registers 160° for white meat and 165° for dark, 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.

4. Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup frying oil. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve immediately.

Swordfish Souvlaki
Serves 4

*Serve this with a little Greek Salad and you've got a perfectly flavorful, fresh, vibrant dinner.

1 pound skinless swordfish steak (about 1 inch thick), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large cucumber
8-oz plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic, mashed to a paste with 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 12-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water 1 hour
4 slices Naan bread

1. Prepare grill for medium-high heat.

2. In a bowl toss swordfish with lemon juice, oregano, olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste and marinate, cover and chill, 15 minutes.

3. Peel and seed cucumber, dice finely. In a small bowl stir together cucumber, yogurt, mint, garlic paste, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Thread fish onto skewers and grill on an oiled rack turning once, until just cooked through, about 8 minutes. Add Naan bread to grill and cook until heated through and slightly charred.
Serve Family-style, letting everyone build their own wraps.


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