Summer's parting sighs, a glorious salad, and fast roasted Cornish hens
It's the end of summer.
Kids are back to school, the glossy, carefree schedules of summer give way to tighter ones involving alarm clocks and new pencils, and the light drifts a little sideways, leaving the sky sooner than we'd like.
But there's time enough for one last summer picnic. One last sunny hurrah.
Here are a few easy, quick recipes to get you out of the kitchen so you can celebrate with friends and family, calling back those shimmering summer evenings, if just for a day.
Char vegetables with a little olive oil and salt in the top of your EuroCAST double roaster to realize a bit of their valuable juices for this salad.
The Cornish hens are spatchcocked (which you can have your butcher do but doing it is dead easy with a sharp pair of good kitchen shears). Either way, you can have them prepped, cooked, and resting with a super-easy honey and lemon zest splash in under 45 minutes.
That's just enough time to roast the veggies and compose the salad. All done, all at once.
Just like the end of summer.
Spatchcocked Cornish hens and roasted vegetable salad
Our goal: speed, simplicity, and sumptuousness. You've got two things going on: salad and hens.
Details on the hen and salad process below.
In your EuroCAST 12" sauté pan, lay the spatchcocked hens flesh-side up, rub on some extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven at 475 degree F, removing the handle before cooking. After 20-25 minutes, the hens will be done. Check that the juices run clear. Remove (re-inserting your EuroCAST handle). Set aside to rest. Right before service, brush onto them a mixture of lemon juice and honey. That little touch adds a beautiful glisten, a little bit of citrus acid, and a lovely texture.
Roasted vegGIE 'n' rice salad
A combo that can take a number of additions and adjustments depending on the size of your party.
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 large head romaine lettuce sliced thin
- 1 bag washed arugula
- 1 cup toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds
- 1 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 cups roughly chopped roasted vegetables
- Grape tomatoes
- Bias-cut carrots
In your EuroCAST double roaster top, add a quick splash of olive oil, a good dash of kosher salt and give the veggies 20 minutes st 425 degrees F. Let those juices flow.
Compose bottom up in this order:
- Toasted nuts
- Goat cheese
There's so much flavor already from the nuts and cheese and sweetness of the veggies, you just need a super simple dressing of olive oil and vinegar in the classic 3:1 ratio, S&P, whisk and pour over the salad to distribute it. You shouldn't toss the salad now that you've composed it. And ... Don't overdress.
In which you learn more about good food and how to make it.
Our friends at Wikipedia remind us that spatchcock, also known as spattlecock, is poultry or game prepared for roasting or grilling by removing the backbone -- and sometimes the bird's breast bone -- and flattening it out before cooking. Sometimes the technique is called butterflying, a very sweet thought at the end of summer when butterflies flutter by on their way to their mysterious Fall haunts.
I've been roasting spatchcocked chickens and hens for years on outside grills because it gives a golden crispness all over in an Olympic-fast cooking time.
Spatchcocked Cornish hens should cook through beautifully in just 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to rest them so the juices come back into the flesh to keep the birds moist.