I’ve never been to Malibu, but after reading the Malibu Farm cookbook cover to cover it feels like I just got back from the Left Coast. Helene Henderson’s writing is straightforward and the recipes she created emphasize produce of the highest quality grown by her local community of farmers, beekeepers, and herdsmen. The dishes are homey and familiar, something you could throw together at a moment’s notice, with enough international flair to feel fresh.
One caveat – the preparations are simple and the instructions bare bones assuming the reader knows details like how hot a skillet should be to pan-fry fish or cook an egg. Most recipes and their ingredients are approachable, perhaps with the exception of the whole roasted lamb or boar sausage, but even experienced cooks will find lots to inspire with these riffs on California cuisine. At this point the pages of my copy are bristling with tabs noting the dishes I want to make – particularly exciting as the summer approaches and ingredients like sweet corn and plums come into season.
For the moment I’ve settled on the Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken which pairs the savory depth of chicken legs with the bright, light lemon and honey marinade. The skin turns deep mahogany as the sugar in the honey burns and caramelizes. Finishing the cooking in the oven maintains the juiciness of the meat and ensures it’s perfectly done when the pan emerges.
Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken (serves 4)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon (1 medium clove) grated garlic
3 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 pinch saffron strands
1/4 cup (1 large) fresh lemon juice
4 bone-in, skin on chicken legs
In a small sauté pan, cook the butter and grated garlic together over low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the garlic turns soft and fragrant. Off the heat, stir in the honey and juice from the lemon. Allow to cool.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken legs liberally with kosher salt. Place in a ziptop plastic bag and pour in the cooled marinade. Press out the air and seal tightly making sure each piece of chicken is coated in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large sauté pan, heat 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat and place the pieces of chicken skin side down in the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes until the chicken skin is deep brown and crisp. Turn the chicken over, skin side up, and place in the oven. Roast for 20-15 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 170 degrees. Serve immediately.
Re-written and adapted from Helene Henderson’s Honey Lemon Saffron Chicken in Malibu Farm Cookbook (page 111).
Small Kitchen Friendly?
Surprisingly, yes! I used one small sauté pan, one large sauté pan, a small cutting board, utility knife, tongs, a microplane grater, and a ziplock bag.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.