But from all reports it's Mark Bittman, cookbook author (he wrote my favorite all-purpose/ new-cook cookbook, How To Cook Everything) and New York Times columnist. That's what I read and I believe it. No matter how unlikely his recipes may seem I follow them. I will choose a recipe from Bittman before many other writers and I am never disappointed.
Tonight I wanted something flavorful, not too heavy (it was a pretty warm day after all), and pretty easy clean up. Surfing around the internet -- I found a simple dish, broiled chicken with a honey fig sauce. We have figs, we have honey (we always have honey), and we even had an open bottle of white wine so off I went.
Following his recipe I put 2 TB of honey and a splash of water in a saucepan and brought it to a boil. I allowed the honey to boil gently for about a minute and added in 1/2 cup white wine, the zest and juice of 1/4 orange, 1/2 cup dried figs, diced, 1/2 tsp of whole coriander, s&P, and a pinch of cayenne and let the sauce simmer/ gently boil for about 15 minutes until the figs were soft.
Meanwhile I pre-heated the broiler and set a rack so the chicken would be about 6 inches from the heat. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper and broiled for 10 minute son a side until it was browned, crispy, and cooked through.
As a side dish I steamed some cauliflower until it was tender (it was orange cauliflower, hence the bright color) and puréed it in the food processor with a bit of bitter, olive oil, salt, pepper, and a dash of z'atar -- a middle eastern spice mixture that James loves and truly is magic with cauliflower.
I could have strained the sauce and made the presentations a little less, let's say rustic. But the figs were so flavorful I traded a bit of elegance (as the author says he does) for flavor.
Three cheers for Mark Bittman!