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Jun 27, 2019 2:02 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Keep It Simple When Cooking For July Fourth

Jun 28, 2019 11:07 AM

The perfect menu for a Fourth of July celebration is one that does not require exact timing! The fresh herb and turmeric seasoned roast chicken is the perfect example—serving it at room temperature does not affect the integrity of the flavor. Here’s a tasty tip—slipping the herb and turmeric seasonings under the skin adds color and flavor with extra crispy skin.

Look for Lebanese couscous in a specialty food store. The grains are larger, requiring more liquid and longer cooking than smaller couscous. Lemon juice, parsley, and bell peppers in the couscous complement the flavors of the chicken. Another tasty tip—make the couscous a day ahead, refrigerate overnight and bring to room temperature before serving.

When choosing zucchini look for unblemished firm smooth-skinned ones (about six inches long and no more than one and one-half inches round.) Grill zucchini first, then white onions and tomatoes in a basket to keep them from falling through the grid. Or use a grill pan on top of the grill!

Serve strawberry pie from last week’s column or spoon strawberries and blueberries over vanilla ice cream for a red, white, and blue dessert! Happy summer holiday and Bon appetit!

Herb And Turmeric With Lemon Roast Chicken(Serves 6)1, 4 1/2-5 pound roasting chicken, (preferably organic) rinsed and patted dry

2 large lemons, 1 zest grated and juiced, 1 cut in half

Sea salt

For the cavity and roasting pan:

2 large carrots, peeled and chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

For under the skin seasoning: About 1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley leaves

8 to 10 fresh basil leaves

1 sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed

1 teaspoon turmeric or more to taste

Optional: 2 large cloves garlic, minced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

About 2 tablespoons coconut oil or unsalted butter

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Lemon wedges and sprigs of herbs for garnishTo prepare: One day ahead, wash the chicken under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the inside and out with cut side of the lemon. Sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper.

Chop the carrots, celery, onion and scatter on the bottom of a roasting pan fitted with a roasting rack.

Chop parsley, basil, and rosemary together, add lemon zest, garlic, and mix in turmeric, salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. With your fingers, work coconut oil or butter into the herbs. Slip the herb mixture under the skin on the breast and legs; rub the remaining mixture on the skin. Place a few chopped vegetables from the pan inside the chicken and truss with cotton string.

Set the chicken (breast side up) on the rack, seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

To roast: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove chicken from the refrigerator about one hour before roasting. Drizzle olive oil on the skin and add one cup water to the vegetables in the pan. Roast the chicken in the center of the oven until the skin on the breast is evenly brown, about 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over, breast side down in the rack and roast until the back skin is brown, another 15 to 20 minutes. Add more water to the pan if vegetables are dry. Turn the chicken, breast side up, and continue roasting until the legs move up and down freely and juices run clear when pierced with a two-pronged fork (the thigh temperature should reach 185 degrees F) about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving or serve at room temperature.

Meanwhile, pour the cooking juices into a gravy strainer, remove the fat and discard the vegetables. Pour juices into a saucepan over high heat. Add half of the lemon juice, bring to a boil, and reduce about five minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Carve the chicken, arrange on platter garnished with fresh herbs and lemon wedges. Pour the sauce into a small pitcher for drizzling over the chicken.Lebanese Couscous(Serves 6)2 cups Lebanese couscous (sometimes called pearl couscous)

3 to 4 cups good quality chicken stock

1 tablespoon olive oil, or more if needed

Juice of one lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

1/2 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, dicedTo prepare:In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the stock, olive oil, and lemon juice to a boil. Add the couscous, stir well, and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until nearly all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 to 25 minutes. The couscous should be tender but still hold its shape. Taste, add more stock if necessary. Cooking time will depend on the size of the couscous. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Add salt and pepper fluff with a fork. Toss with parsley, scallions, and red pepper. Taste and correct the seasonings and add more olive oil if necessary. Grilled Zucchini With Onions And Blistered Tomatoes(Serves 6)8 to 12 small (about 6 to 7 inches long) zucchini/scrubbed

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

2 large white onions

2 pints grape tomatoes, washed and well drained

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional: chopped fresh herbs for garnish To prepare:Scrub zucchini with a vegetable brush under cold running water and trim off stem and blossom end. Cut lengthwise in half, place flat side down on the board and cut into quarters or sixths. Transfer to a shallow dish, drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Cut onions through the root end in half, remove outer skin, and cut each half into even lengthwise wedges. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill to high. Arrange the zucchini on the grill, cook, turning every so often until grill marks appear and they are crunch tender, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Transfer to a side dish. Grill onions and cook, turning until grill marks appear and they are tender and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes and transfer to a side dish.

Place tomatoes in a grill basket or pan, shaking constantly until blistered, but do not let them burst, about 1 to 2 minutes. Toss tomatoes with the zucchini/onions, taste and adjust the seasonings. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs

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