All I need is a little more thyme.

There are few things more beautiful to me than a bunch of thyme sprigs to be used at my disposal. Thyme’s my number one favorite herb – it’s fresh, bright, lemony, soft, earthy, I could go on. Simply delish.

It’s fantastic on root vegetables, chicken, fish, pork, broccoli, asparagus, zuccchini, squash, ANYTHING! I love its versatility. On vegetables or fish, it’s light, delicate flavor is enhanced, while on pork or root vegetables (such as potatoes), it takes on a rustic, hearty quality.

I woke up at 11:00 today, and for a lot of people, that’s late. But I just really love sleep, so any extra time I can get is lovely. 11:00 was a bit late for breakfast, though, so I went straight to lunch.

Friday was grocery shopping day as I mentioned in my previous post, and I purchased a rotisserie chicken (as well as fresh thyme). I took it apart yesterday, and I have to say that there’s something slightly satisfying about completely obliterating a chicken. Not sure what it is, but I certainly enjoyed that process.

When it came down to deciding what to eat, I just pulled out some ingredients and looked at them until I formed an idea: broccolini, chicken, shitake mushrooms, kalamata olives, and *drum roll* thyme! It’s times like these where I don’t get too fancy and just make a mixture of things, all cooked in the same pan. This one turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself.

Extra-virgin olive oil in the pan, get it heating, move on (just don’t let it start smoking). Take the stems off the shitakes, and wipe the caps off with a damp paper towel. Slice ’em up, and into the oil they go. Stir them a bit, then spread them out. (I watched Julie & Julia last night. “Don’t crowd the mushrooms or they won’t brown.”)

Broccolini time (thyme?). Tear off the dark green leaves on the stalks and cut off a bit of the end. It just tends to be tougher and not pleasant to eat. Cut into chunks and make sure the tops are fairly uniform in size with the rest. When the mushrooms have browned a bit, salt and pepper them. Throw in the veg and stir.

THYME! I like to use quite a bit, so don’t judge. I get several good-sized sprigs. Hold at the top end with one hand, and with the other pull down from the opposite direction of growth so you peel them right off. Pile it up and run your knife through it, just a rough chop is fine. Into the pan.

Take as many of the rotisserie chicken pieces as you want and cut into chunks. Into the pan as well.

Let it go until the chicken is warmed through, then we do the olives. Take about 6 olives and chope them fairly roughly. It doesn’t have to be perfect, guys. Mix into everything else and warm through (maybe a miunute).

I love a lot of things about this dish. For one thing, everything is interchangeable; you can use whatever you like and it will still be delicious. With this mixture, though, I love how the rich earthiness of the mushrooms, the buttery chicken, the crunch of the broccolini and the salty tang of the olives, and the fresh, lemony flavor of the thyme work together and even everything out.

There’s a lot of flavor going on here, and it’s all about learning what goes together. Once you start cooking, you can learn to taste things in your head before you even think about actually tasting it. With a little more THYME (hehe) and experience, it’ll happen.

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~ by jenniferlynnewilliams on September 19, 2010.

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