- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 8, 2004

This distinctive recipe for chicken lavished with a balanced range of seasonings, fruity to peppery, comes from the 2004 “Food & Wine: An Entire Year of Recipes” cookbook (Food & Wine).

The editors of this collection, which is attractively presented and illustrated with color photos, say putting it together makes it clear how culinary trends change from year to year. A few that were big this year: global comfort foods; protein, protein and more protein; power brunches; and classic desserts revamped.

Chapters group conventional categories of dishes from starters through beverages; there are kitchen tips added to every chapter and suggestions for easy-to-find wines to pair with dishes.

Chicken with fresh apricots, ginger and cracked almonds

16 whole blanched almonds (2 ounces)

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

4 ripe apricots, pitted and quartered

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves


Freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced separately

½ teaspoon very finely grated lime zest

½ Scotch bonnet or habanero chili, seeded and thinly sliced

½ cup dry white wine

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the almonds in a pie plate, and bake them for 8 minutes, or until fragrant and browned; let cool. Crack the almonds coarsely with the side of a large knife.In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the apricots, cut sides down, and cook over moderate heat until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the apricots, and cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer to a plate.

Add the olive oil to the skillet, and heat until shimmering. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and add them to the skillet. Cook over moderately high heat until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the breasts; cook over moderately low heat until just white throughout, about 7 minutes longer. Transfer the chicken to the plate with the apricots.

Add the ginger, scallion whites, lime zest and chili to the skillet; cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the wine, and simmer over moderately high heat, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the maple syrup, apricots and chicken, and simmer just until heated through; season with salt and pepper.

Transfer the chicken to plates, and spoon the sauce on top. Sprinkle with the cracked almonds and scallion greens, and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Wine suggestion: Bright, citrusy Riesling.


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