The conceit is simple: home cooks strut their stuff for a shot at $250,000 and a book deal while dealing with the snarky critiques of Gordon Ramsey and a couple of highly respectable, yet terribly egocentric, guest judges. I am totally hooked, and I am wondering why I am not on it.
During last night's episode, I actually was quite tearful. Here were a group of stay at home moms, software programmers, and everyday Joe's risking national ridicule all because each share a common passion: food. They shared their "signature dishes," prepared with varying degrees of success and finesse all with the hopes of taking one step closer to winning the coveted prize.
Of course, I was inspired.
Flashback to Barbuto. J and I were having our perfect New York al fresco dining moment: I was desperately trying to figure out how to snap a photo with Obi Wan KaWaxman, and J was attempting to fashion a tranquilizer dart out of a bottle of Pelegrino and some chili peppers to keep me from bum rushing the man to get a hug. And then the chicken came.
This was no ordinary chicken. Succulent, juicy, and filled with a verdant freshness that made you understand that this man had been touched by God...or had spent some serious quality time figuring out how to cook barnyard foul.
So...inspired by the Zen-like Grill Master and the hopeful everyday cooks on a reality show, here is my interpretation of Waxman's Herb Chicken
Herb Chicken a la Duff a la Waxman
1 4lb chicken
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 lemon, quartered
For the Slatherin' Goodness
3 garlic cloves
4 anchovy filets
1 Tbl capers
1 tsp fresh thyme
2 Tbl fresh parsley
2 Tbl fresh basil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
salt 'n pepper
Preheat oven to 400. Combine all of the Slatherin' Goodness ingredients in your trusty mini food processor. Whir away until it becomes a green, fragrant pool of love.
Place chicken breast side up in a cast iron skillet. Stuff cavity with onion and lemon. Now slather that chicky with the Slatherin' Goodness, making sure you get underneath the skin as well as covering the entire bird. Cover with foil and roast for 50 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional ten minutes to crisp up that bird.
Allow to rest for a bit before carving. Picture yourself sitting outside in the Meat Packing District with your Valentine and enjoy.