I love the farmers’ market. After a long winter of eating produce grown a thousand miles from where I am doing my grocery shopping, spring arrives and I make my first trip to the farmers’ market. There I buy my favorite spring vegetable—rosy little French breakfast radishes which I eat in the French manner, dipping them in salt, accompanied with slices of buttered French bread. After a time, the excitement of the spring market begins to lose its’ allure. I am waiting for summer to do its work. The stars of summer don’t begin to make their appearance until late July. In the last few weeks we have had a bonanza–fresh corn, eggplants, tomatoes, summer squash, new potatoes, and of course, sumptuous summer fruit. As I move from stall to stall, I feel like the kid in a candy store and I have to fight the urge to buy everything I see. This week the eggplants were irresistable.
- 2 small firm eggplants, cut into 1 ” cubes
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 4 to 6 pieces of chicken of similar size
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 slices of thick cut bacon, snipped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 2 Tbs. flour
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 anchovy fillets
- 1 14oz. can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1 c. chicken broth
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the eggplant, season with 1 tsp. of salt and some freshly ground pepper. Cook, stirring until just beginning to brown. Remove and set aside.
- Fry the bacon in a heavy oven-ready pot until just crisp. Remove and set aside.
- Add 1 Tbs. of butter to the pot and heat over medium-high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and freshly ground pepper. Saute until just brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Add the rest of the butter along with the chopped onion, garlic, anchovey fillets, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring until onion has softened. Add the dried basil, oregano and the reserved bacon into the pot and stir. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the white wine and bring to a boil, stirring the sauce. Add the chicken broth and canned tomatoes and bring up to a simmer. Return chicken pieces into the pot and let it come to a simmer.
- Cover the pot and braise the chicken in the oven for about 30 minutes, until fork tender.
- Sprinkle with parsely and serve over white rice or egg noodles.