Next day I decided to make one of the favourite dishes of my wife, chicken in milk out of Jamie Oliver's Happy Days with the Naked Chef, a really succulent and easy dish, based on a peculiar effect when the lemon curdles the milk and creates a fresh tasting and really fantastic sauce. I'm not giving you the recipe, buy the book, it's full of great tips. But what you really need and makes in my eyes the difference is the quality of the lemon, and you need sun soaked untreated fresh lemon skin. So when you travel, or have friends who travel to the sun, don't forget, you can do really great things with them.
On the picture you can see the lemon peel and the other main ingredients, garlic, cinnamon and sage. The quality of the chicken is of course also important. But what to drink with it ?
We went for a small competition, Germany against France. The Anjou Blanc 2007 of René Mosse was a great wine, but a bit too much with an aroma and taste of dried fruits and wax and this did not combine that well. My favourite with chicken is and allways will be pinot noir, and despite the lemon it proved again a great combination. In this case it was the basic spätburgunder Ahrweiler from Adeneuer, a 2011, soft but with very nice fruit, i noted pomegranate, and the freshness and the fruit combined incredibly well with the fat and the freshness of the chicken.
One lemon left...
Some very good friends have the luck that they have a house in Malta. We have the luck that they chose to celebrate New Years Eve with us, in Belgium, and they brought us a culinary gift that allways makes me a very happy man: some lemons from their garden, untreated, sun-soaked and of course unwaxed.
Three lemons are just enough to prepare two favourite dishes, and this was the first: penne with lemon skin and mozzarella.
1 lemon, bio and unwaxed (bio lemon might be waxed but the wax does not contain petroleum derivates, so it's ok, straight from a mediterranean garden you know is of course better)
250 gr mozzarella
500 gr penne
basil (a good handful)
black pepper and salt
Wash and skin the lemon and divide the skin in small parts. Wash the basil and do the same. Mix the two ingredients in a bowl and add pepper and salt.
Cut the mozarella in 1 cm slices and roll them though the lemon-basil mixture (both sides).
Cook the penne.
Heat 4 spoons of olive oil in a pan. Put in the mozarella slices when the pan is heated, very short, just a sizzle to each side.
Mix the drained penne with two spoons of good olive oil.
Serve the penne with a few slices of mozza on top and sprinkle the rest of the mixture on top. Parmesan cheese is not necessary (I like it though, Mrs Rick doesn't).
We had a great Radici, Fiano di Avellino 2010 from Mastroberardino with it, a very good combination. Mastroberardino's vineyards are located close to Naples and i love to combine the south with the south. A Sicilian white would have been perfect too. Mastroberardino has some fantastic wines and its whites are gorgeous.