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The Star is Roasted

September 27, 2000|ABBY MANDEL | Mandel is a cookbook author

Roasted chicken is always a favorite with dinner guests, and this version is one of the best I have made. Just be sure you have a self-cleaning oven; the spatter is tremendous.

I like to cook the chicken in the late morning or afternoon and serve it at room temperature. That way, you can have it done before company arrives.

The salad is adapted from the Crillon Hotel in Paris. It's colorful and has enough flavor to enhance the chicken.

A bowl of raspberries, sprinkled with sugar and served with a squeeze of lemon, would make a delicious dessert. Serve this meal with a wedge of cheese, sliced French bread and a chilled white wine.

Roasted Chicken With Shallots and Tarragon

Active Work Time: 15 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 (2 3/4-pound) chickens

2 tablespoons seasoning salt

1 tablespoon lemon pepper

2 large shallots, halved

1 small bunch tarragon

Tarragon sprigs, for garnish

* Rub oil over surface and inside of chickens. Combine seasoning salt and lemon pepper in small dish. Sprinkle chickens inside and out. (Can be done several hours ahead or overnight and refrigerated. Before roasting, let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.)

* Place chickens, breast side down, on rack set in shallow roasting pan or jellyroll pan (be sure to space chickens at least 2 inches apart). Place shallots and tarragon, divided evenly, into cavities. Tuck wings under; tie legs together.

* Roast at 425 degrees on lower oven rack until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Use large meat fork inserted into cavity to turn chickens breast side up. Roast until well browned and meat thermometer inserted between thigh and leg registers 180 degrees (or insert tip of paring knife to be sure juices run clear), about 25 minutes more, depending on size of chickens.

* To serve, remove shallots and tarragon and discard. Cut chickens in half, removing backbones with kitchen shears. Transfer chickens to platter; garnish with tarragon. Serve hot or at room temperature.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 382 calories; 143 mg sodium; 125 mg cholesterol; 24 grams fat; 1 gram carbohydrates; 39 grams protein; 0.03 gram fiber.

Le Crillon's Haricot Vert Salad

Active Work Time and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

2/3 pound haricots verts, stem ends trimmed

Coarse salt

2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard

1 1/2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar

1/2 large egg yolk

1/4 cup walnut oil

1/4 cup canola oil

Freshly ground pepper

2 large heads Belgian endive, cut crosswise into 3/8-inch wide slices

1 head Boston lettuce, cut crosswise into 3/8-inch wide slices

1 tomato, outer shell only, cut into 1/4-inch dice

* Cook haricots verts in large pot salted water, uncovered, until just tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain immediately, hold briefly under running water to stop cooking, then spread on cloth towel to drain. (Can be done several hours ahead; do not refrigerate.)

* Whisk together mustard, vinegar, 1/2 yolk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl, mixing well. Slowly add walnut and canola oils, whisking until combined. Whisk in pepper. (Can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated.)

* To serve, place lettuces in bowl. Toss with 1/2 vinaigrette until well coated. Adjust seasoning. Put haricots verts in another bowl and toss with remaining vinaigrette; arrange on greens. Garnish with tomato. Serve immediately.

4 to 6 servings. Each of 6 servings: 244 calories; 258 mg sodium; 23 mg cholesterol; 20 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams protein; 2.56 grams fiber.


Note: Although many recipes call for uncooked eggs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found them to be a potential carrier of food-borne illness and recommends that infants, the elderly and immuno-compromised people avoid raw eggs.

Fresh Raspberries With a Squeeze of Lemon

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 5 minutes

1 pint raspberries, room temperature

4 to 6 teaspoons sugar

1 large lemon

* Divide raspberries among dessert bowls.

* At serving time, sprinkle with sugar; squeeze lemon over.

2 to 4 servings. Each of 4 servings: 58 calories; 0 sodium; 0 cholesterol; 0 fat; 15 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 2.34 grams fiber.


La Picola Bottega bowl from D'Laria Italian Ceramics, Los Angeles.

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