These recipes are part of a new partnership between Christopher Kimball and the cooks at Milk Street and the Globe Magazine’s Cooking column.
The beauty of Italian cuisine lies in its respect for simplicity, with basic ingredients prepared in a way that lets each one shine. For the end of summer, we’ve selected a menu of easy Italian classics that do much of the work for you. Grilled chicken gets a Sicilian treatment with a lemon zest marinade, brightened with a garlicky herb-lemon sauce to finish. On the side, a vibrant salad of shaved zucchini with Parmesan and honey-lemon vinaigrette gains texture from chopped hazelnuts and freshness from a handful of basil and mint. And finally, fresh orange slices bathed in caramel sauce — known as Aranci Caramellizzati — make for a bright and bold dessert.
GRILLED CHICKEN SALMORIGLIO
Makes 4 servings
If you opt to use a mixture of bone-in chicken breasts and thighs or drumsticks (or leg quarters), keep in mind that white meat is done at 160 degrees and dark meat at 175, so the breasts may finish ahead of the legs.
Don’t use a fork to move the chicken pieces on the grill; a fork creates holes that allow juices to escape, resulting in drier meat. Use tongs instead.
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, trimmed
¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Grate 2 teaspoons zest from the lemons, then halve them crosswise and set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the zest, oil, garlic, oregano, 1¼ teaspoons salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Transfer ¼ cup of the mixture to a large bowl, add the chicken, and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature while preparing the grill.
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for indirect cooking. For a charcoal grill, ignite a large chimney of coals, let burn until lightly ashed over, then distribute the coals evenly over one side of the grill bed and open the bottom grill vents. Heat the grill, covered, for 5 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate. For a gas grill, turn all burners to high and heat, covered, for 15 minutes, then clean and oil the cooking grate; leave the primary burner on high and turn the remaining burner(s) to low.
Place the chicken, skin side up, on the cooler side of the grill. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Using tongs, reposition the chicken so that the pieces farthest from the fire are now closest; keep the chicken skin side up. Re-cover and continue to cook until the thickest part of the breast, if using, reaches 160 degrees or the thickest part of the thighs and drumsticks, if using, reaches 175 degrees, another 5 to 10 minutes.
Using tongs, flip the chicken skin side down onto the hot side of the grill. Cook until the skin is lightly browned and crisp, 1 to 2 minutes, moving the chicken as needed to avoid flare-ups. Transfer the chicken to a platter, skin side up, and let rest for about 5 minutes.
While the chicken rests, grill the lemon halves cut side down on the hot side of the grate until grill-marked, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze 2½ tablespoons juice from 1 or 2 of the grilled lemon halves, then stir the juice along with the parsley into the reserved garlic-lemon oil to make the salmoriglio. Serve the sauce and the remaining grilled lemon halves with the chicken.
Follow the recipe to marinate the chicken. Heat the oven to 450 degrees with a rack in the middle position. Place the chicken, skin side up, and the lemon halves, cut side up (trim off the pointed ends so they sit flat), on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until chicken is light golden brown and the thickest part of the breast, if using, reaches 160 degrees or the thickest part of the thighs and drumsticks, if using, reaches 175 degrees, 30 to 40 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter, skin side up, and let rest for 5 minutes. While the chicken rests, follow the directions for making the salmoriglio using the roasted lemon halves.
SHAVED ZUCCHINI AND HERB SALAD WITH PARMESAN
Makes 4 servings
A Y-style peeler makes it easy to shave zucchini into ribbons. Don’t worry if the ribbons vary in width; this adds to the visual appeal of the dish. Toasted sliced, slivered, or chopped whole almonds can be used in place of the hazelnuts.
Don’t dress the salad until you are ready to serve. The zucchini and herbs are delicate and quickly wilt.
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice (1 lemon)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound zucchini (2 medium)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus shaved Parmesan to serve
½ cup lightly packed mint leaves, torn
½ cup lightly packed basil leaves, torn
¼ cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, and coarsely chopped
In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Holding the zucchini by the stem, use a Y-style peeler to shave it from top to bottom into ribbons; rotate the zucchini as you go, and stop shaving when you reach the seedy core. Discard the cores.
Whisk the dressing to recombine, then add the shaved zucchini, grated cheese, mint, and basil, and toss gently until evenly coated. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with shaved Parmesan and hazelnuts.
CARAMEL ORANGES (ARANCI CARAMELLIZZATI)
Makes 6 servings
Substituting fresh orange juice for the water in a traditional caramel produces a more complex citrus flavor. We add only a portion of the juice to start so the sugar will caramelize faster, then finish with the rest. Swirling the butter in at the end helps cool and stabilize the sauce and adds just enough richness. We began developing this recipe using two cinnamon sticks but also enjoy the unique flavor of star anise. Both will work, as will 6 lightly crushed green cardamom pods.
We like the oranges served with ice cream, thick yogurt, or pound cake and topped with toasted chopped nuts.
8 medium navel or Cara Cara oranges (about 4½ pounds) or a combination
1 cup (7 ounces) white sugar
2 cinnamon sticks or star anise pods
2 tablespoons salted butter
Juice 2 of the oranges to yield ¾ cup juice. (If 2 oranges don’t yield enough juice, add water to measure ¾ cup.) Set aside.
Slice off the top and bottom ½ inch from each of the remaining 6 oranges. Stand each orange on one of its flat ends and use a sharp knife to cut down and around the fruit, following the contours of the flesh and peeling away all the skin and white pith. Turn each orange on its side and thinly slice crosswise into rounds. In a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, arrange the rounds, slightly overlapping, in a single layer.
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, ¼ cup of the orange juice, and the cinnamon or star anise. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat (this should take 2 to 3 minutes) and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar begins to color at the edges, another 3 to 5 minutes. (The bubbles should go from thin and frothy to thick and shiny.)
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, swirling the pan often, until the sugar is coppery-brown, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter, then whisk until melted.
Add a splash of the remaining orange juice and whisk until smooth (the mixture will steam and bubble vigorously), then add the remaining orange juice and whisk until fully incorporated. If the caramel separates and sticks to the bottom of the pan, return it to the heat and simmer until the hardened caramel dissolves.
Pour the caramel evenly over the oranges, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 6 hours.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the oranges to a serving platter or individual plates, allowing the liquid caramel to drip off into the baking dish. Remove and discard the star anise or cinnamon from the caramel, then whisk to recombine and mix in any juices. Pour the caramel over the oranges and serve.