Weeknight Chicken Marbella, Briny and Lush With Olives and Prunes

Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

My parents’ initiation into elevated home cooking came by way of Julia Child’s soufflés and coq au vin, but for me the gateway was phyllo triangles and carrot cake from “The Silver Palate Cookbook.” That milestone book, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins, made cooking seem easy, playful and fun, with a lighthearted tone and recipes that captured the fresh and casually stylish zeitgeist of the early 1980s. For better or worse, it introduced an entire generation to arugula, raspberry vinegar and homemade walnut-basil pesto (that last one whirled in a blender).

Of all the “Silver Palate” recipes, perhaps the most famous is chicken Marbella, a cutup bird baked with olives, capers, prunes and brown sugar. Winy, savory, glossy and sweet, it was the “it” dish on the dinner party circuit for at least a decade.

Forty-something years later, Rick Martinez has updated chicken Marbella, streamlining the technique to make it weeknight-friendly and tweaking the flavors so they lean more tangy than syrupy. It’s still just as dinner party-worthy, but since it’s ready in 45 minutes, it’s also great for dinner after work.

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Weeknight Chicken Marbella

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Sheet-pan cooking wasn’t a thing in the ’80s, but I know the “Silver Palate” authors would have been all over it, because clever, time-saving recipes like Hetty Lui McKinnon’s pierogies with brussels sprouts and kimchi are right up their alley. Roasting the pierogies gives them a golden, crisp exterior while they stay soft and pillowy inside, and you don’t need to boil them first. Both the brussels sprouts and the kimchi caramelize in the oven’s high heat, adding texture and a spicy depth, while dilled sour cream (which Julee and Sheila almost certainly would have called “dilly cream”) is the perfect cooling counterpart.

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