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Dinnertime Tricks: Getting Everyone to Eat Together with a Summer Chicken and Arugula Salad Recipe

I’m not sure what’s more vexing—coming to an agreement on our national budget, or getting kids and parents to enjoy the same thing for dinner. But meals don’t have to be big battles, provided everyone can work together (that’s a hint, Congress).

Say you want to eat a delicious summer salad of roast chicken, caramelized onions, charred red peppers, and crispy potatoes, seasoned with thyme and assembled over bed of fresh arugula. But your kids turn their noses up at new things, especially green things.

Be brave. Make the dinner you want to eat, but be smart: Serve it family style with the parts of the meal separated. Put the chicken on one platter, and the potatoes, onions, and peppers in a different bowl. Bring the arugula to the table by itself. This way, the kids can serve themselves the things they like, and the adults can have an elegant, tasty, semi-sophisticated dinner, too. 

I did this the other night, and it was a great success. I admit I hedged a bit. Nina and Pinta may gobble up raw sage, mint, basil, and other green herbs, but the arugula was too bitter for them. So I made a little broccoli for them to eat, on the side.

The kids ate what they wanted, and went off to play. Santa Maria and I enjoyed lingering at the table on a summer evening. Then, Nina came back to the table for more potatoes. She loved them. I said, “Do you know what herb is on them? Thyme.” She screwed up her face and cracked a sly smile. "Time?” she said. “You mean you put clocks on the potatoes?"

Arugula, Chicken, and Roasted Red Pepper Salad


  • 1 Chicken, cut into parts
  • 3 or 4 red potatoes, diced
  • One Onion, sliced
  • One Red Pepper, sliced
  • Olive Oil, a drizzle
  • Thyme, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper
  • White wine
  • Arugula


Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees

Combine the chicken, the onion, the pepper, the potatoes, the thyme, and the olive oil in a roasting pan (use two pans if necessary; don't crowd).
Arrange the chicken so it is skin side up.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Roast the chicken and the vegetables until the onion and pepper are soft and the chicken is crispy and cooked through, about a half hour.
Remove the chicken and vegetables and deglaze the pan with white wine.
Put the chicken and vegetables over the arugula and dress with the sauce from the roasting pan.


All of this can be made in advance. In that case, skip the deglazing step and dress the salad with white wine vinegar. You won’t need oil because of the chicken fat on the vegetables. Serve with fresh bread.

This recipe is adapted from “Gourmet Everyday.”

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