Arthur Schwartz

Several days ago, Food & Wine Magazine deemed "Radically Simple" their favorite cookbook of 2010 and cited a recipe inspired by my dear friend Arthur Schwartz, who is, undoubtedly the reason many of you are reading my blog this morning. The recipe for Chicken Thighs with Rosemary and Two Paprikas, says Kristin Donnelly in the F&W blog, is "the perfect weeknight dish.  Besides the minced garlic that's rubbed all over the thighs, the recipes only contains the ingredients in the title but tastes amazingly complex." (recipe below)

I owe a lot to Arthur.  As I write in the acknowledgments page of "Radically Simple," there are two men who stand out among all the others in influencing my mind and heart--two who have caressed and challenged me to become a better writer, a deeper thinker, and a better cook. One is my husband; the other is Arthur Schwartz.  Arthur, the food writer, critic, and radio personality known for his extraordinary culinary expertise, has been one of my very best friends since 1978 when we met in the kitchen of Gracie Mansion.  I had just become chef to Mayor Ed Koch, and Arthur was the restaurant critic of the New York Daily News.  We have spoken almost daily ever since then.  Arthur's cooking style has influenced mine for decades.  He is the master of simplicity and authenticity -- specifically in Italian regional cuisine, but he also possesses great knowledge of the foodways of many other cultures.  It is a joy to have him in my life.   In the case of the said chicken recipe, Arthur uses chicken legs (with thighs) and no garlic at all.

In addition to Arthur's many award-winning cookbooks which you can purchase online, Arthur has recently created an "on-line" store which you will enjoy shopping in!  It should be your go-to place this holiday season to buy cookbooks and presents galore.  He has a dynamite seltzer-making kit, a chrome 4-slice toaster with 50's styling, an instant-read thermometer, and a meat-grinder attachment for your KitchenAid.  You can also purchase "Radically Simple", and our cookbooks, through his site.  Arthur, since I've known him, has always wanted to have a store...not a restaurant!  Wise man.  He has superlative taste in all things related to food, cooking, design, culinary history, and tabletop wares.  Simply go to the

In short, Arthur is a treasure with a treasure chest.

Enjoy the chicken.  Serve it with a pan full of garlicky sauteed broccoli rabe and open a bottle of retro, but not forgotten, Chianti or Soave. And how about a radically simple dessert?  Peeled sliced pears tossed with a bit of grappa and sugar and topped with lemon sorbet.

Chicken Thighs with Rosemary & Two Paprikas This is among our family's favorite emergency meals, inspired by food maven Arthur Schwartz.  Arthur says that placing the chicken on the top rack of the oven is an important step in the recipe's success.

8 very large bone-in chicken thighs, skin-on 2 large garlic cloves 4 teaspoons sweet paprika 4 teaspoons smoked paprika 16 large sprigs fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Make 2 deep slits across the width of each thigh.  Push the garlic through a press and rub into the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mix the paprikas with 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Sprinkle the mixture into the slits, then place a rosemary sprig in each slit.  Arrange the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet.  Roast in the top oven rack for 40 to 45 minutes until firm and cooked through but still juicy.  Serves 4