My wife recently she found a recipe on the New York Times website by Donald Link. I’d link to that recipe, but it requires a subscription and it’s also available elsewhere, including at NOLA.com, and at Food 52, where there’s also a video.

I like the recipe a lot because it’s totally Donald Link’s jam – layered flavors and as that person on the Food 52 video points out – it’s using two ingredients that are cured to bring salt and “umami” flavor to the dish: olives and salami. But I’m writing about it now primarily because when we got home from the grocery after having bought all of the ingredients, my wife commented that “this meal is going to cost $32.”

I realized I had the receipts from Rouse’s and Whole Foods, so I thought I’d actually price it out. A few caveats: I am taking into account that we only used part of some ingredients (such as tomato paste and garlic, in which case I’ve done actual math to figure out our cost for the dish. And I’m also going to note ingredients that I have on hand and which I assume you also have on hand. These are things like salt, pepper, bay leaf, flour and red pepper flakes. For things I have on hand that you may not, I’ve used “Instacart” to figure out what Rouse’s charges. I probably should look at the online price at Whole Foods too, because sometimes it’s actually less expensive, but I figure you can do that if you think it’s important and, after all, this is not a scientific paper I’m submitting for peer review.

Here’s the recipe, with the costs of each ingredient noted:

1 (3-1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 pieces (we bought a whole chicken and a pack of chicken thighs; we ended up using the thighs, but the whole chicken was $5.59 and the thighs were $4.70. That was for four thighs, and six would have been better; the recipe calls for a whole chicken, cut up, so I’m going to give you both totals.)

  • 2-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced ($1.29/lb. at Rouse’s, which works out to around $.65)
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced ($4.99/lb and the two heads I bought were .22 pounds. Best guess is that the 5-6 cloves we used cost around $.40. I debated whether to include this, because I had garlic on hand and you probably do too, but I bought it and so could easily do the calculation)
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced (The bulb we bought cost $3.49, and we used a little more than half, so I’m going to say $2.10)
  • 1 (8-inch) rosemary branch (This is a tough one, because I have two huge rosemary bushes. That much rosemary would probably cost you $2.00 if you need to buy it. I’ve added it to the total.)
  • 1-1/2 cups diced salami (On sale at Whole Foods, which looking at the receipt I now realize didn’t give me the sale price. It was supposed to be $5.99, but we paid $7.49. I’m going to go ahead and use $5.99.)
  • 1 cup green olives, cut in half (Also Whole Foods, which has a flat rate of $10.99 for everything in the “Mediterranean Bar,” We spent $3.69 and used around 2/3rds of it, so I’ll say $2.30.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (We used fresh, because I grow oregano and if you don’t, I bet you have the dried on-hand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (We used some boxed pinot grigio, for which I hope you will not judge us. The box cost around $20 and holds 3 liters, thus ½ cup should be about $.78.)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste ($.69 at Rouse’s and we used around 1/3 of the small can, so $.45.)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/4 cups chicken broth (I make chicken broth around once a week and we had it on hand. If you buy it in a carton, you’ll spend around $3.47 for the Emeril’s 32 oz. carton. You’ll have some leftover, so it’s around $1.75.)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon ($3.99 for a bag at Rouse’s, but generally around $.50, which is what I’ll use.)

That’s a total of $22.51 for the dish using a whole chicken and $21.62 using the thighs. The whole chicken version will easily feed four people as an entrée, and the thigh version will feed two or three, again depending on what you serve with it. We made orzo pasta and spinach, but I think the next time I make it I’ll use polenta, or “mush,” as my grandmother called it. Grilled asparagus or zucchini would be excellent in place of the spinach, as would broccoli raab.

The Food 52 video says this recipe is in Link’s “Real Cajun” cookbook, but it’s actually in “Down South.” Both are good books that I hope to review in more detail at some point.

In other news, I received word recently that three local chefs are holding a benefit to raise funds for World Central Kitchen’s Chefs for Ukraine charity. Here’s part of the release:

James Beard: Best Chef South Finalist 2022, Isaac Toups, owner of Toups Meatery in New Orleans, is teaming up with award-winning Chef Nina Compton of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro and Chef Mason Hereford, owner of Bon Appetit’s “Best New Restaurants in America 2017” Turkey and the Wolf and Molly’s Rise and Shine, to host a one-of-a-kind curated private in-home dinner for ten to benefit World Central Kitchen’s (WCK) Chefs for Ukraine.

“We’re devastated by the tragic events happening in Ukraine. Having worked with WCK throughout the pandemic to feed the New Orleans community, we know the incredible work they do and want to support their efforts on the front lines in Ukraine,” says Isaac Toups.

Auction winner will enjoy an extravagant culinary experience, tailored to their preference, from this trio of renowned award-winning Chefs.  It will include multiple courses with wine and/or cocktail pairings, as well as the opportunity to engage and socialize with some of New Orleans’ culinary greats.

Opening bids start at $10,000 and can be made at Rally Up. Bidding is open now and will close on April 20, 2022 at 11:59 pm CST.

*Experience is valid for 10 persons

*Experience may not be transferred, resold, or re-auctioned

*To be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date

*Open to residents of the continental U.S.

*Any travel outside of the state of Louisiana will require travel and accommodations for Chefs and is the responsibility of the winner

*Expires one year from date of purchase

Those are three great chefs and additionally great folks. I’ve had a chance to meat and speak to all three at some length over the years, and if you are fortunate enough to be one of the ten guests at this meal, you will not only enjoy the food but their company, too. I suspect the winning bidder will be motivated by a desire to support the great work WCK is doing for Ukraine and worldwide, of course, but the dinner sounds like an incredible lagniappe.