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Umami

In March 2016, Debbie Dickson writes: “Umami equals yummy.” Thanks to Japanese chemist, Kikunae Ikedia’s curiosity and scientific training, an enigmatic fifth flavor was born, which he named “umami,” meaning “delicious” or “yummy” in Japanese. Debbie offers a couple of recipes that bring the yummy out.

BACON CHEESE BITES
Yield: 20 servings
•    6 slices crisp-fried bacon, crumbled
•    8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
•    2-3 tablespoons chopped onion
•    3/4 cup chopped almonds
•    3/4 cup mayonnaise
•    2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
•    Salt and pepper to taste
•    Small baguette, sliced
Combine bacon, cheese, onion, almonds, mayonnaise, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in bowl; mix well. Spread bacon mixture on bread slices. Place on baking sheet. Freeze until firm.
Preheat oven to 400 F and bake for 10 minutes.
Serve this healthy dish with pasta, rice or roasted potatoes, making it a company-worthy meal. The intense, bright flavor of the tomatoes is a delicious way to appeal to your umami desire.
(Adapted from Seaside Pastels and Pickets Cookbook)

CHICKEN WITH HERB-ROASTED TOMATOES AND PAN SAUCE
Serves: 4
•    1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes or other small tomatoes on the vine
•    6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
•    2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
•    1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
•    Freshly ground black pepper
•    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
•    1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
•    1 small shallot, minced
•    2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
•    3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
•    3 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves (could substitute chopped basil leaves)
Preheat oven to 450 F. Combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons oil, and herbes de Provence in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy, ovenproof skillet until oil shimmers. Carefully add tomatoes to pan (oil may spatter). Transfer skillet to oven and roast, turning once, until tomatoes burst and give up some of their juices, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and drizzle with Worcestershire sauce.
Meanwhile, season chicken all over with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, ovenproof skillet (just use the same pan you roasted your tomatoes in) over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown, 6-8 minutes. Transfer pan to oven and roast chicken until cooked through, 8-10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Add remaining tablespoon oil to same skillet; heat over medium heat. Add shallot and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Deglaze pan with vinegar, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan; add tomatoes and their juices and simmer until sauce is just beginning to thicken, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice chicken; divide among plates. Spoon tomatoes and sauce over; garnish with herbs.
(From Bon Appetit Magazine, August 2012)

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