The Fruity Vintage Chicken Dish Ina Garten Can't Resist

The prunes, olives, and capers blend together to form the flavor backbone of Chicken Marbella, one of the star recipes of the 1980s hit, "The Silver Palate Cookbook." At the time it was released, the recipe — and the book that it was featured in – drew legions of fans who turned the whimsical chicken dish into a generational classic. 

The cookbook reveals Chicken Marbella was a dish once served in the restaurant of the same name located in New York's East Village. It was a hit with the shop's clients, so much so that the late writer and producer Nora Ephron once said that the dish made a regular appearance at dinner parties, which took place in New York City during that time. Chef Andrew Zimmern also remembers The Silver Palate's iconic chicken dish as an essential part of many Jewish holiday meals.

While the dish might have slipped out of the public consciousness, it has returned to its place in the sun thanks to interest from chefs like Ina Garten, who has since added it to her arsenal of go-to recipes. The Barefoot Contessa's version is not exactly the same as the original, thanks to a few small tweaks that elevate the classic dish.

Ina Garten makes a few improvements to the original chicken Marbella

Garten's ingredient and method changes include increasing the amount of prunes originally called for in the recipe from a cup, to a cup and a half. She's also doubled the amount of green olives — which need to be pitted before they are added to the fruity, garlicky marinade. And in a spot of good news for garlic fans: Garten has also nearly doubled the amount of garlic required from a head to a head and a half; this is when Garten's trick for peeling garlic more quickly and efficiently comes in super handy. And although The Silver Palate Cookbook doesn't mention it, Garten also recommends covering the chicken with aluminum foil and letting it rest for a short time after it comes out of the oven before it is served.

Before she prepared the dish for her show, Garten said she wanted to see whether the recipe was as good as she remembered. And especially after her tweaks, we suspect it was.