I have been thinking about sharing some of my favorite recipes and dishes here on my blog. I figured a good place to start is with my simple, delicious, roasted chicken. Now, when I say simple, I mean simple.
Pre-heat your oven to 425° (If you’re using a convection oven, either use 400° or adjust your cooking time by about 5–10 minutes).
Remove the chicken from the packaging. Feel free to cook, or use, the innards. I don’t care for them. Don’t rinse the chicken. Instead, just pat it dry with paper towels. Place the chicken in a flat dish, plate, or on a cutting board. Lather the chicken with the olive oil, and then generously sprinkle the Kosher salt all over the surface of the bird (both sides).
Place the chicken on a roasting rack and put it on a sheet pan. If you have a roasting rack, take some aluminum foil and crumple it up and place it in a sheet pan to serve as the rack. The crumpled foil will allow the oil to run away from the chicken so that the skin will get crispy all around. Another thing to try is to take some bread, French bread or day-old bread is great. Create a layer of the bread in the bottom of the sheet pan and put the chicken on top. You can use the crispy bread for coutons if you make a salad. Truss the legs. For whatever reason, I have a bunch of pipe cleaners in my pantry. I soak the the pipe cleaner in oil so that it won’t burn in the oven.
Place the chicken in the oven for and hour and 15 minutes. Be advised that the chicken will smoke because of the oil. You might want to keep the overhead fan running and a window cracked. Don’t bother the chicken while it’s cooking in the oven. Just let it do its thing. Once the time is up, remove the chicken from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes.
That’s it. The results are the same every time.
This is a change from how I used to roast chickens, which was at a lower temperature for a longer time. I also used to stuff my chicken with lemons and garlic or lavender. (I actually sprinkled a little lavender on this chicken). This recipe will produce a juicy chicken with crispy skin, because of the olive oil and salt. Naturally, you should feel free to play around with spices and seasonings that you like. If you use herbs, try tucking them between the skin and the meat.
This is just a quick little rant. It really bugs me that some restaurants — say Chinese, Korean or Indian — serve different food depending on your ethnicity. There have been more times than I can remember when I’ve gone to a restaurant with Chinese or Indian friends and had a great meal; only to return another time on my own, order the same dishes, and have a completely different (read: worse) culinary experience. I can understand language issues/barriers, but, to me, there’s no reason why I should get lesser-quality, or “Americanized,” dishes. With that said, I wonder if these same friends have had similar experiences at restaurants. I’ve never asked, but I think that I will.
And then there were 17. Though it looked like Fabio was on his way to a shocking early exit, Elia took the hit for undercooked fish. Angelo pulled out an Elimination Challenge victory for reconfiguring his Ramen noodles with glazed pork belly and watermelon that was a miss in the finale of Season 7 in Singapore. The team of Spike, Richard, Antonia and Dale T. for Top Chef: Chicago won the Quickfire Challenge with a handmade pork sausage with mustard ice cream.
Carla had a decent week. She was, unfortunately, in the bottom for the Quickfire Challenge. I didn’t understand why the team agreed to Jamie’s suggestion to do a trio, featuring apples.If you’ve ever watched Top Chef, one of the quickest ways to get knocked down is to offer multiple items on a plate that don’t make sense together. It appeared that Jamie was hell bent on making a soup, so that would explain why she suggested Carla and Fabio make their own components. I was quick put off by Jamie’s statement that she’s a stronger chef than Carla and Fabio. I’ve spent time around Jamie, and was quite surprised that she would say such a thing. (Or maybe I’m not that surprised…just disappointed.) Carla did better in the Elimination Challenge with a grilled strip steak, smashed potatoes, compound butter with tarragon and a red wine sauce. It appears that Carla may have sliced the meat in a way that left a tendon for some people to notice. Angelo commented that he got a nerve ending with Carla’s steak. Even with that comment, Carla was in the middle of the pack and is safe for another week.
Now that I’ve spoiled it for you, here’s the entire episode in case you missed it.
Episode two of Top Chef: All Stars airs tonight. Here’s a sneak peek at the Quickfire challenge.
The great thing about being married to a chef and caterer is that I usually have food available to shoot. That is, if I make it to her kitchen. Unfortunately, Carla’s usually cooking when I’m at work, and the food is gone by the time I’m able to get to her kitchen. Tonight was different, though. She’s preparing for a big job on Saturday in Charlottesville, and is working out of a different [much larger] kitchen that happens to be near my office. I stopped by after work this evening to take some “Carla in the kitchen” shots for her. Between snapping shots for her, I admittedly was scrounged around for food to capture. It just so happened that she had a nice amount of fresh peas and asparagus on hand.
One of the great things about visiting a new kitchen is all the different and/or new equipment. The double-basket deep fryer kept calling me.
For those keeping pace with my progress on the image editing front; I still haven’t made it over to Penn Camera to pick up my copy of Nikon Capture NX 2. I ran these photos through Picasa, and performed minimal sharpening and shadow/highlight adjustment. I have made a point to now shoot all my images in both RAW and JPG formats. I’ll be interested to see the difference between a processed JPG image versus a processed RAW image. You can be sure that I will post a comparison post with before-and-after shots once I get Capture.