Archive for March 29th, 2016

Chicken Skin Genius

image

When I learn something new at the stove, I get absurdly excited. And I am especially excited about a good way to crisp chicken skin.  I feed my meat birds very carefully with a lot of greens to produce the highest possible level of caratinoids and omega-3 fatty acids, and many of those nutrients are in the skin.  So of course I want to make the skin as enticing as possible. Besides, it is the best tasting part of the chicken.  A simple tip that I learned in the Genius Recipes section on the wonderful Food 52 website involves seasoning chicken, preferably thighs and legs, and frying the chicken slowly skin side down in nothing more than its own fat or a small amount of olive oil.   I have not tried it with white meat, and wings might be too irregular to cook well this way.  In brief, I season drumsticks and thighs with salt and pepper, refrigerate them overnight, and when ready to cook I heat my cast-iron skillet over medium low heat.  I rub the chicken pieces  lightly with olive oil and put them in the skillet skin side down. Then, I do other things and forget about them.  In 15 or 20 minutes, the skin is done to a beautiful deep crispy crunchy brown.  Work a spatula under each piece taking care to keep the skin intact, flip the chicken and continue cooking skin side up until done through.  Simple as that. The skin is quite glorious in its unabashed simplicity.  You do need to be in the kitchen to turn the heat down if necessary  but for the most part you can concentrate on other things.  Serve any reasonable vegetable on the side.  If you want to deglaze the pan with white wine and chicken broth and boil it down and finish with butter to make a pretty wonderful bit of pan juice, offer the juice on the side or set the chicken in a pool of it. Don’t pour it over the skin or  it will lose its crispness. Sometimes it’s fun to pare a meal down to very simple components. Besides, it makes me wish that chickens were all skin.