Chicken? Yeah, chicken.
I can’t remember ordering chicken in a restaurant, haven’t cooked chicken in ages, and haven’t cooked a chicken breast at least since starting this food post almost 8 years ago, but I’ve been thinking about the lowly bird for a while now. I’m also always interested in adding a new ingredient to my kitchen practice (especially if I don’t have to find room to store it), and I’ve been impressed with the current conversation about the current quality of chicken, when well sourced. I thought I’d give it another go.
I ignored the conventional wisdom, to which I had long subscribed myself, that dark meat is far preferable to white. I’m too contrary by nature to stay with the flow of almost anything for long, and I’ve been hearing murmurs from several sources that the distinction has been overvalued.
I did make at least one concession to ‘neo-hippie’ food trends by avoiding the ‘boneless breast of chicken’ protocol: My breast came with its original equipment, and stayed with it until after arriving on the plates.
It was fantastic.
The basic recipe is from Mark Bittman.
The chicken came from Zaid and Haifa’s Norwich Meadows Farm in Norwich, NY, and it was pasteur-raised, organic, never frozen, and, yes, still attached to the bone.
The vegetable, a radicchio, was from Campo Rosso Farm, whose origins are very closely linked with this gorgeous chicory.
- a glazed ceramic pan only large enough to hold the halves of a 20-ounce full chicken breast, with bone, from Norwich Meadows Farm (divided at home with, well, chicken shears), heated, with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, for 2 or 3 minutes inside a 425º oven, removed, and the breasts, first rolled in a mixture of chopped parsley from Keith’s Farm, chopped mint and garlic from Stokes Farm, and one wonderful chopped heatless Habanada pepper from Norwich Meadows Farm, returned to the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until just cooked through, turning once or twice, finished on the plates with some of the herb not included earlier, and topped with ‘Bull’s Blood’ micro beets from Windfall Farm
- one medium radicchio from Campo Rosso Farm, quartered, placed in a medium unglazed ceramic oven pan (Pampered Chef, well-seasoned), drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted at 400º (more like 425º this time, because of the chicken’s demands) for about 15 minutes, turning once, finished with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, and, scattered with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano Vacche Rosse from Buon Italia
- the wine was a very special German (Pfaltz) red, Weingut Friedrich Becker Pinot Noir 2010, which appears to not be available anywhere, but there’s more information here
- the music was Wagner’s ‘Der Fliegende Holländer’, Giuseppe Sinopoli conducting the Berlin Deutsche Oper Orchestra and the Deutsche Oper Chorus, with Cheryl Studer, Bernd Weikl, Placido Domingo, Peter Seiffert, and others