Monday, October 26, 2009

Salt Baked Chicken

This is one of my favorite recipes. My mom taught me how to make salt baked chicken, but I tweaked the recipe. Its very simple so try it at home.

1) Take a large chicken and rinse with cold water (important)
2) Let the water drain and pat dry with paper towels, dry the cavity too.
3) Take a lot of sea salt and pat it all around the chicken and in the cavity. Kosher salt is good too.
4) Then, take white pepper and pat around the chicken.
5) Stuff the chicken cavity with green onions, star anise, szechuan peppercorns, and garlic. Feel free to put it in a cheese cloth and tie up. Some people like to wet the peppercorns/anise so more moisture evaporates and gives flavor, but not necessary. You just want the herbs for the "nose". This is an important strategy in cooking.

A lot of cooks think that you need every flavor to jump out. I disagree. I think a hint or nose or just a dash of something adds a depth/complexity without altering the original flavor. I'm very big on this. I like the traditional flavor of things. My mom used to never stuff the cavity, I did it just to give the chicken a different aroma and slight flavor tweak. If you over do it, its not salt baked chicken anymore. Its like some funky asian thanksgiving chicken. The beauty of this dish is the simplicity of the white pepper and salt making a crisp chicken skin.

6) Preheat oven to 375, put chicken in and cook for about an hour. I never time or check temp cause I'm lazy. You don't want plump chicken. Let it get a tad dry, the salt will dry out the skin and the meat will get juicy wet and falling off the bone.

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