Previously, on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –
As I mentioned earler, my wife had hurt her ACL, so I’ve stepped in to help out with meals and cleaning. So last night (13 Oct) was sawara kabayki don and roast cauliflower with jalapeno dressing. I thought I’d change pace tonight (14 Oct) and do a simple chicken stew (with mirepoix, fines herbes, bay leaf, salt/pepper). Now my wife doesn’t really like chicken skin unless it’s been fried or well roasted (I think the only exception is chinese drunk chicken). So while I was breaking down 5 whole chicken legs into drumstick and thigh pieces for the stew, I stripped off the skin as she wanted but did not discard them. Once I got the stew going, I looked at the chicken skin and then thought: “tori kawa yaki” (aka [ とり ]かわ): chicken skin, grilled until crispy – to be served as a contrasting textural treat on the side to the chicken stew. I’d done something similar before when I was visiting my folks before – crisping up fish skin ‘chips’.
So I laid out the five pieces of chicken skin that I had on an oven tray rack and seasoned it with about 3 three-finger pinches of 4:1 salt/pepper and then added about 6 oz of water to the bottom of the tray. The chicken went into a a pre-heated 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, I removed the tray, flipped the crisping chicken skin and returned it to the oven for 15 more minutes.
Once the cooking was done, I carefully removed the crisped skins from the rack and set them aside to rest and then moved them to a serving dish to be eaten along side with the chicken stew. My wife thought it was a wonderful and tasty idea as a contrast to the stew and baguette.
Being able to make something of this sort of begged the following question – why can’t I do something like this for duck? After all, the classic beijing duck presentation is the carving off of the skin which is then placed into a thin crepe-like wrappers with julienned scallion, julienned cucumber and (variously) hoisin or tianmenjang sauces. I could envision this as a ‘de-constructed’ beijing duck variant.