So some friends come round and you want an easy to cook dish that looks really nice but is not that hard to execute, appears to show some skill, and tastes great. How do you achieve this?
Well, I got myself a chicken, some Mediterranean themed veg, some potatoes to turn into wedges and a few nice sauces for dipping and we all enjoyed a great tea courtesy of a great method of cooking: spatchcocking.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘spatchcocking’ poultry is a process where the backbone is removed before roasting or BBQing the bird in order to produce a few nice results, such as a moister more succulent bird and a quicker cooking time. It also avoids the use of unnecessary, flavourless stuffing often used simply to fill a cavity. Not only does this slow down the cooking process but it helps to dry out a roasting bird. I was taught how to do it on a cooking course but this useful BBC link is a cheaper way to get to know the technique.
With our friends being fellow Leeds foodies (although sadly not yet bloggers) our spatchcocked chicken, with a mixture of garlic (skin on thanks to the insight given by Daniel Galmiche in his first excellent cookbook) went down an absolute treat, as did the peppers and fresh tomatoes with a touch of mozzarella cheese on top, all rubbed in olive oil and plenty of salt. The ‘rustic’ potato wedges were just an added bonus.
While wedges are often derided as being a bit easy to make and lacking skill I believe the real skill involved is in getting the seasoning just right as well as choosing potatoes that crisp up nicely and absorb the seasoning rather than turning into a bit of burnt ash! For this reason I chose maris piper potatoes and went for an olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika seasoning approach, leaving the oil in the pan to heat up first before coating the potatoes.
In terms of the chicken, I added a bit of cajun spice as well as paprika and a few hints of chilli flakes all mixed with an olive oil coating, salt, and pepper. I was careful to score the skin in order to allow the flavour to permeate into the flesh of the bird and not just the skin. This meant that the chicken had a real depth of flavour to it.
The only limited downside might be the fact that, instead of carving the chicken, we let people go all in and grab what they wanted, which meant that by the time I had dished up the veggies and wedges the bird had been ripped apart by hungry happy diners before I had a chance to fully admire it!
With this in mind, if you get a chicken and fancy trying something new, spatchcocking really is the way to go!
Categories: Cooking Experiences