Skip to main content

Roasted Lemon-Fennel Spatchcocked Chicken #FoodieReads


Our Sunday family hikes have given my reading a boost. We hike up a mountain, then - while the boys fly their glider or do other testosterone-y things - I plunk down and read a book in the shade.



I can usually get through a nice chunk before we head back down the mountain. Yesterday, at the top of Gilson Gap, I started The Last Van Gogh by Alyson Richman.* I noticed this on my bookshelf before we headed out and I decided to give it a go. I really had no idea how much food there was going to be in it. What a delicious read!

fineartamerica.com
On the Page
This is a historical fiction - one of my favorite genres, especially when there's food involved - about the relationship between Vincent Van Gogh and Marguerite Gachet, daughter of Van Gogh's doctor in Auvers-sur-Oise. We read the tale from Marguerite's point of view.

Set in France, in the early 1800s, the majority of the book takes place during the last few months of Van Gogh's life. Van Gogh was in Auvers-sur-Oise, battling his addiction to absinthe and painting prolifically while under the care of Dr. Gachet. The painting, above, is the first portrait he did of Marguerite. I thoroughly enjoyed how the author crafted her novel around actual people and actual paintings that exist of those people. Whether they actually had an illicit affair, I don't know, but it made for an interesting read as she explored her sexuality with the fragile yet passionate artist.

I won't be spoiling the book too much by sharing that Marguerite is under her father's oppressive thumb. I understand that gender roles were much more traditional in the 19th century, but since her mother's death, Marguerite has been both cook and maid for her father and her brother. And, in that role, she is tasked with preparing the meals when her father invites Vincent to lunch or dinner.

The first meal she prepares for Vincent is roasted chicken. "I had spent the early part of the morning preparing my favorite dishes. ...I handpicked the chicken from Armel, the butcher, insisting that ti Have the largest, juiciest one from that morning's slaughter. ...The entire house now smelled of my crisp roasted chicken.... I could not help but smile as I emerged from the kitchen with the large platter in my arms" (pp. 52-53).


On the Plate
Roasting a chicken is not for the faint of heart. I mean, anyone can stick a whole chicken in the oven and roast it till it's not raw. But, seriously, the number of mediocre roasted chickens I've made is embarrassing. And there is nothing worse than dried out chicken breasts, right?

So, when I read about a technique that splits the chicken and flattens it, I knew I could marinate it easily and roast it to (near) perfection. I've tested it out a few times and it has changed my mind about roasted chicken. And - it's so easy - I will certainly add this to our dinner menu rotation. I can imagine plating this golden brown chicken on bright turquoise platters in Gachet's garden!

Ingredients
  • 1 whole 4-pound chicken
  • 4 to 5 cloves whole garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 t fennel pollen
  • olive oil
  • juice from 2 organic lemons
  • lemon slices
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thickly sliced


Procedure 
Spatchcock It
Place chicken on a cutting board, breast side down. With a sturdy pair of kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone, starting at thigh end. Turn chicken around and cut along other side. You can discard the backbone or save it for stock. Spread the chicken on a flat surface and press firmly on breastbone to flatten it.

Rub It
Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle it liberally with  salt and pepper. Massage the rosemary, garlic, and fennel pollen into the skin. Pour the juice from 1 lemon over the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before roasting.

Roast It
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place the spatchcocked chicken flat in a roasting dish. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice. Scatter fennel pieces and lemon slices around the chicken.

Roast chicken for 40 minutes. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and return to the oven. Roast for another 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is browned and crispy.


Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes before cutting. I served my chicken with barely blanched asparagus and a crisp fennel slaw.


You'll be seeing my thoughts on this pairing later this month for the February #Winophiles event, but I poured Famille Bougrier's Pure Loire Rosé d'Anjou 2016 with the chicken...and it was sublime.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.

Here's what everyone else read in February 2018: here.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Jamaican Stew Peas #EattheWorld

  Here we are at November #EattheWorld event. What a year this has been! This challenge has been one that gave us some excuse for virtual travel as we've been sheltered-in-place with the coronavirus epidemic for most of 2020. So, we've been able to read about different parts of the world and create a dinner, or at least a dish, with that cuisine. This Eat the World project is spearheaded by Evelyne of  CulturEatz . Read more about  her challenge . This month, Evelyne had us heading to somewhere tropical: Jamaica. I have actually been to Jamaica, but it was almost thirty years ago...and it was just a jumping off point for the rest of our Caribbean exploration. I don't remember eating anything at all! Pandemonium Noshery: Pumpkin Rice   Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Jamaican Stew Peas  Amy’s Cooking Adventures: Jamaican Chicken & Pumpkin Soup   Palatable Pastime: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Burger   Sneha’s Recipe: Jamaican Saucy Jerk Chicken Wings With Homemade Jerk Seas

Quick Pickled Red Onions and Radishes

If you've been reading my blog for even a short amount of time, you probably know how much I love to pickle things. I was just telling a friend you can pickle - with vinegar - or you can ferment - with salt - for similar delicious effect. The latter has digestive benefits and I love to do that, but when I need that pop of sour flavor quickly, I whip up quick pickles that are ready in as little as a day or two. I've Pickled Blueberries , Pickled Asparagus , Pickled Cranberries , Pickled Pumpkin , and even Pickled Chard Stems ! This I did last night for an upcoming recipe challenge that requires I include radishes. Ummmm...of course I'm pickling them! Ingredients  makes 1 quart jar radishes, trimmed and sliced organic red onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I used a mandolin slicer) 3/4 C vinegar (I used white distilled vinegar) 3/4 C water 3 T organic granulated sugar 1 T salt (I used some grey sea salt) 6 to 8 grinds of black pepper Proce

#comfortfood: Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco with Bean Ragout

As one of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Day Ambassadors ( I'm the Monterey #FRD2014 rep! ) I will be sent a copy of his latest cookbook - to cook from and write about. I can't wait. I do have to laugh though, because its title is  Comfort Food . And, according to a good friend:  I only make uncomfortable food . Oh, well. I can learn! To celebrate launch day - today - I'm sharing one of the recipes. Here's Jamie Oliver's Ossobuco alla Milanese recipe from his new cookbook, Comfort Food. And here's my adaptation. I typically don't eat veal, so I went to our local butcher for some lamb shanks sliced into an osso buco-style cut; but they had just sold their last shanks. Darn. But then I noticed the "never tethered...free to roam" on the veal package and decided to go for it. I added in shelling beans to make a ragout and served it over wild rice instead of risotto. Also, I used lots of different herbs in my gremolata instead of just pa