Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Could I get a new belief system to go with that rotisserie chicken, please?

I have to not so humbly say that I make the best roast chicken I have ever tasted. As such I also don't buy pre-made rotisserie chickens from the store. But late yesterday afternoon after stumbling around the house in a daze from this pain-in-the-ass cold that has had my head in a fog for the last three days, I was half-heartedly leafing through the latest issue of Food and Wine when I noticed this recipe for Chinese chicken salad that called for a 2-1/2 pounds of rotisserie chicken. As good as this recipe looked, roasting my own chicken was about the last thing I was going to drag my ass off the couch to do. So breaking with long held tradition and shattering my personal belief system, I drove to the local QFC where I know they always have a hot case filled with roasted chickens that have been there god knows how long. The girl behind the counter assured me that they make them fresh each day, and these had come off the spit about 45 minutes ago. She seemed too apathetic about her job to worry about lying to me, so with great trepidation I bought the "French Classic" chicken (eschewing the "Traditional Italian" and "Teriyaki Treat" versions). $5.99...on sale...for a whole chicken. That makes up for a lot of shattered belief system. So I took it home, tore it up, whipped this salad together for w and I, and I have to...and hate to....say I may be a convert to the ease of the rotisserie for times when I just need some roast chicken for salads or enchiladas or whatever. I already feel like I'm on a slippery slope down the side of Mt. Easy Prep with this one chicken purchase. But did I mention it was only $5.99??!!

Oh, and the salad was damn good, too. Both w and I were loving its sweetly piquant dressing and the crunch of the veggies, not to mention the, uh, roast chicken. I took recipe author Joanne Chang's and added Napa cabbage, carrots, and cucumber for added texture, which really made it snap. Quick, easy, and delicious...three of my fave descriptors...this has already found a place in our regular rotation.
*** *** *** *** ***
Chinese Chicken Salad
adapted from Joanne Chang/Food & Wine Magazine

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
3 tablespoons plus 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon Tabasco
one 1/2" piece of ginger, peeled and minced
one small garlic clove, peeled and minced
one 2-1/2 pound rostisserie chicken, meat shredded and skin and bones saved for stock or discarded
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 cup salted (or unsalted) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 carrot, cut into 2" matchsticks
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
one small head of romaine lettuce, sliced crossise into 1/2" ribbons
2 cups napa cabbage, sliced crosswise into ribbons
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
lime wedges, for serving

1- In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and the soy sauce, sesame oil, Tabasco, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken, scallions, celery, peanuts, cilantro, carrot, and cucumber and toss until coated.

2- In another bowl toss the romaine, cabbage, carrots, and cucumber with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar, 1-1/2 teaspoons sugar, and the olive oil. Spread romaine/cabbage onto four plates and top with the chicken salad. Serve with lime wedges.


Anonymous said...

You didn't feel well enough to roast a chicken, but you had the energy to chop garlic, giger, romaine, napa cabbage, celery, carrots, and cucumbers?
I would love to hear your thoughts on roasted chickens. Hot and fast? Low and slow? Turned? Basted? Trussed? These points, I feel, deserve its own post.


Lisa said...

I like to roast chicken myself. It is great to have a chicken tucked in the oven roasting on a cold evening. The oven warms up the kitchen and the aroma of is divine. It is easy but it takes time.

On the other hand, rotisserie chickens are a great convenience and I buy them regularly. They are perfect for chicken salads and other recipes and you can hardly roast a chicken yourself for that price.

So, I figure, either way you win!

bb said...

anon....I get a perverse, zen-like pleasure fro prep work. Maybe its because I know it will lead to something good!

I usually roast all my chickens on my Weber (search "weber" in the blog search box and you'll find some recipes) and do it hot and fast. That is the only way to get a crisp skin. Indirect heat also so it doesn't burn the skin before the meat is cooked. I don't baste when I use the roasting rack with the Weber and they come out fine. I rub olive oil all over the outside and use good free range chickens. When I rostisserie on the Weber I truss so the herbs/lemons don't fall out of the cavity, but on the roasting rack no because sometimes if you truss too tight the breast gets done before the thigh. When you don't truss it allows more heat to get deep into the thighs so it all seems to come out perfectly.

Lisa....Roast chicken without question is one of life's supreme pleasures, however you do it!

I have to agree about the store bought rotisserie now that I've done it. Damn the cursed convenience!!!

Bill said...

This is a solid recipe... whipped it (or should I say chopped it) up last night for supper. I think it would work well with a boiled (i.e. Hainanese) chicken too.

bb said...

Bill....that would be good. BTW- have you had the boiled chicken at Nong's cart on SW 10th & Alder? Unbelievable!

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