In the Kitchen today…

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In the kitchen today, it’s Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak.

This comes from my cookbook choice for January: Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s spell-binding cookbook, Jerusalem.  Every recipe thus far has been stellar (above reproach) and captivating to the tongue and senses. This particular recipe marinates for hours, and when it roasts together the citrus (peel, pith, flesh) caramelizes. The result is that the sweet and zing is sobered brilliantly by the bitter (and your gallbladder, incidentally, is greatly helped in its job). I am especially delighted to learn how to incorporate the bitter onto the plate. Bitter foods are typically not American. Our country, for whatever reason (affluence, perhaps) leans heavily toward a sweet tooth.

The fennel hits three times within the ingredients list: fresh fennel, fennel liquor, and fennel seed.  Fennel-haters, this recipe isn’t for you. That being said, fennel-apathetes, give this a try. The roasting mellows the fennel flavor more than I expected so that the foremost taste really is the surprising brightness of citrus.  I could not find clementines at the market, so I used tangerines.

The recipe calls for Arak but also states that one can alternatively use Ouzo or Pernod.  I happened to have Ouzo. I did dot each piece of chicken with butter before putting it into the oven, which may be a little too French but it made for some spectacularly crispy skin. And next time, I may add a few quartered red or white onions, though that may not be authentic.

You need a large pan with shallow sides, approximately 15×10 (I used this jelly roll pan), or large enough to spread the ingredients out in a pretty-much single layer, giving special attention to the chicken having clear access to the hot air.  This will ensure crispy skin. So will the butter dots (but, again, that’s not in the recipe).

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