Ask an Expert: Cooking with Melissa Clark

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Cookbook author and food columnist Melissa Clark takes listener questions about the best recipes for spring. Clark is a staff reporter for the New York Times Food section, where she writes the popular column “A Good Appetite”.

Recipe:

Courtesy of Melissa Clark

Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Glazed Rhubarb

A tangy rhubarb-lemon glaze gives roasted chicken a touch of sweetness and a deeply golden, crunchy skin. The rhubarb, which gets a cooked in the oven along with the chicken but in a separate pan, turns syrupy and soft, scented with thyme, coriander, and fresh ginger. Some of the rhubarb mixture gets brushed over the bird to help bronze its skin, and the rest makes a chutney-like condiment to serve alongside. If you’ve got thin-skinned, mildly sweet Meyer lemons, you can skip the blanching in step 3 and add the slices straight the rhubarb pan. Regular lemons, especially those with a lot of the bitter white pith, really benefit from a brief blanch. This dish is wonderful over polenta or rice, which can absorb both chicken and rhubarb juices. Add a simple green salad (spinach is especially nice here), and dinner is done.

Time:1 ½ hours, plus at least 1 hour marinating

Yield: 4 servings

For the Chicken:

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

3/4 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 large garlic clove, grated or minced

1 chicken (3 ½ to 4 ½ pounds), patted dry

3 thyme sprigs, more for garnish

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

1 medium red onion, halved and sliced 1/4-inch thick

For the Rhubarb:

Kosher salt, as needed

½ lemon

1 pound rhubarb, sliced ½ inch thick

1/2 cup sugar

2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

½ teaspoon coriander seeds

3 thyme sprigs

    In a small bowl, combine salt, ground coriander, lemon zest, ginger, pepper, and garlic. Rub it all over chicken, including inside the cavity and under the skin. Stuff thyme sprigs into cavity.

Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet, and marinate, uncovered, in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.

    To prepare the rhubarb, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil. Thinly slice the lemon into ⅛ inch rounds. Remove any seeds. Quarter lemon rounds into triangles. Blanch lemon pieces in boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain. In a 9 x 9-inch baking dish or a pie pan, toss together blanched lemons, rhubarb, sugar, ginger, coriander seeds, a pinch of salt and thyme sprigs. Let fruit macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour. When ready to roast, arrange one oven rack in the center of oven and another one below. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss onions in medium mixing bowl with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt, and set aside. Generously drizzle extra virgin olive oil over chicken. Roast chicken on the top rack and rhubarb on bottom rack for 20 to 25 minutes, until rhubarb is glazed and syrupy. Remove rhubarb and lower oven temperature to 400 degrees. Brush or spoon some of the rhubarb syrup all over chicken. Scatter red onion pieces around chicken on baking sheet, then continue to roast until skin is golden and cooked through and onions are browned, about 25 to 35 minutes longer. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carve and serve with onions, rhubarb and more thyme for garnish.

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