I had a shockingly good large delivery experience today. How many times can one say that with sincerity and enthusiasm!? Not often! But today, Best Buy delivered. Literally, they brought me a working dryer. They also made good on the customer service promise I'm sure they swear by with less conviction than it might appear. I was told they'd be here between 9 and 11am, and at 9:15 I received a call that the team was on its way. Five minutes later the truck pulled up. Then, as if simply making the window weren't enough, they were in and out in 10 minutes, taking the old dryer with them. When I told T what a good experience it was he initially thought I was joking: "that's not usually what people say about Best Buy." Well, this gal was happy! I later took advantage of the chicken sale at Whole Foods; one for tonight, one for the freezer. I wanted a roast chicken but was unwilling to accept the saggy, baggy skin I usually end up with on an otherwise tasty bird. Research! In her cookbook, the late Judy Rodgers, of Zuni Cafe fame, suggested I wipe dry my chicken, seriously dry!, season it well with salt and pepper, preheat an oven-safe skillet just big enough for it, place the dry and seasoned bird in the dry but hot skillet and wait for the sizzle. It was immediate and a golden skin quickly started to form.
Meanwhile, the oven preheated to 475 convection and once both sides of the chicken had started to adopt a decidedly amber hue, I slid the skillet into the oven and roasted the bird until done. No extra liquid ever. No butter tucked under the skin. No basting. No bells or whistles. Absolutely delicious. Confirmation that I have been doing it all wrong. So glad that I can now rely on this very simple method. Plenty of drippings by the way. I added stock and some powdered roux to them and made a divine gravy. If ever you go to Louisiana, pick up a jar of powdered roux; the secret-ingredient, pièce de résistance for gravy!
For our sides I made some tamarind-scented brown rice, a kale salad and some fennel roasted with dried figs, garlic, honey, lemon and fennel fronds. Lovely, lovely! Dried figs rock, and boy do I love me some fennel.