"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cold Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil

It only takes a few days of hot, sultry weather to make New Englanders go out of their minds with irritation. Don't believe me? Try driving around on a day like today--90 degrees with 70% humidity--and you'll find out quick enough. I almost got clipped four times and at least one driver called me something that fortunately I didn't understand because I don't know any of those bad words and it's like a foreign language to me. And I just have two words for you, irritated drivers. AIR CONDITIONING. Get some. Ice water wouldn't hurt either.

If you, too, are irritated because of the heat and the thought of cooking dinner makes you want to likewise swear at somebody, like your stupid family for wanting food, don't despair! Cold Poached Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil will make you want to send love notes to me for suggesting it.

This is how you do it. Early in the morning, before it gets hot, poach a few chicken breasts in water with a little fresh ginger and sherry (or sake) (or Scotch, says Epicurious, which is kind of weird but what do I know). Throw those babies in the fridge, and at your leisure at some point during the day mix together vegetable oil, fresh grated ginger, sliced scallions, and dark sesame oil.

When it's time for supper, pull out the chicken, slice thinly, and spoon the ginger scallion oil over the top. Serve with a salad (from all that freakin lettuce you have from the CSA) and you've got a nice, light hot-weather meal. A little sea salt puts it over the top--I'm mad about sea salt these days, even over lettuce.

My only problem at all with this recipe was something visual, and it's only evidence that I've done bad things to egg-based sauces, like overheat them so they break. If you look at the photo above, the ginger can be sort of visually construed as a broken sauce. Anybody who's broken a sauce knows what a tragic and frustrating experience it is, and the photo might make that person sad or anxious. And you think I'm being melodramatic, but when you're plating food that has to go out RIGHT THIS SECOND, brother, a broken sauce makes you want to yell bad words at people even if you have air conditioning AND ice water.

Oh, now here I've injected a note of melancholy into a nice happy post about hot-weather dining. How did that happen? Do I have Post Traumatic Sauce Syndrome? I think I might.

1 comment:

GilaB said...

I've made this as an appetizer, and it's actually quite pretty - fan the slices of chicken out on a place, maybe 4-5 slices per person, and drizzle the sauce over them, plus make an attractive little pool of it in the center of the place. Don't drizzle more than 15 minutes or so in advance, or the oil starts to sink into the chicken and doesn't look as good.