Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What a sap

It’s springtime in eastern Canada, which means maple syrup season. The amber stuff seems to be enjoying a spell as a hot ingredient, thanks to Quebec’s Martin Picard of Au Pied de Cochon fame and his new maple syrup-centric cookbook, Au Pied de Cochon Sugar Shack.

I’ve been using maple syrup as more than pancake topping for a little while now, mainly to add a touch of sweetness to vinaigrettes, not to mention other things to take the edge off. Here, it plays a big role in a marinade to give the chicken a subtle sweetness.

Speaking of la belle province, our last trip out to Montreal also had an influence on this meal. Our first night there, we hit up The Sparrow, which a great restobar on Boulevard St. Laurent. Now I’ve never been huge on the whole truffle thing, but that night we had a plate of truffled polenta fries that sort of blew my mind. I tried to capture some of that here with the roasted roots.

Baked maple mustard chicken
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin on (1-1.25lb)

Whisk together vinegar, maple syrup, 1 tablespoon olive oil, mustard, ½ teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of freshly ground pepper. Put the chicken thighs in the bowl and toss to coat with the marinade. Transfer to a sealed Ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Heat a tablespoon of grapeseed or other neutral oil in a heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) until it shimmers. Remove the chicken from the bag and shake of excess marinade. Place chicken in pan skin side down (work in batches if necessary) 3-4 minutes until skin is golden and crispy. Flip and cook for an additional minute or two. Remove chicken and place on a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven next to the sheet with the roots and roast for about 20 until internal temperature measures 165°F. Take out and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Roasted rosemary truffle roots

2 1/2 pounds mixed parsnips and carrots, peeled, cut into about 3x1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon (or more) white truffle oil

Toss parsnips, chopped rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil in a bowl and spread in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Roast for 15 minutes, toss, then roast for another 10–15 minutes until tender and browned in spots

Toss with truffle oil, season to taste with salt and peppe and serve.

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