Barbecuing weather is here and this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated is a terrific way to kick off the season. Brine chicken drumsticks in salted water for 30 to 60 minutes, coat them in a spice rub and then grill them over indirect heat for about 55 minutes. Grilling over indirect heat keeps the meat tender, the fat renders and there are no flare-ups! To finish the chicken, crisp the drumsticks up over direct heat for about five minutes before serving.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Check your spices to make sure they don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents.

Prepare spice rub and put it on a plate

Dip brined drumsticks in spice rub to evenly coat them

Grill over indirect heat for about 25 minutes

Rearrange drumsticks so the other side is closer to the heat and grill for another 20 to 30 minutes

Grilled spice-rubbed chicken drumsticks

Ingredients:

Brine

½ cup (125 ml) salt

5 pounds (2.26. kg) chicken drumsticks

Spice rub

3 tablespoons (45 ml) packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) paprika

1 tablespoon (15 ml) chili powder

2 teaspoons (10 ml) garlic powder

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) salt

¾ teaspoon (3.75 ml) pepper

¼ teaspoon (1.25 ml) cayenne pepper

Preparation:

Dissolve salt in 2 quarts (1.89 L) cold water in large container. Submerge drumsticks in brine, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Place spice rub on plate. Remove drumsticks from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Holding 1 drumstick by bone end, press lightly into rub on all sides. Pat gently to remove excess rub. Repeat with remaining drumsticks.

FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent halfway. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent halfway. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s). Adjust primary burner or, if using three-burner grill, primary burner and second burner. as needed to maintain grill temperature between 325 and 350 degrees F (163 and 177 degrees C).

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place drumsticks, skin side down, on cooler side of grill. Cover and cook for 25 minutes. Rearrange pieces so that drumsticks that were closest to edge are now closer to heat source and vice versa. Cover and cook until drumsticks register 185 to 190 degrees F (85 to 87 degrees C), 20 to 30 minutes. For an accurate reading, insert a probe into the thickest part of the drumstick until it hits the bone and then pull back about ¼ inch (0.63 cm).

Move all drumsticks to hotter side of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until skin is nicely charred, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 minutes. Serves 6.

From Cook’s Illustrated

This salad from the latest issue of Food and Drink is a great accompaniment to grilled meats and would also be hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entrée. Toasting the quinoa takes a few minutes but it imparts a nutty flavour. You can use broccoli instead of broccolini; grilled asparagus would also work well. The pesto is delicious — I used pecans instead of walnuts and tossed a few extra into the salad.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Dried fruit often contains sulfites so check the label on the dates; I use Parnoosh brand. The other ingredients to check for additives and preservatives are the feta, nuts, red wine vinegar and cumin. I use Krinos feta, Eden Organic vinegar and No-Name nuts and cumin.

Toasting the quinoa gives it a nutty flavour

Grill the broccolini on a barbecue or grill pan until tender and charred in places

Walnut dill pesto

Combine the dates, feta, green onions and broccolini before adding the quinoa

Toasted quinoa, broccolini and date salad

Ingredients:

1 cup (250 ml) quinoa

2 cups (500 ml) water

1 bunch broccolini

¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, plus extra for brushing

12 pitted dates, chopped

4 green onions, chopped

5 oz (150 g) crumbled sheep’s milk feta

2 cloves garlic

½ cup (125 ml) toasted walnut pieces

½ cup (125 ml) roughly chopped, loosely packed dill

¼ cup (60 ml) roughly chopped, loosely packed parsley

½ tsp (2 ml) salt

2 tbsp (30 ml) red wine vinegar

1 tsp (5 ml) ground cumin

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Pour dry quinoa into a medium pot and set over medium heat; leave undisturbed until quinoa begins to pop. Stir continuously from this point for about 5 minutes or until quinoa smells distinctly nutty and is noticeably darker. Carefully pour water over (water will sputter vigorously). Cover and boil for 12 to 14 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove lid and let stand until cooled to room temperature.

Meanwhile, heat barbecue or grill pan to high. Brush broccolini with a little olive oil and grill for 6 to 7 minutes or until tender and charred. Remove to a board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large serving bowl along with the dates, green onion, feta and quinoa. Set aside.

Add ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil, garlic, walnuts, dill, parsley, salt, vinegar and cumin to a food processor; pulse until mixture resembles a chunky pesto. Pour over salad and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with pepper, and adjust salt only if necessary. Serves 6.

From Food and Drink

This lovely salad from Canadian Living features grilled steak and grilled green beans and radishes tossed in an herb-infused honey-mustard dressing. Be careful grilling the radishes and green beans, as they can easily fall through the grate! I omitted the soft-boiled eggs.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for a mustard without preservatives; I use President’s Choice Dijon.

Mix ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl

Preheat the grill and toss the vegetables with oil

Grill the steak until it is medium-rare

Grill the beans and radishes carefully so they don't fall through the grate

French bistro steak salad

Ingredients:

Dressing

1 tablespoon (15 ml) grainy Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon (15 ml) cider vinegar

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon (15 ml) finely chopped fresh tarragon or basil

1 ½ teaspoon (7.5 ml) chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon (5 ml) liquid honey

¼ teaspoon (1 ml) each salt and pepper

3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Salad

1 lb (450 g) beef flank marinating steak

1 teaspoon (5 ml) pepper

½ (2.5 ml) teaspoon salt

12 oz (350 g) green beans, trimmed

20 radishes, trimmed and halved

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

2 soft-cooked eggs, halved

Preparation:

Dressing: In large bowl, whisk together mustard, vinegar, garlic, tarragon, thyme, honey, salt and pepper; slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until blended. Set aside.

Salad: Rub steak all over with pepper and salt. Toss green beans and radishes with oil. Place steak on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning once, until desired doneness, 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across grain.

Eggs: For perfect slightly soft–cooked eggs, using slotted spoon, gently place eggs in saucepan of boiling water. Boil for 6 minutes. Drain; transfer eggs to bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Peel and cut in half.

While steak rests, place vegetables on greased grill over medium-high heat; close lid and grill, turning occasionally, until tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes. Place in bowl with dressing; toss to coat.

Divide vegetables and steak among 4 plates; top each with egg half. Serves 4.

From Canadian Living

This Lucy Waverman recipe from Food and Drink features zhug – a Middle Eastern hot sauce that originates from the Yemeni region. It has great heat and flavour; I used it on both the vegetable kebabs and on grilled fish. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking agents. Always use freshly squeezed lime juice. I use Marukan rice vinegar.

Zhug is a hot sauce that originates in the Yemeni region

Toss the vegetables with some of the zhug and then thread onto skewers

Grill until tender and charred in some spots

Middle Eastern vegetable kebabs

Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) zhug (recipe follows)

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) rice vinegar

8 cups (2 L) mixed vegetables, cut into ¼ inch (5 mm) pieces, if necessary

Zhug

⅓ cup (80 ml) seeded, stemmed and quartered green jalapeño peppers, about 2 peppers

½ cup (125 ml) chopped parsley

½ cup (125 ml) chopped cilantro

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped garlic

2 tsp (10 ml) lime juice

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cumin

½ tsp (2 ml) ground coriander

½ tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon

¼ tsp (1 ml) ground cardamom

⅓ cup (80 ml) olive oil

Preparation:

Zhug

Place peppers, parsley, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cardamom in food processor. Pulse until slightly chunky. Stir in olive oil.

Kebabs

Mix together zhug, oil and rice vinegar. Toss with vegetables.

Thread the vegetables onto skewers, either making skewers of single vegetables or making mixed skewers. Grill about 5 minutes a side (about 10 minutes total) or until vegetables are browned but still a little crunchy. Grilling time will depend on which vegetables you are using.

Serve with extra zhug as a dip. Serves 4.

From Food and Drink

Stir-fries are a great way to get dinner on the table in a hurry. This chicken stir-fry from Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking is not only quick and tasty, it contains only 278 calories per serving. This is a very adaptable recipe – you could use pork or seafood instead of chicken and any vegetables you have on hand. I omitted the carrot and used sliced red onions instead.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I use tamari instead of soy sauce because it uses alcohol as a preservative instead of MSG, sulfites or sodium benzoate. I use Imagine organic chicken stock, Spectrum sesame oil and original flavour Tabasco sauce (instead of the hot chili paste). A recipe for homemade hoisin sauce is below.

Use the vegetables you have on hand

Stir-fry the chicken until lightly browned

Stir-fry the chicken and vegetables until cooked through and tender

Serve over steamed rice

Ingredients:

Chicken

1 lb (500 g) skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

Sauce

2/3 cup (150 ml) chicken stock or water

2 tbsp (30 ml) hoisin sauce (see recipe below)

2 tsp (10 ml) sesame oil

1 tbsp (15 ml) rice wine or sake

1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch

Hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice powder

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Vegetables and seasoning

1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp (15 ml) finely chopped ginger root

3 green onions, chopped

1 tsp hot chili paste or Tabasco sauce

1 sweet red pepper, cut in strips

1 carrot, thinly sliced

1 bunch broccoli, cut in 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces

2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh cilantro

Steamed rice for serving

Preparation:

Hoisin

Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

For stir-fry

Cut chicken into 1-inch (2.5 cm) chunks. In large bowl, combine 1 tbsp (15 ml) soy sauce with1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch. Add chicken and toss to coat well.

For sauce, combine stock, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, rice wine and 1 tbsp (15 ml) cornstarch. Set aside.

To cook, heat vegetable oil in wok or large non-stick skillet. Add garlic, ginger, green onions and hot chile paste or hot sauce. Cook for 30 seconds

Add chicken to skillet and cook until lightly browned. Add red pepper, carrot, broccoli and ¼ cup (50 ml) water. Cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until chicken is just cooked through and broccoli is bright green.

Stir sauce well and add to the chicken and vegetable mixture. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve over steamed rice and sprinkle with cilantro. Serves 4.

From Bonnie Stern’s Simply HeartSmart Cooking

I recently attended a class at the PC Cooking school given by one of my favourite cookbook authors, Chef Daphna Rabinovitch. The theme was chicken and this five-spice chicken recipe was among the best of the night. Coat chicken pieces with an aromatic rub, roast and top with a sweet glaze. Delicious!

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure your spices don’t contain colour or anti-caking ingredients. Use tamari instead of soy sauce. Recipes for homemade five-spice powder and hoisin sauce are below.

Coat chicken pieces with spice rub and marinate for 2-8 hours

Five-spice chicken with sweet hoisin glaze

Ingredients:

2 tbsp (30 ml) packed light brown sugar

1 tbsp (15 ml) sweet paprika

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp (10 ml) five-spice powder (see recipe below)

1 tsp (5 ml) fennel seed, crushed

1 tsp (5 ml) dry mustard

¼ tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper

3 lb (1.36 k) bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces

Glaze

¼ cup (60 ml) hoisin sauce (see recipe below)

2 tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup

2 tbsp (30 ml) honey

1 tbsp (15 ml) minced fresh ginger

1 tbsp (15 ml) tamari or soy sauce

Five-spice Mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Timut or Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole star anise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cinnamon powder

Hoisin

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice powder

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Preparation:

Five-spice powder

Toast the fennel seeds and Timut or Sichuan peppercorns together in a frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with cloves and star anise.

Grind the mix into a powder using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Stir in the cinnamon.

There will be more mix than needed to make this recipe. Save the extra for later use in an air-tight jar on the spice shelf.

Hoisin

Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

Glaze

Stir together hoisin sauce, maple syrup, honey, fresh ginger and soy sauce; set aside.

Chicken

In small bowl, mix together brown sugar, paprika, garlic, five-spice power, fennel seeds, mustard, salt and pepper. Place chicken pieces in baking dish or resealable plastic bag. Coat with spice rub, coating well and evenly. Cover dish with plastic wrap or seal bag and marinate in refrigerated for 2-8 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Bring chicken to room temperature for 30 minutes. Transfer chicken pieces to large aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Brush with half of glaze. Roast in centre of preheated oven, brushing once halfway through with remaining glaze, for 35-45 minutes or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Serves 4-6.

From Daphna Rabinovitch

I was very excited to see this terrific recipe from Paris-based (and Canadian) professional cook Lina Caschetto in a recent edition of the Globe and Mail. Why? Because in addition to using two of my favourite spring ingredients — asparagus and arugula — it includes recipes for five-spice mix and hoisin sauce instead of relying on store-bought versions that contain additives and preservatives. The recipe makes more than you need for this salad, but you’ll want to use both the spice mix and hoisin again — on salmon or chicken or in a stir-fry. This recipe takes a little time to make but the results are worth it; the sweet and salty vinaigrette over spring asparagus and spicy arugula is divine! You can also blanch the asparagus and make the vinaigrette ahead of time and assemble just before serving.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the feta, almonds, sesame seeds and dried spices do not contain preservatives or colour. Instead of soy sauce, use tamari, which has alcohol as a preservative instead of sulfites or MSG. I use Marukan rice vinegar. Always use freshly squeezed lemon juice instead of concentrate, which is bitter and contains preservatives.

Toast fennel seeds and peppercorns until fragrant

Add cloves, star anise and cinnamon to the fennel seeds and peppercorns and grind to make five-spice powder

Combine ingredients for hoisin and heat until it thickens

Add hoisin to other vinaigrette ingredients

Asparagus and arugula salad with homemade hoisin vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 bunch green asparagus, medium-sized, trimmed and washed

1 lb (500 g) arugula, washed and spun dry

3 tablespoons (45 ml) feta, crumbled

½ to ¾ cup (125 to 175 ml) shaved almonds, toasted

1/3 cup (75 ml) sesame seeds, toasted

Five-spice Mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole fennel seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) Timut or Sichuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole cloves

2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole star anise

2 tablespoons (30 ml) cinnamon powder

Hoisin

1 tablespoon (15 ml) tahini

1 teaspoon (5 ml) five-spice mix

2 tablespoons (30 ml) light soy sauce

2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar

½ cup (125 ml) Korean miso paste

¼ cup (60 ml) water

1/3 cup (75 ml) honey

1 clove garlic, microplaned

Basic vinaigrette

1 shallot, finely diced

1 lemon, juiced and zested

2 tablespoons (30 ml) plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) rice vinegar

1 tablespoon (15 ml) smooth Dijon mustard

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons (30 ml) honey

½ cup (125 ml) olive oil

1 pinch each fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare a medium-sized bowl of ice water and set next to the stove. Blanch the asparagus 2-4 minutes, depending on size and desired degree of doneness.

Strain over the sink and place asparagus immediately into the ice bath to cool completely. This will stop the cooking process and help maintain not only their delightful crunchiness, but also their vivid green colour.

Once cooled, strain well. Cut each spear into three pieces.

Five-spice mix

Toast the fennel seeds and Timut or Sichuan peppercorns together in a frying pan over medium-low heat until fragrant. Remove from heat and mix with cloves and star anise.

Grind the mix into a powder using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle. Stir in the cinnamon.

There will be more mix than needed to make this recipe. Save the extra for later use in an air-tight jar on the spice shelf.

Hoisin

Add all hoisin ingredients to a small pot. Whisk together and heat over medium low, stirring often, until thickened (approximately 5 to 10 minutes). Bubbles will gently start to rise to the surface and the colour of the mixture will start to darken slightly.

Set aside to cool.

Basic vinaigrette

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the basic vinaigrette and vigorously whisk together.

Add the entirety of the cooled hoisin mixture, whisking to emulsify.

Store in the fridge until serving the salad. It will keep for up to one week.

Assembly

To assemble, toss the asparagus with the arugula and some of the dressing. You won’t need all of the vinaigrette, so mix and taste as you go.

Divide the salad into four bowls and sprinkle evenly with the feta, followed by the almonds and sesame seeds. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

From Lina Caschetto

This dish, which is based on a recipe from Food and Wine, takes only a few minutes to prepare and cook. I reduced the prep time even further by using fast-fry pork cutlets instead of sliced pork tenderloin. I used panko breadcrumbs and added Italian seasoning and pepper. I also opted to toss the cucumber with greens and vinaigrette instead of yogurt and dill. I think thinner slices of cucumber would work better than the ½-inch (1.27 cm) thick slices called for in the recipe, but that’s a personal preference.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for yogurt and breadcrumbs with no preservatives. I used Astro yogurt and PC Panko.

Dredge pork in yogurt and seasoned breadcrumbs

Fry for a few minutes on each side

Pork schnitzel with cucumber salad

Ingredients:

1 English cucumber, sliced ½-inch (1.27 cm) thick

Kosher salt

Pepper

¼ cup (60 ml) finely chopped dill, plus small sprigs for garnish

1 ¾ cups (425 ml) whole-milk yogurt

1 ½ cups (375 ml) seasoned breadcrumbs

One 1¼-pound (567 g) pork tenderloin, cut on the bias into 12 thin slices, about ¼ inch (0.63 cm) thick (or use fast-fry pork cutlets)

Canola oil, for frying

Preparation:

In a colander, toss the cucumbers with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt.

Let stand for 15 minutes, then gently squeeze out the excess water. In a large bowl, mix the cucumbers with the chopped dill and ¼ cup (60 ml) of the yogurt and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, put the breadcrumbs and the remaining 1 ½ cups (375 ml) of yogurt in 2 separate shallow bowls. Season the pork with salt and pepper and dip in the yogurt, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Dredge in the breadcrumbs, pressing to flatten the pork and help the crumbs adhere.

In a large skillet, heat ¼ inch (0.63 cm) of oil until shimmering. In batches, add the pork in a single layer and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and crispy, about 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve the pork with the cucumber salad and garnish with small sprigs of dill.

From Food and Wine

This tasty baked pasta dish from Canadian Living is quick to make and is great comfort food. You can use mild or hot sausage and any kind of short pasta, such as penne or ziti.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Look for sausages and strained tomatoes that are preservative-free. Make sure the seasoning does not contain anti-caking ingredients and the cheese does not contain colour.

Brown sausage

Brown onion and mushrooms

Add passata and sausage, then toss with cooked penne and top with cheese

Quick-baked mushroom and sausage penne

Ingredients:

14 oz (400 g) mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed

1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 pkg (227 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 ml) Italian herb seasoning

¼ tsp (1 ml) hot pepper flakes

1 bottle (680 ml) strained tomatoes (passata)

400 g penne or other short pasta

¼ cup (60 ml) chopped fresh basil

3 tbsp (45 ml) chopped fresh parsley

1 cup (250 ml) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Preparation:

In Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed saucepan, cook sausage over medium heat, breaking up with spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove sausage to plate. Set aside.

Drain fat from pan. Add oil; cook onion and mushrooms over medium heat, stirring often and scraping up browned bits with wooden spoon, until softened and no liquid remains, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, Italian seasoning and hot pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in sausage and strained tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan of boiling lightly salted water, cook pasta until slightly undercooked, about 2 minutes less than package instructions. Reserving ½ cup (125 ml) of the cooking liquid, drain. Stir pasta, 3 tbsp (45 ml) of the basil, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the parsley and the reserved cooking liquid into sauce; cook, stirring until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Scrape into lightly greased 8-cup (2 L) casserole dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until cheese is melted, about 3 minutes. Broil until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 2 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining basil and parsley. Serves 4-6.

From Canadian Living

This is a great recipe from Ruth Reichl’s terrific book My Kitchen Year. You can quarter a whole chicken or use chicken pieces. This takes some preparation – for a same-day dinner, make the oil early in the day and marinate the chicken in the early afternoon. Or, even better, do it all the day before.

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the paprika does not contain colour or anti-caking ingredients.

Make the chili oil

Place strained chili oil and lemon slices in bag with chicken and marinate for at least four hours

Remove chicken from marinade, pat dry and sprinkle with pepper before browning and baking

Chicken Diavolo

Ingredients:

1 chicken, quartered

2 large jalapeno chiles

2 serrano chiles

2 lemons

¾ cup (180 ml) plus 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil

2 tbsp (30 ml) hot paprika

Salt

Pepper

Preparation:

Make chile oil by chopping the jalapeno and serrano chiles, and putting them in a small saucepan with ¾ cup (180 ml) of olive oil.  Add the hot paprika.  Grind a fair amount of black pepper into the pot and steep over medium heat for about 15 minutes.  Let it sit overnight (or all day).  If you prefer not to make the oil, you can simply buy a bottle of chile oil.

Put a strainer over a large bowl and strain the chile oil. Slice a couple of lemons and add them to the bowl. Season with salt.

Place chicken in resealable bag and pour in the oil and lemon mixture. Move chicken around to make sure all pieces are coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours (and up to a day).

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees F (260 C). When the oven is ready, heat a cast iron skillet until it’s quite hot and smoking.  Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the chile oil and pat it dry.  Sprinkle it with salt and shower it with freshly ground pepper; you need a lot. Slick the bottom of the pan with olive oil and put the chicken, skin side down, in the hot skillet. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden, which should take 5-10 minutes.  Turn the chicken over so it’s skin-side up.

Put the skillet in the preheated oven and roast about 30 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees F (76 C) in the thickest part of the thigh.

Sprinkle with lemon juice, grind more pepper over the chicken and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 4.

From My Kitchen Year by Ruth Reichl

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