If there’s one bad thing about Food Blogging it’s this:
You never get to eat the same thing twice. Once it’s out in the blogosphere, it’s cooked. Literally. Today’s recipe haunted us—it was so good! And it was in our old recipe format. What a great excuse to make it again. It starts with “croutons” –great slabs of ciabatta slathered with a Dijon mustardy aioli. The croutons are then topped with your favorite parts of the bird—all breasts, a whole cut-up chicken, or in our house, meaty thighs. Fresh thyme is tucked around the chicken and unpeeled garlic can fill in the gaps. As it bakes in the oven, the chicken juices combine with the croutons, the chicken crisps and you have a simply wonderful chicken dinner with very little effort. Served with it is Melissa’s Brussels Sprouts Salad. Lemon Juice, Manchego cheese, and Toasted Walnuts make the salad a wonderful partner to the crispy-skinned chicken.
And what’s all this about Melissa Clark’s Mother?
I couldn’t cook without Melissa Clark. All that’s required is a once-a-week visit to Wednesday’s New York Times. Or a perusal of one of Melissa’s cookbooks. Melissa, a staff reporter for Times, has written 42 cookbooks and counting. Like the rest of us, Melissa’s mother, a psychiatrist, reads her recipes. One day she called her daughter to say that she’d made Melissa’s Chicken Recipe and reported that “it was terrific.” Melissa was immediately suspicious. The elder Mrs. Clark never follows recipes. Melissa’s recipe called for a whole chicken. Mrs. Clark substituted that for cut-up chicken parts. Then she put the chicken pieces on top of the ciabatta, slathering them with mustard. That tangy taste combines with the drippings and adds great flavor to the bread underneath. Andrew aptly describes it as being like ‘dressing’ for the chicken. Here are the recipes with thanks to both Ms. Clarks.
Melissa Clark's Mother's Recipe for Thyme Roasted Chick with Mustard Croutons
A very easy recipe for a truly wonderful thyme-scented chicken on a bed of mustard-y 'croutons'.
- Country bread, ciabatta or other sturdy bread, preferably stale and sliced 1/2 inch thick
- Dijon mustard, or Aioli with Mustard from Trader Joe’s
- Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- 1 (4 -5 lb.) chicken, cut into 8 serving pieces, rinsed, and patted dry
- Or two skin-on chicken thighs per person
- 1 head garlic, separated into cloves (but not peeled)
- 1 bay leaf, torn into pieces
- 1/2 bunch thyme, sprigs
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 425°F Lay the bread slices in the bottom of a heavy-duty roasting pan in one layer. Brush with mustard, drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Step 2 Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place the pieces on the bread, arranging the white meat in the center and the dark meat and wings around the sides. Scatter the garlic cloves, bay leaf, and thyme over the chicken, and drizzle everything with more oil (take care to drizzle the garlic cloves).
- Step 3 Roast the chicken until it’s lightly browned, and the thigh juices run clear when pricked with a knife, about 50 minutes. If you like, you can crisp the skin by running the pan under the broiler for a minute, though you might want to rescue the garlic cloves before you do so they don’t burn (if you don’t plan to eat them, it doesn’t matter so much). Serve the chicken with pieces of bread from the pan.
Melissa Clark's Brussels Sprouts Salad
You don't have to be a Brussels Sprouts fan to love this crunchy, cheesy salad with its toasted walnuts and lemon- dressing
- 10 oz Brussels sprouts, trimmed
- Juice of 1/2 lemon Coarse salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
- 1 c toasted walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 c Manchego cheese, grated
- Step 1 Put the Brussels sprouts into a food processor fitted with the slicing disc. Process sprouts. Put the sliced sprouts in a bowl and toss with lemon juice and a little salt and pepper. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and toss well. Gently stir in the walnuts and cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve immediately or let stand for one hour before serving.