Occasionally, in the Food & Wine diet, we swap wine for a cold, crisp beer.
Here's how chef Tyler Florence makes his fried chicken incredibly crispy and perfectly moist.
In Copenhagen, one of the world's hottest restaurant cities, Amass chef Matt Orlando has created a dish everyone's talking about.
The Jewish cooking staple schmaltz (rendered chicken fat flavored with onion) is the new "it" ingredient. Here, a glossary of essential Yiddish schmaltz terminology.
"Everybody likes to joke about chicken—the rubber-chicken prize, or 'This alligator tastes like chicken.' It's calling something boring," says Judy Rodgers, chef-owner of San Francisco's beloved Zuni Café. But chicken done expertly, Rodgers says, "is like a perfect piece of toast with just the right amount of butter. It can be astonishing." She should know: Zuni's roast chicken is considered the best in the country—in a recent poll by foodandwine.com, Rodgers's recipe won by a landslide.
Rodgers joined Zuni in 1987 and, within months, proposed what the menu still calls "Chicken for two roasted in the brick oven; warm bread salad with scallions, garlic, dandelion greens, dried currants and pine nuts. (Approximately one hour.)" The dish depends famously on three key elements: small birds, high heat (450 to 500 degrees) and thorough presalting of the chicken several days before cooking. The essence of the Zuni chicken experience, in Rodgers's view, is that "it's like, 'Here. Is. Chicken.' " Pure and bold and underlined. "Then of course there's the family-style thing," she says of the way the dish is presented on a platter. "Eating with your hands, shopping around for the pieces you want. 'Oh, I want a gooey piece! Now I want a crispy piece! Get your hands off the pine nuts!' Plus, it smells good."
For F&W's September issue dedicated to all things chicken, TV star, philanthropist and New Orleans booster Emeril Lagasse interviews Martha Stewart about her famous birds.
Emeril Lagasse: My foundation helps support the Edible Schoolyard Project at an elementary school in New Orleans. What could my students there learn from raising chickens?
Martha Stewart: Every garden can benefit from a chicken coop and a flock of healthy birds. A little ecosystem can be developed that enables the chickens to eat all the vegetable scraps from the garden, and the owner to eat the eggs from the chickens. There's much to learn about backyard animal husbandry, and raising chickens is an excellent way to teach children the importance of good animal caregiving.
EL: If I were going to raise chickens, what breed would match my personality?
MS: I've always raised a variety of birds, finding that they are extremely interesting to look at and have different personalities. And the old saying that birds of a feather flock together is absolutely true. I think you should raise the big birds, like the Jersey Giants, the Buff Cochins, the Partridge Cochin and the Araucana.
EL: In New Orleans, we have some great chicken dishes. Do you have a favorite?
MS: One dish that I really enjoy is chicken-and-andouille gumbo, which happens to be the signature stew of New Orleans. It bears the imprint of nearly every ethnic group to have settled in the Crescent City. The gumbo includes the "holy trinity" of Cajun and Creole cooking: celery, onion and bell pepper. It must always be served over rice.
EL: What have you learned from raising chickens for so many years?
MS: That I can't possibly buy a store-bought egg. I can't bake or cook or eat anything but my own eggs. They are so good, so rich, so delicious and so nutritious when the chickens they come from are raised carefully and organically in your own backyard.
For F&W's September issue dedicated to all things chicken, superstar chef Michael Symon shared his favorite spice mixes.
To make each dry rub, toast 2 tablespoons of each ingredient in a small skillet over moderate heat until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and let cool, then coarsely crush.
Coriander seeds, dried lemon peel and ground ginger.
Cumin seeds, smoked paprika and chipotle chile powder.
Dried oregano, dried orange peel and granulated garlic.
Fennel seeds, dried orange peel and onion powder.
Pink peppercorns, dried rosemary and granulated garlic.
TO USE: Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then rub and chill for 4 to 8 hours before roasting or grilling.
The TV star and F&W contributing editor shares the best places around the world to try every single part of the chicken—from the head to the feet.
Bird Land, Tokyo Chef Toshihiro Wada's Bird Land tops my list for yakitori in Tokyo. Every part of the bird is served here, including the heart, a lean, tender organ that only takes a minute to cook over the superhot binchotan charcoal. Most people think of offal as too funky, but the heart is a great introduction to the odd bits: It's slightly chewy and takes on a nice char. ginza-birdland.sakura.ne.jp.
HEADS + NECKS
Va Villa, Mexico City At this stall in the Barrio Tepito district, heads and necks are fried in lard and then swaddled in salsa verde, queso blanco, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Laid on top of crispy fried tortillas, they almost look like little chicks sleeping. Fray Bartolome de las Casas (West Of Aztecas), Barrio Tepito.
BUTTS (POPE'S NOSES)
Shilin Night Market; Taipei, Taiwan Walking through this market, you will bump into vendors grilling skewers of unusual chicken parts: unlaid eggs, feet and chicken butts, the flappy bit at the end of the animal where a huge nugget of fat holds the massive plume of feathers. Try any vendor; grilled hard, these chewy nuggets become a crispy, delicious bite and are my single favorite part of the chicken. Jihe Rd, Shilin District.
Chez Georges, Paris
My grandmother's chopped chicken liver has no equal, but Chez Georges's chicken liver terrine is close. Smooth, rich, fatty, minerally and dense, it has all the qualities I love in liver. Get extra bread. 1 Rue du Mail; 33-1-42-60-07-11.
New Lane; Penang, Malaysia
New Lane is the greatest street-food stroll in the world, partly because it's the only place to get these chicken wings—glazed with a sticky sauce of sugar, soy, rice wine, cinnamon and star anise. Look for a stall with the longest line of locals. Lorong Baru, Georgetown.
Kokekokko, Los Angeles The chefs at Little Tokyo's Kokekokko have yakitori down to a science. They also nail the art. Try skewers of non-traditional parts, like keel bones, the rubbery wedge between the chicken breasts. It has great smoky flavor and the perfect crunchy, yielding feel. 203 S. Central Ave.; 213-687-0690.
Bukhara, New Delhi One of the best restaurants in India, Bukhara serves richly seasoned, tandoor-cooked red-gold chicken thighs that are buttery, spicy and crisp in all the right places. Diplomatic Enclave, Sardar Patel Margs; 91-11-26112233.
Willie Mae's Scotch House, New Orleans Located in the Treme neighborhood, the restaurant is run by Willie Mae's granddaughter, who serves some of the best fried chicken. It's the only place where I ever order breasts, because frankly, it's one of the few spots that knows how to cook them. 2401 Saint Ann St.; 504-822-9503.
Husk; Charleston, SC Southern chefs aren't afraid of fat, so it makes sense that chicken skin shows up in a few different incarnations at Sean Brock's Husk (as a salad garnish or with pimento cheese). The absolute best use of the skin, however, is as an appetizer, where it's buttermilk-marinated and deep-fried. huskrestaurant.com
Scotchies Restaurant; St. Ann, Jamaica The chicken is bathed in a flaming-hot seasoning of Scotch bonnet peppers and spices. After a day in the rub, the birds are smoke-roasted on stacks of pimento wood. I ask for piles of legs and a coconut water. N. Coast Hwy., Drax Hall.
M. Wells Dinette; Long Island City, NY Inside the Museum of Modern Art's PS 1 outpost, this spot is renowned for Hugue Dufour's fat-on-fat Quebecois food. I always order the crispy and chewy buffalo-style chicken feet—drenched in hot sauce and, of course, maple syrup. momaps1.org
The Indonesian Ayam Cemani is "my most requested bird, ever," says Paul Bradshaw of Florida's Greenfire Farms. Why is the chicken so special? It's partly aesthetic: The Ayam Cemani is black inside and out, from its feathers to its comb to its internal organs. "They're stunningly beautiful, like staring into a black hole," says Bradshaw. The bird is also incredibly rare: Bradshaw, the first US breeder, won't have chicks to sell until early 2014. He's pricing them to meet demand: $5,000 a pair. greenfirefarms.com
Read more from F&W's September issue on travel and America's best chicken.