Sunday, March 28, 2010

A tale of two chickens.

Roasted chicken is one of our standby dinners. I've made dozens of different roasted chicken recipes over the years and the one I keep coming back to is Ina Garten's. It never fails me. However, I did see an intriguing one on Local Lemons so I gave it a shot tonight. It had the makings of a close contender: baguette, lemons and a Marcella Hazan pedigree.

What it lacked, sadly, was fat. The end result did not produce a crispy skin. And no matter how good the chicken or bread underneath, the opaque, soft layer on top left me disappointed and frankly, a little grossed out.

Yet the chicken wasn't the only cooking I did tonight. You see, Passover begins tomorrow night and we're going to two seders this year. Fortunately I was asked to bring dessert to both. I turned to the always reliable Chez-Panisse-trained-now-expat David Lebovitz for a fresh idea.

He did not disappoint.

Caramelized Matzoh Crunch with Chocolate
  • 4 to 6 sheets of matzoh
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted or salted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup (firmly-packed) light brown sugar
  • optional: fleur de sel, or coarse sea salt
  • 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped

Line a 11" x 17" baking sheet completely with foil (making sure it goes up the sides) and preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Line the bottom of the sheet completely with matzoh, breaking extra pieces as necessary to fill in any spaces.

In a medium-sized heavy duty saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over medium heat until the butter begins to boil. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat and pour over matzoh, spreading with a heatproof utensil.

Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the syrup darkens and gets thick. (While it's baking, make sure it's not burning. If so, reduce the heat to 325F degrees.)

Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips or chunks. Let stand 5 minutes, then spread smooth with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with a flurry of salt, then scatter the toasted almonds over the top and press them into the chocolate.

Let cool completely (you may need to chill it in the refrigerator), then break into pieces and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

No comments: