This dish doesn’t call for a lot of ingredients, but those involved each play an important role.
Pepper gives it heat, the herbs and salt add a burst of flavor and browned butter caramelizes the skin and adds nutty sweetness. Butter also provides the fat to meld the flavors together.
- Air-dry raw chicken before cooking. The key to crispy skin is to air-dry the raw chicken, skin-side up, uncovered in the refrigerator for at least three hours, but ideally overnight. This will dry out the skin, removing any moisture that might otherwise steam in the pan. If you are trying a separate poultry recipe that calls for brining, air-dry the bird post brine.
- The perfect sear. It happens to the best of us – even seasoned chefs. The pan isn’t hot enough and meat glues to it. For the perfect sear, you first need to get your pan nice and hot. Then pour in just enough oil to coat the bottom. We want to make sure that the chicken is not too greasy. When the oil shimmers, makes waves or starts to smoke slightly, it’s ready to go. If you wait too long, the oil will start to smoke vigorously – which is no good for you or the bird. Don’t move the meat before the sear is complete. Browning helps food detach from the pan and avoid sticking, which helps save the chicken’s crispy skin that will be the hit of the dish.
- Baste for maximum flavor. How do restaurant chefs make a typically bland piece of chicken breast taste so good? Brining is one way to add flavor, but there’s an easier way – basting! Basting helps brown the chicken and flavor it with beurre noisette (browned butter), spices, and herbs. Slow-cooking chicken makes its exterior extremely crispy, which will nicely compliment the softer texture of the smashed potatoes. Furthermore, butter-basting imparts a full fat flavor on the chicken. The chicken’s richness should be balanced out by counteracting flavors and in this particular recipe, the spiciness of the arugula and the sweetness of the fennel will cut through the fat to create a balanced dish.
- Let the chicken rest to keep it juicy. All meat has to rest before you cut into it. The heat from cooking presses on the meat and it’s that pressure that will send the juices surging out if you cut into it before it settles. Let the meat relax a few minutes, then cut.
These tools are the ones we find especially helpful when making this dish.
- Basting spoon. A basting spoon is designed to make basting safe and easy. It’s main characteristic is a long handle – at least twelve inches – to protect you from hot liquids. Basting spoons are made of heat-resistant materials, like stainless steel. In a pinch, any heat-resistant spoon will do.
- Skillet. For this searing followed by roasting technique, a heavy skillet that conducts heat quickly and evenly will yield the best results. We recommend a high-quality stainless steel, oven-proof frying pan or cast-iron skillet. Make sure your pan is large enough so that the seared items aren’t crowded. If they’re too close together, they will steam instead of brown.
The list below includes all the equipment you’ll want to make this dish.
Sauté pan or skillet
Large spoon to baste
Baking sheet with rack
Chicken linguini with marsala wine & pecorino
For a perfect chicken pasta, sauté mushrooms and onions together then deglze with marsala wine. Finish with pecorino and serve with linguini.