Sunday’s in England or US wouldn’t be the same without the traditional roast. Since I am not living in either country, I thought it would be nice to have a roast dinner for a change plus I can’t resist a good roast either. I wanted to try roasting the chicken using a method I learnt from an Israeli chef a few months back. His Egyptian grandmother roasted the chicken by creating a border of sea salt . The salt helps to create the skin to brown and crispy without losing tenderness or moisture of the meat. The Chinese has a similar method by wrapping a whole chicken in lotus leaf placed on top of bed of hot salt cooked over a stove top.
With the modern convection ovens, it is much easier to achieve the taste the same result. I decided to incorporate the Egyptian method but I infused some fresh rosemary to give the chicken extra flavour. The roast dinner would not be the same without potatoes. To complete the meal, I served some beautiful steamed baby cauliflowers and baby corn. Baby cauliflowers are rarely sold here in Singapore supermarkets. I happen to chance upon them during my food styling workshop last week and was lucky enough to take home the unused produce. The organic fruits and vegetables were supplied by Melissa’s, a fresh produce specialist based in the USA.
I decided not to dress the baby cauliflowers and corn. I wanted to rosemary flavour to come through and the natural sweetness of the vegetables to compliment the chicken. No one ingredients overpowered each other.
What I like about this recipe is that you need minimal ingredients to complete a wonderful meal. The chicken is roasted on a lower temperature and cooked for a longer period. The meat is so tender and falls of the bones so easily that you only need a fork to eat the chicken. Here is my recipe for the roast chicken.
Salt Baked Roast Chicken with Fresh Rosemary
1 whole chicken (approximately 1.5 kgs)
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
200 grams of sea salt (fine or coarse)
500 grams potatoes
1. Preheat the oven to 180 deg Celsius or 350 deg Fahrenheit. Prepare a roasting pan or tray with parchment paper. If you are not using parchment paper, sprinkle some oil on the base to prevent the chicken skin sticking to the pan/tray.
2. Prepare the chicken by removing the neck, feet and discarding any giblets. Trim off any excess fat.
3. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Try not to tear the skin during this process.
4. Carefully insert the rosemary in between the skin and meat of the breast and drumstick.
5. Tie the drumsticks together with the cooking string. Place the chicken in the middle of the roasting pan or chicken.
6. Create a border of sea salt around the chicken. Place the washed whole potatoes on top of the sea salt.
7. Depending on the size, roast the chicken for between 1 hr 15 mins to 1 hr 3o mins until the skin has turned golden brown.
8. Once it is ready, let the chicken stand for 15 to 20 mins before serving. Brush off any salt from the chicken and potatoes before transferring the chicken and potatoes to a serving dish.
Options: You may use other herb such as thyme instead of rosemary.
Hope you enjoyed my first post and recipe. My 13 year old nephew topped my evening by complimenting the meal as “This chicken was AWESOME!”.