Jul 23, 2023

Salt Is All You Need For A Simple Crispy Chicken Dinner

We often find ourselves without all of the ingredients and seasonings we would like to have. These cases are seldom as hopeless as they seem. As long as you have salt in your pantry, you can make dinner. It may not seem like much, but salt is really all you need to make wonderfully crispy chicken.

The process begins at least 3 hours before cooking. Take a whole chicken, something like 4 pounds, and debone and butterfly it so the bird lays out in an even layer in the roasting pan. Butterflying chicken involves the removal of the entire backbone and breast bone of the chicken, while deboning removes the remaining leg and thigh bones. Don't bother with the wings. If you're apprehensive about this process, don't be. It's easy to get the hang of it with a little practice, but you can always ask a good butcher to do it for you.

Using a good teaspoon of kosher salt, rub the chicken all over and allow it to sit in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours. During this time, the salt will inject flavor into the meat while drawing moisture out of the skin, leading to much faster crisping in the oven. About 10 minutes before cooking, remove the chicken from the refrigerator so it has time to come up to room temperature before it is cooked. This, along with the deboning and butterflying, will help cook the bird roast quickly and evenly.

Cook the chicken under the broiler for 10 minutes. The pan should be 3 to 6 inches away from the heating element, and rotated about halfway through for even browning. The oven can then be turned down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, where the chicken will cook for 25 more minutes. If this seems like a short time on low heat, remember that you've reshaped the chicken to lay flat. This exposes it to more heat, allowing it to cook faster than a whole bird.

Though the finished chicken will be flavorful, tender, and crispy, you can pair a few things with it to give it a little extra boost. Since we're working with minimal ingredients, a premade vinaigrette or marinade will work well to drizzle over the chicken for elevated flavor. Classic sides like creamy mashed potatoes or crispy roasted ones will work well. Alternatively, roasted Brussels sprouts, boiled carrots, or even a green salad are all excellent to pair with this roasted chicken.

If you're reluctant to try chicken this way, whether it's the prospect of deboning or the fact that the only seasoning is salt, we encourage you not to knock it before you've tried it. A teaspoon of salt goes a long way with a chicken when it's had time to sit and work into the skin and meat. And, despite the long wait in the fridge, you'd be hard-pressed to find a faster-cooking bird.