From the Heart of the Artichoke: Peppery Chicken

There is something so incredible about a cookbook that explores food through the seasons. While you first discover the book in one season with passing time the book never grows old. Each passing season proves to show new ways to interpret the old recipes. One day I hope to write my own cookbook, and I now that it must be written in this manner. Seasonal and fresh ingredients should be the prerequisite for cooking although sometimes that is hard to do in today’s world when we can get seasonal strawberries or corn on the cob at any point of the year. I am crazy thankful for the availability, but there is no denying that certain food tastes better during its rightful season. The first bites of the naturally sweet watermelons that are available during the summer are just perfect enough to wait the seasons for them.

This is why I am such a huge fan of David Tanis’ part cookbook part food guide, Heart of the Artichoke and other Kitchen Journeys. Tanis is a co-Chef of Chez Panisse, a bistro in Berkeley serving dishes like Pork loin with mustard sauce, peas, spring onions and spaetzle noodles and Grilled spiced Sonoma Liberty duck breast with fava bean toast, cherries and grilled spring onions. The flavors coming from the restaurant, as well as his book, seem to just scream fresh and satisfaction. The food is simple and delicious as there is no fuss necessary for great food. The book reflects so much of his attitude towards food through seasonal menus he presents as well as a list of his kitchen rituals, like eating oatmeal with a moat of milk and sugar or dining on raw artichokes for lunch.

I will definitely be making more dishes from this book, but I decided to start with a basic recipe that is easy for anyone to make. Tanis presents a simple yet perfectly spiced recipe for Peppery Chicken Wings. I decided to use all of the spices he encourages but I used pieces from a deconstructed chicken rather than just the wings. I liked the wings after they were cooked but honestly all of the meat was just perfect. It is simple to marinate and simple to cook and when it comes out of the oven the spices are aromatic and the juice is ready to burst. I never cook chicken on the bone, but I am definitely ready to develop my own spice mixtures inspired by Tanis’ recipe. Does curry and coca powder chicken sound interesting to you? How about citrus and sage? I think the possibilities are unlimited, but if you have any brains to you, you would start with this recipe of perfect and simple chicken.

Peppery Chicken Wings 

[from David Tanis’ Heart of the Artichoke and other Kitchen Journeys]

  •     5 pounds chicken wings (wing tips removed) or 1 chicken, deconstructed
  •     Salt and pepper
  •     2 teaspoons ground allspice
  •     1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  •     1 teaspoon cayenne
  •     1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  •     4 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
  •     3 tablespoons olive oil
  1. Lay the chicken pieces out on a baking sheet and season well with salt and pepper. Transfer the wings to a big mixing bowl, add all the other ingredients and give the chicken pieces a massage. Refrigerate for at least an hour, or as long as overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the wings in a roasting pan or baking sheet in one layer. Roast, uncovered, until nicely browned and crisp, about one hour. You can eat the chicken hot, at room temperature or cold.
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