Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jar-Jar Binks Ruined Miso Forever

There are worse things in the world than roasting a chicken once a week. Of course given my lack of organization and general allergy to schedules, it never works out to be a regular, say, Sunday night thing for us. But we do it often enough, and now that it's warm the grill can step in to replace the oven. Whichever method you use, it is vitally important to save all the bones, even if you have guests; if they think it's weird, tell them to get over it. You boil them again, so what's the problem? Throwing bones away before using them for stock is a crime, plain and simple.

Lately there are lots of meals for which I don't open wine–it's expensive to drink all the time and takes a toll physically–but for a roast chicken I almost always pop a friendly, mid-weight red–lately Borgueuils and Chinons have been really doing it for me, but with a few more degrees on the thermometer, this is a meal designed for rosé. Speaking of which, it's back to utterly gorgeous outside (I'm drinking rosé now) but we went through a pretty chilly spell a few days ago. In response (and lately I've been thinking about how much the weather influences my cooking every day), I made sort of summer picnic food but with all of the cold-weather comfort quotient we needed on the evening in question.

While the (spatchcocked) bird roasted, I steamed peeled and cut Yukon Gold potatoes and then tossed them in lots of cider vinegar with minced cornichons, capers, garlic, chives, scallions, onion, olive oil, a minced ume plum, salt, and pepper. My Great-Aunt Martha made this better than anyone in the world, and hipped me to the necessity for adding the vinegar while the spuds are still warm. She didn't use ume or capers, but she would have approved. She was also the nicest lady in the world and made a Sachertorte that would blow your freaking mind. Very old school, but a profoundly gifted cook.

There was some thawed pesto in the fridge, and some endive mash, so I figured I'd make gravy to help keep the picnic fare firmly in the comfort camp. Lacking any thawed stock, I whisked some miso into water with the pestos. After the chicken came out, I made a roux, and once nutty I poured in the mixture and stirred it for a bit. I've raved about pesto gravy more than once, and miso-pesto gravy is even better. There aren't many savory applications where miso doesn't make it better, for that matter.

Eating the potato salad while it's still warm is a treat. Of course, eating the rest of it standing up over the sink for lunch doesn't suck either. It's a gift that keeps on giving. And having a panoply of edible flowers going off in both herb and vegetable gardens makes for some pretty splendid garnishes these days. So far, this has been the nicest spring since we moved here. After last summer, which was horrible, we're cautiously optimistic that maybe we're due for some good growing.


William said...

Jar-Jar didn't ruin it for me as much as 2 Live Crew. Yes, I linked to that!

It was especially bad when my son decided he wanted to make miso soup. There we were in the vast and confusing miso section of Mitsuwa, trying to puzzle out the Japanese labels, and it was all I could do not to bust out into song. Dirty, dirty, wholly inappropriate song.

Chris Rywalt said...

Whoops, posted that as my son. Why does he have a Google account anyway?

peter said...

I know- it's true, but other people have done that joke before. Did you ever hear 2 Live Jews' "Oy, it's so humid?"

I'm guessing it's because you're a bad parent.