Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Last night my writing partner came over to watch the OC- strictly for business reasons, you see- and I made the Vietnamese chicken salad from Nigella Bites. I love this salad- I'd made it before, having gotten the recipe here and cannot recommend it enough. Plus, it gave me an excuse to use both my new Oxo vegetable peeler (which may be the best vegetable in the entire world- going from our old possibly left-handed and definitely ancient peeler to this is the kind of thing that makes you want to peel vegetables All Day), and my new cheap mandoline , which I don't love quite as much- the safety guard made it impossible to julienne the last parts of the carrots and shred the last bits of the cabbage- but I do love it quite a bit.

Nigella of course says to just pick up precooked chicken. You could do that, but it's so easy and so much better to just roast a chicken breast. My writing partner questioned my chicken methodology, as it came out tender and delicious instead of, well, dry, as much roasted chicken breast can be. Here's my method:

Basic Roasted Chicken Breast

- 1 whole boneless skinless chicken breast
- kosher salt
- olive oil

This is a simple, simple method, but as such requires good ingredients. A supermarket chicken will do well, but an organic chicken breast will be much, much better. Much. I'm not as neurotic about the quality of the olive oil as I would be for, say, a salad dressing, but I'm not using crap, either.

The day before, salt the hell out of the chicken breast. (I know, I know, salt. Look, if you give up your Diet Cokes and your processed foods, you'd be amazed how much salt you can eat.) Wrap it in plastic wrap, and stick in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the chicken breast on a baking sheet and brush a little olive oil on both sides. (You shouldn't need more than a tablespoon, tops, and can probably get away with less.) Salt again if you want. Cook for 30-35 minutes.

You can then eat it straight, serve it with some sort of sauce, or let it cool- it is wonderful in all sorts of salads.