Confession Wednesday- Addictions


Some think I overdo the white powder. I admit I use a lot of it. Overdoing denied. I couldn’t imagine life without the dizzying white substance. It makes everything it touches better- more intense, more powerful, more complete. The feel of the tiny white flakes on the tips of my fingers tickles my taste buds before it reaches them. The slow melt on my moist lips only fuels the craving.


It is not good for you, I was told many times. But the craving is there- I need it. If it were scarce, I’d hoard it. And I am not exactly shy about my habit. I will use it as often as can, getting my fix over the gasps and health related warnings. The simple white dust transforms bland into extraordinary. A sprinkle of it turns blah into wow. A pinch masks bitterness. And as it disintegrates, its little particles release pure magic.



Salt is amazing. And I have been addicted to it desperately for a long time. I have been known to have dinner somewhere and reach in the little jar with my fingers at the table only to taste it. A couple of times. Ok, maybe several times. If salt is as good as the one they have at say Frasca, I might sneakingly feast on it. It is flaky, subtle, and flavorful with particles that melt in your mouth quickly and leave a delicate trace of salty goodness.


While I may be heavy handed with these crystal grains, I seriously think that it deserves credit for transforming our food in a way nothing else does. It is a basic match with our taste and a necessity of the human body. I am not about to give you a speech on what salt is made of and why it is healthy or not or in what quantities. There are plenty of much more qualified sources to educate you on that. Take the Salt Institute for example- yes there is one. Or for a more fun approach Michael Ruhlman in this article. I will say that sodium intake problems are vastly related to processed foods and not the salt shaker; even sodas or cereal have hidden sodium.


Not all salt is created equal. Texture and flavor are major considerations in picking salt favorites. I like flaky, quickly-dissolving, gentle in flavor, ever so slightly moist. A treat for me is fleur de sel, a natural sea salt harvested by hand with flavors that vary from region to region. I hate table salt because of its texture and am not big on Hawaiian rock salt because of its slightly bitter taste. My everyday and much beloved salt is Morton’s coarse kosher salt. The flakes are perfectly sized, it disintegrates at the perfect rate, and it is mild in flavor, not overwhelming but simply complementing vegetables and meats.


I own up to my addiction- I love salt. And instead of trying to kick this not-so-nasty habit, I embrace it. And if you make this chicken, it may just be that one time you need to get hooked on the white powder.You can find this recipe in my favorite cookbook, the Colorado Organic- cooking seasonally, eating locally.


Salt Crusted Chicken, a recipe from The Kitchen


Ingredients: one 3-4 pound chicken, 1 to 2 pounds kosher salt. (and it’s easy to make too!)


Heat up your oven to 400 degrees.


In a baking pan that fits your chicken loosely without leaving too much room, sprinkle a thin layer of salt. Place your chicken, breast up, on top of this layer of salt and begin to form the crust of salt.


Wield that box of white goodness over the chicken. Don’t be shy- I won’t tell anyone! Rain the white droplets liberally and as uniformly as you can. I use a spray bottle to make the salt stick to the chicken and the salt granules stick to each other. You can also wet your hands and get the salt moist enough to form a crust when it heats up. Form your crust and get it ready for the oven!


BEFORE


and AFTER


This 3 pound chicken took an hour and a quarter to be perfectly cooked.


Let it rest for 30 minutes. The crust hardens and will come off easy leaving your chicken intact. You will be able to crack it open and remove it in big chunks. This will leave the chicken virtually clean of it, but the skin will be pretty salty and is not to be served…although I may have nibbled on a few pieces of it every time I made it.



Juicy, tender, and gently infused with salt! Serve it with your favorite seasonal side dishes.


Photography by Jennifer Olson.

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  • Tanantha@ I Just Love My Apron

    Love your story! Your writing got me sucked. Now I have to debate to literally cover the whole chicken with salt or butter. hmm tough decision.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Good I found you. Your photos are so good.

  • My Totally Inspired PC

    Hello there Polly Motzko here:

    How salty is the Salt-Crusted Chicken? I have a terra cotta chicken cooker in my kitchen and I don't use it as often as I should. (Plus you can make some awesome artisan breads in it!)

    I have seen this recipe many times but never made it.

    Your chicken looks wonderful.

    Polly Motzko

    http://www.CookingUpAStorminCA.ning.com

  • Food Lover

    wasn't it so salty from the top?!!!

  • Patrick

    Looks so delicious :)

  • julie

    wow. I would have never thought to do that. I'm a salt addict too so I may need to try this one.

  • Andra

    Tanatha- butter or salt is a good problem to have! I'd say try salt this one time. Very easy to make and a treat for the salt lover!

    Polly- it actually isn't that salty. The salt forms a hard encassing crust that allows roasting while keeping all the moisture/juices in. The skin gets salted but, as I said, that is not to be served…unless of course you need your salt fix.

    Food lover- the salt on the top is superficial and mostly seasons the skin. The rest of the chicken only benefits from a slight salt infusion.

    Julie and Patrick – try making it. It is delicious. And let me know how it turns out!

  • lemonsandanchovies

    This is great. I make a salt-crusted fish but I've never thought to apply the technique to chicken. Thanks!

  • Andra

    lemonsandanchovies- that is a some I didn't think of – salt crusted fish. Thanks for swapping ideas!

  • Kait

    That chicken looks SUPER Juicy! Great photos.

  • Monet

    I have a problem with grudges too…but your chicken looks amazing…so moist that I wish I still ate meat!

  • Monet

    I realize that I meant to post the grudge comment on your latest blog post…I got confused because I was reading several of your posts! Sorry!

  • Andra

    Kait- thanks for stopping by. My friend and experienced food photographer Jen Olson deserves all the credit on the pictures.

    Monet- glad I am not all alone out there grudging :) No worries on getting confused – can hardly get upset with a vegetarian getting confused because of a juicy chicken :)