Cook the Book

Chicken Lady Chicken From 'My Paris Kitchen'

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[Photograph: Ed Anderson]

On the page before David Lebovitz begins his recipe for "Chicken Lady Chicken" in his new book, My Paris Kitchen, he tells the story of how he fell for one particular woman's rotisserie chicken. Its charred, sweet and spicy skin made it impossible for Lebovitz to skip picking up a bird every time he went to the market. His home version, made sans-rotisserie, is dangerously easy to make. Lebovitz butterflies a chicken and then marinates it for 24 hours in a potent blend of harissa, soy sauce, honey, garlic, oil and plenty of salt. Then he gives the chicken a hard sear under a weight before finishing it in a hot oven. The finished chicken is a bit mottled, with golden and crisp skin.

Why I picked this recipe: I have a soft spot for rotisserie chickens of all persuasions. Even the type not made on a real rotisserie.

What worked: This golden chicken skin is indeed habit-forming.

What didn't: Don't do what I did and ignore the chicken for the first 10 minutes of searing. You will burn the skin. Instead, follow Lebovitz's instructions and check on it every couple of minutes.

Suggested tweaks: If you'd like to grill the chicken, set up a two-level fire. Sear the chicken under a weight as written on the hot side of the grill before transferring it to the cooler side to finish cooking, covered.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of em>My Paris Kitchen to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.

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