Serious Eats: Recipes
Dinner Tonight: Roast Chicken with Saffron and Lemons
Honestly, there isn't much in this Saveur recipe to differentiate it from a fairly standard roast chicken. Lemon and rosemary are customary, as is the straight 400°F cooking method. You know, and that's fine. As long as there is a good quality chicken underneath it all, good things will happen. But add one of the most expensive spices known to man, and amazing things happen.
Accept no substitutes. Saffron is expensive but it is essential. I was lucky enough to be given a packet as a wedding gift and I've been doling that sucker out carefully like the precious substance it is. Luckily, a little bit goes a long way. This whole bird only needs a large pinch, which is toasted briefly in a skillet to make it more fragrant.
It is then crushed up with some black pepper and salt, and rubbed on the inside and outside of the chicken. The small amount somehow manages to bathe the bird in a glorious yellow hue, and perfume it in a way I'd never really experienced before. I'm not sure if so few ingredients could make a bigger impression. This is easily one of the best roast chickens I've had in ages.