Thursday, September 17, 2009

Grilled Chicken Thigh with salt 鶏の塩焼き

Grilled Chicken Thigh with Salt 鶏の塩焼き
Vinegared cucumber salad キュウリの酢の物

When it is too much to set up a yakitori grill outside, the next best thing is to make this dish. Since skin is an important element of this dish, you probably have to get bone-in thigh and bone it yourself. Remove excess fat and butterfly the thickest part to make it even in thickness. Simply salt both sides (may not be good for you but you need to salt it quite heavily to taste good). For a grill, I use a very small electric indoor grill (George Forman's brand) but the grill needs to get rather hot. If you use a grill which can cook both sides at once, I put skin side up to make skin crispy. You can certainly make this with a frying pan or a grill pan. In that case, you put skin side down first and weight it down by a panini press or similar heavy item. You need to remove excess fat using paper towel while cooking to make the skin brown and crispy then turn over to complete cooking (do not cover). The result is very crispy skin and juicy thigh meat. Cut it up into bite size pieces, squeeze lemon and enjoy

I served this with a cold sake and a simple cucumber salad or "sunomono" 酢の物 with finely テ貝の薫製 from Hokkaido and topped with salmon roe いくら. Since it was a week night, I cheated and just used bottled Sushi vinegar (good quality one like "Mitsukan" or "Mizkan"ミツカン brand and one which uses real rice vinegar, not distilled white vinegar). After thinly slicing cucumbers, salt them lightly, mix and leave them for 5 minutes before squeezing out excess water. Mix with scallops and dress. Top with salmon roe.
crumbled semi-dry and smoked scallops ホタ

The sake glass is made by a local artisan in Asakusa, Tokyo, "Hashi-oki" 箸置き or "chop stick pillow" is also hand-made by Kitaichi glass, in Otaru, Hokkaido, and the cold sake is Yaegaki "mu" 八重垣 ”無” Junmai Daiginjo 純米大吟醸. Not bad for a week night!


Hiroyuki said...

>Simply salt both sides (may not be good for you but you need to salt it quite heavily to taste good).
From my experience with grilling fish, I think 2% salt should be enough. For example, if the chicken thigh weighs 250 g, 5g of salt should be enough, which is a little more than 1 tsp of salt. The amount of salt to use is important not only for health reasons but because you will want to use exactly the right amount if you use expensive salt like the one I sometimes use:

Uncle N said...

Hiroyuki, thank you for the comment. I have to clarify when I say "salt heavily". We usually do not use much salt except for certain dishes such as this one. (We even use a low salt soy sauce for most dishes). Although I do not measure it, I am sure the amount of salt I used was less than what you are suggesting. In Izakayas in Japan, fish like "Hokke" is way too salty to us. So I should have qualified what I meant by "sat heavily" but we are not as precise as you are, Hiroyuki. Unlike you, we are not a salt connoisseur either and use either Kosher salt, sea salt or freshly ground rock salt for bright salt flavor.

Hiroyuki said...

Thank you for your clarification. Back in 1960s, when I was small, most Japanese foods were much saltier than they are now, and I am still amazed to see how salty some foods are even now.
I am not a salt connoisseur, either, but I like to cook based on percentages and ratios for repeatability. For example, when I boil edamame, I use a 4% salt water, as I described somewhere in my blog.