I love a good char. Anything blackened calls to me. I’m forever picking the nearly burned-to-a-crisp bits of vegetables off of baking sheets after they’ve been roasted. Tiny, almost unrecognizable Brussels sprouts leaves? I’m there. Crispy, tiny little florets of roasted cauliflower? I’m your gal. I don’t know why these bits, that most people would probably just throw away, have got me under their spell, but they do. I love the flavor of char, I guess. Is that a flavor? I think it is. I’m pretty sure someone said that once on Mind of a Chef, so it must be true. Either way, blackened, crispy, charred, burned, whatever you want to call it, I’m a fan. So that’s why I made this charred coconut chicken. I marinated the chicken in an old standby: coconut milk + a random assortment of spices, let it sit overnight so maximum deliciousness, then threw everything in the oven at a high temperature and let the chicken get good and blackened. You need skin on your bird for this one, folks. Skinless chicken breast lovers, look elsewhere. You want the skin to lift off of the meat itself, forming a crispy little air pocket of magic. Each crispy bite is my version of heaven, and the char just makes it all the more wonderful. If you have access to a grill, then obviously that’s the way you want to go here, but I don’t, so I am left to recreate that wonderful grilled flavor on my own, in my Brooklyn kitchen, dreaming of summers past when I did have a grill and all was right in the world (aside from the fact that I was not yet living in New York). My not owning a grill is probably why I’ve developed such a taste for all things charred: you always want what you can’t have.
The best things in the world: avocado toast, shakshuka, cookies and porchetta sandwiches.
Aside from pining over charcoal and grilled things, I’ve been busy as always. Work is hectic, but in a good way – I’m happy to be busy and I’m never sitting at work, looking at the clock and counting down the minutes. It’s more like, “Holy shit, it’s already 7?” That does mean that I’ve got less time for other things, but I’m learning to prioritize and manage my time better and while I’m not quite there yet, I think I will be soon. We’ve got big plans this weekend, too, which include Rockaway Beach (my north star) and tacos, so all is right in the world and I’m l-i-v-i-n’ until summer’s over. I hope that everyone has a frozen drink and sunshine filled weekend! And do yourself a favor – eat something charred.