Do you like sesame noodles? Are you tempted to lick the falafel sandwich dressing right off your fingers? Yes? Then this is a recipe for you. Sesame rules the roost here. It”s deep, subtle, and toasty. Sesame is the perfect companion for roast chicken, which boasts a toasty subtlety all its own. The meat stays lusciously moist, since it cooks right in the marinade. At the same time, the skin turns a lovely, crispy, burnished brown. The green onions are meltingly delicious after an hour of stewing in the sauce. And the pan sauce…well if it weren”t for my pesky pride, I would tuck right into a big bowl of it. Since I still retain a teensy little bit of decorum, I”m forced to settle for savoring the sauce-drenched rice in slow, deliberate mouthfuls. This one is a keeper.
I shy away from recipes with long ingredient lists. I like to be able to taste each ingredient, which is hard when there are 243 of them. I make an exception here, because I typically have all these ingredients on hand. And in spite of their numbers, they come together in a unified marinade with its own heft and personality. Besides, this recipe is blessedly simple to make. Chop, stir, and pour. Then, hours later, or even the next day, just pop it in the oven. If the stock market offered this kind of return on investment, I”d be retired by now.
Triple Sesame Ginger Chicken helped redeem me for overlooking my husband’s birthday until the day was nearly over. Luckily, he’s as pitiful as I am when it comes to remembering special dates. It’s best to have more than one date-forgetter in a marriage. Unless you’re armed with sesame chicken, in which case you may just be forgiven. If you”re only halfway out of the doghouse on day one, this chicken makes delectable leftovers on day two.
I adapted this recipe from a book I picked up at an airport newsstand years ago. It looks and feels like a magazine, but I guess it’s technically a book. It’s called , from the Best of Fine Cooking series. It’s got plenty of intriguing recipes, a flimsy magazine binding, gorgeous pictures, and all sorts of helpful pointers on cooking with chicken.
P.S. The picture above doesn”t include the magnificent sauce. Sorry for that little oversight. It”s a lot to juggle: the food, the hunger, the family, the camera. Oh, and there”s no law that says you have to use thighs for this recipe. You could mix it up with some other chicken parts. I’m just partial to thighs. On chickens, that is.
TRIPLE SESAME GINGER CHICKEN
1 teaspoon kosher salt
5 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1/3 cup sesame tahini
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup sherry
1/3 cup honey
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
8 chicken thighs, with skin and bone (about three pounds)
1 bunch scallions (reserve one for garnish), white and light green parts, cut into one-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Mix first ten ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well to blend.
Poke three or four slits in each piece of chicken with a sharp knife. I usually cut off big loose flaps of skin with kitchen shears, to reduce the fat factor a bit. Your call.
Place chicken thighs in a 9×13 baking dish. Pour marinade over and flip the chicken pieces to coat.
Cover dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours, turning chicken a few times.
Remove chicken one hour before roasting, to bring to room temperature. Turn the pieces skin-side up. Tuck scallion pieces under and around the thighs.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Roast chicken uncovered for one hour. Baste with pan juices a couple times in the second thirty minutes.
Remove chicken from pan and tent with foil. Pour pan juices into a bowl or a gravy separator. Skim fat off pan juices.
Serve chicken on cooked basmati rice. Pour some of the pan sauce over, sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallion.