Be honest: the best part of the chicken is the skin. Forget about the white meat or the dark meat, breast piece or thigh piece: that unctuous, fatty piece of poultry flesh is what my family fights over at the dinner table. My brother likes to devour it right away, but I’m more of a save-the-best-for-last kind of gal.
As indulgent as fried chicken skin may be though, no one really expects it to feature on any fine dining menus. Chicken sous vide, or roasted chicken with rosemary and thyme, but chicken skin alone?
Blame it on the foodie culture, and Foodbeasters’ (like you!) search for interesting and intriguing ingredients.
Restaurants all over the country are joining the trend. Chicago chef Dirk Flanigan makes a downright delicious salad with a slightly off-putting name that reminds me of The Devil’s Rejects: his “Skin Salad” consists of chicken skin, pork skin, salmon skin and, oh, why not throw a little bit of lettuce in there, all dressed in horseradish vinaigrette. Then there’s the spicy chicken skins (below) by chef Brandon Boudet, who compliments them with blue cheese dipping at Tom Bergin’s Tavern in Los Angeles. Douglas Rodrigues, chef du cuisine at Boston’s Clio, uses chicken skin instead of bread for his petite sandwich filled with goat cheese, chives, tambouri, and pickled onion berries. In fact, chicken skin in its various incarnations (cracklin’, chicharon, etc.) is becoming the crispy, crunchy component in a lot of dishes, replacing croutons, chips, and tortillas.
Now, I have to be honest: this news thrills me. Excites me. Makes my heart beat frantically like the fluttering flaps of a chicken’s wings.