About a week ago I had this reality cooking show dream. I don't watch reality cooking shows. I see bits here and there but that's it. This wasn't any particular show that I could tell and the judges were nebulous. But I was cooking with @Nicko on a team.
His dish was a steak and wilted spinach thing which the judges loved. Though in the harsh light of day, I don't know you top steak with spinach so well. Maybe Nicko has better ideas than I do.
I made a kind of crackling risotto tuile from leftover risotto with an impossible cut of chicken in a sort of chicken tornedos osso bucco . Which also makes no sense but made me wonder.
So on to reality.
The gremolata and chicken concept was singing to my soul. I debated meat gluing up some chicken to create my custom cut of chicken, but settled on a sausage inspired by Hubert Keller's technique. I've done plastic wrapped sausages before, but not with a poultry base and thought Keller's concept was a good starting point.
While parsley is the most common herb for gremolata, you can use others and still fit the definition, at least to my understanding. And one of my favorite combinations is Lemon, Garlic and Rosemary. So that's where i went.
Amounts are approximate.
2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (10 thighs, a mix of sizes)
1 large clove garlic minced
zest of two lemons
rosemary, 2 long stems, maybe 30 linear inches of rosemary. I use Arp which is cold hardy to my climate and not as dense with leaves as the standard rosemary so adapt accordingly.
2-3 teaspoons of salt
lemon pepper somewhat over a teaspoon I estimate. To taste of course.
1/2 cup cream
Cut chicken into 1 inch chunks. Season with salt, lemon pepper, rosemary, zest and garlic. Process in the food processor following Keller's directions for texture and eggs and cream. I should have saved some chicken aside and chopped by hand to add in at the end for improved texture.It came out more homogeneous than I had envisioned. Live and learn. Take a small amount and cook it off so you can taste it for seasoning. Correct as needed.
Pack into a gallon ziplock and refrigerate for flavors to meld. After a few hours, heat a large pot of water to boiling. Pipe forcemeat on to plastic wrap as per Keller. Tie with string in sections.
Immerse tied sausage into the boiling water. Cover with a plate to keep the sausage submerged. Simmer until the sausages are done 160 internal temp.
Remove to a rimmed tray and let cool until you can comfortably handle them. Remove the sausage from the wrapping. Their will be some juices in the wrappings and it's worth saving the juices if you are making a sauce to serve with the sausages. They kind of seized up lengthwise and puffed. Make them longer and thinner next time.
Good sliced cold, or brown them and serve.
I made a large batch of a basic risotto earlier in the week so I'd have leftovers for this.
Lay about 2/3 cup of cold risotto on a silpat or other silicone baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap. Press or roll out to about an 8 inch circle no more than 1/4 inch thick, preferably somewhat thinner. An 8 inch circle fits nicely in the bottom of a 10 inch skillet on average.
Using the silpat is nice as you can safely release the risotto cake directly into the pan without the parchment or plastic wrap burning or shrinking up on you. The Silpat can take the heat.
I started off using my carbon steel skillet with a little olive oil having had good release with it in the past. And thinking I'd get better sear. Not so much this time. It doesn't release as well as needed and the risotto softens making the pan flip an essential skill. Too much drag in the carbon pan, at least for my skill level.
On to teflon. Ah, much better.
Remove to a board, slice. It's not a crackly stiff tuile as my dream envisioned. There's a crunch to the surface and some chew, kind of like a cross between a latke and grilled polenta. And floppy when warm. Quite good though.
Dream Members Assemble!
All right, it's not the Avengers but it was pretty good eating.