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Salt-Roasted Chicken

Traditionally, this would be chopped into bite-size pieces with a cleaver, but disjointing the chicken is fine, too. Carefully removing any fat and air-drying the bird results in skin that is crisp and deliciously brittle.

1 4-pound chicken
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons Mei Kuei Lu Chiew liquor or grappa or vodka
1/4 cup finely minced shallots
2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Remove any fat pockets from chicken and cut off wing tips. Rub chicken all over with the 2 teaspoons salt.

Rinse chicken under cold water and place on wire rack in shallow baking pan. Pat cavity and skin dry with paper towels. Air-dry at least 1 hour in cool and breezy room.

When dry, rub skin of chicken with liquor. Let sit 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In small bowl, mix shallots, ginger, remaining salt, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Smear about 3 tablespoons mixture into chicken cavity. Smear remainder over chicken skin.

Place chicken breast-side up on rack in roasting pan lined with heavy-duty foil. Add 1/4 inch of water to pan.

Roast 30 minutes, or until chicken is just beginning to turn golden. Using several paper towels to grip chicken, turn it breast-side down. Roast 20 minutes more. Turn breast side-up.

Roast 5 to 10 minutes more, or until meat thermometer inserted in meaty part of thigh (not touching bone) registers 170 degrees or chicken is no longer pink near bone and skin is a rich golden brown.

Let chicken rest 15 minutes.

Cut chicken into serving pieces, reserving any juices. Skim fat from pan juices. Serve immediately or at room temperature with pan juices.

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal or 2 to 4 if it's the main course.

Adapted from "The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen" by Grace Young

Sunday, January 21, 2001

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