A combination of steaming and roasting an item under a mound of salt, via LA Times.

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Fried chicken, done right, is one of the best things to eat on earth. It’s all about the proportions—crunchiness: juiciness: chewiness: savoriness. And this ratio hits golden proportions with the wing, lots of crunchy peppery surface area and sweet succulent meat. The study of fried chicken began for me in 2007 during discussions, observations and eating with chef Dave Cruz at Ad Hoc in Yountville, CA, as we worked on the book Ad Hoc at Home. While Ad Hoc’s method of flour-buttermilk-flour is not unique, their trial and error experimentation with various methods (including sous vide), proved to them and to me, that this method is indeed superlative. That was 2007, and I’ve since fried a lot of chicken. My recipe is in Ruhlman’s Twenty. I think it’s better than the one in Ad Hoc (I Read On »

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I almost never “do” recipes. I’ve written a book that if anything is an anti-recipe book. I set out on this culinary journey in part because, as I wrote in Making of a Chef, I sensed that recipes were nothing more than a tease, that the real cooking lay beneath the recipes. This is not to say that recipes are bad. Say you made a really killer stir-fry and wanted to be able to do it over and over, or you wanted your best friend to give it a try, you’d want to follow a recipe. If you want to recreate a dish, you need a recipe. I could probably make a decent oatmeal raisin cookie just by figuring it out, but I’d feel better at least glancing at a few recipes. The whole of Read On »

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If you’re on the road and will be cooking in unfamiliar kitchens, what are the essentials you cannot afford to be without? Thomas Keller once told me he always brought three things, kosher salt, string, and his pepper mill.  Everything else, a restaurant kitchen was likely to have. But what about when you’re traveling to a rental house, as I did last week. A rental house you count on providing you with one crappy non-stick pan, a small plastic cutting board, a cheap pot just big enough to cook a box of spaghetti in, and an array of dull and serrated knives. Donna photographed the tools I brought with me to Key West to cook 9 consecutive dinners for 16 people.  A big cutting board is the first thing I set out. You’re badly handicapped Read On »

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It requires a certain amount of stress to cook for a lot of people. Otherwise you won’t get it done. Too much work, and therefore too much focus and efficiency to both get everything done and also enjoy yourself. You’ve got to like this very peculiar kind of stress.  Or like the release that inevitably follows. And it’s not the same kind of release as it is for the guy who, when asked why he’s banging his head against the wall, responds, “Because it feels so good when I stop.”  But it’s close. You’ve just got to have that kind of love-the-pressure, love-the-release to cook for a lot of people night after night. If you do, you can make a good and happy living as a cook and maybe chef-restaurateur. Me, I really only liked Read On »

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