Monday, June 20, 2011

Braised Cache Creek Chicken with herbs

This chicken is raised in open air pastures, where it can eat whatever it can catch. Yes, that includes bugs. I can't say that it had a distinct air of cricket, but the meat was flavorful. This is good when you're boning the bird, rubbing the inside with a strong herb and prosciutto paste, rolling it up and braising it in a garlic/red wine broth in the oven.

The chips are Yukon Gold waffle cut on a mandoline, tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt and garlic, baked, then tossed again in finely chopped fresh basil and topped with Maldon smoked sea salt.

The hors-d'œuvre was Tuscan style crostini. None of that topping rich nonsense that the Americans favor. Just recently baked ciabbata toasted on the grill, rubbed with raw garlic, drizzled with organic, extra virgin cold pressed Mission/Manzanillo blend olive oil from Happy Valley, dusted with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

The first course was a traditional Tuscan melon draped with Prosciutto, served with a glass of reserve ruby Port. That trip to Portugal did make an impression after all.

The chicken was followed with a Nicasio Valley cheese plate, then some fresh fruit, all eaten under the stars on a warm almost summer evening.

Since these birds actually move about rather than sitting in tiny cages, their meat is a bit firm. A bit of time in a brine might be useful for a bit more tenderness.

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