Ode to roast chicken, tasty emblem of Sunday lunch

EITHERna the culinary obsessions one deserves. In primary school, I rated the different Carambar flavors on a scale of 1 to 10, before swapping the less tasty ones for other types of sweets, which in turn responded to an ingenious scoring system. As a student, I set out to try all the fougasses in Nîmes, named after this Provençal bread with goose grattons, a specialty of my adopted city. Which was the crunchiest? The one that stayed cool the longest? Which was the spiciest, least buttery, best garnished? Useless and a bit monomanic, the exercise was still good. For a few euros, I exercised my palate every day and moved closer every day to the final status of “Fougasse connoisseur”, an academic title that, of course, I had invented from scratch. When I came to live in Paris a few years later, the virus took hold of me. This time I set out to go in search of the best roast chicken. It was the French’s favorite dish (according to a 2015 BVA survey dedicated to the French and their cuisine) and, after all, mine too.

Alert eyes and noses, like a mushroom picker, every Sunday I walked the aisles of the various markets in my neighborhood. Fortunately, corners with good rotisserie chickens are easily spotted. First of all, it is a scent that gently draws you into his arms; an irresistible smell – like a mixture of roasted spices and caramelized meat – that catches your nostrils, rises to the brain and sends the neurotransmitters crazy. So you have to trust your instincts: find the best stall, the one with the pile of chickens with perfectly golden skin, not too white and not too burnt. I had noticed that, many times, to ensure the quality of the meat you had to be willing to put your hand in your pocket: a free-range roast chicken costs between 9 and 12 euros per kilo, an organic one between 15 and 18 euros Finally, I thought who had discovered the Sunday roast chicken hunter’s secret: come in with an empty glass container, like a mustard or jam jar, and ask for it to be filled with cooking juices. That, freshly reheated at the right time, he would moisten the accompaniments (mashed potatoes, French fries, dauphine potatoes, green beans and others) in the most gourmet way while leaving a nectar concentrated in aromas and cooking juices at the bottom of the plate. : the reward of the “cymbals”.

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