Last Wednesday found me at a crossroads: Still laboring under the food coma from my birthday the day before, yet filled with old-school guilt about the about-to-expire meat and chicken in my fridge. Cook, lay about like a sloth; cook, sloth?
Bolstered by a rousing game of dinosaurs vs. heart rings with little Gonzo Girl, I opted to cook. On went the oven to a roaring 500°, out came the asparagus, New York strip and chicken breasts that threatened to expire at any moment. Not wanting to make too big a mess and having only one oven, I opted to roast everything, but in staggered stages.
First the asparagus. I gave it a quick spritz of olive oil, cracked a few peppers corns and lightly salted the washed and prepped spears. I usually roast asparagus at 450° for 10 minutes, but felt confident enough to test out a 5 minute spear. Divine.
Next, I broke open my trusty iPad version of How to Cook Everything (HTCE). Not sure where to begin, I simply typed in “steak roast” and out popped this: pan-grilled/oven-roasted steak. I heated my flat-bottomed cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove for a few minutes, just long enough to sizzle water, then sprinkled a hearty amount of kosher salt into the pan before plunking my lovely steak into the mix. While the bottom seared for the briefest moment, I had a revelation: butter. Working quickly now, I grabbed the remains of the butter and stabbed out a few teaspoons which I gingerly rested atop the steak. Into the bottom rack of the oven for five minutes a side, let rest for 10 minutes, and you’ve got rare roasted perfection.
Meanwhile, the chicken was awaiting its final fate. I knew I had to use the same 500° oven. I also didn’t have time for any serious marinating, both because the oven was ready and little GG was getting antsy. I couldn’t find anything to meet my needs in HTCE, so I fired up one of the best free apps out there: Epicurious.
I found a recipe for spiced roast chicken breast which required a 450° oven and a simple spice rub. Still, simple or not, it required me actually measuring and combining spices, and one quick glance at little GG indicated there was no way I was getting any extra time. Inspired, I grabbed the spice rub I’d bought in Maui last October, patted it all over both chicken breasts and waited for the steak to emerge.
The vacant pan was now drenched in a glorious browned butter and beef fat, thanks to the steak. Instead of tossing that aside, I placed the breasts into the mix and hoped for the best. Epicurious said to brown both sides of the chicken for five minutes then roast for 18 minutes. I did a quick browning then slipped the pan onto the bottom rack of the oven, set the timer for 18 minutes, and assumed the extra heat would make up for the lackadaisical browning. It did, and when I sliced into those breasts the following night for dinner, accompanied by a quick boxed couscous, I couldn’t have been more pleased than if I’d actually cooked the chicken that same day.