Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sprouts, mayonnaise & chicken

Get sprouting! Well I have been anyway, I’ve been getting into salads, especially heavy on the celery, greens and all, using ingredients I haven’t really thought of using before, like whero peas, wheatberries and quinoa, but most of all I’ve really been digging the humble sprout. The thing about the sprout is you have to have a little forethought or a production line set up as quite frankly they are ridiculously overpriced to buy pre-sprouted. On a positive note, sprouting is easy as pie.

Place quarter of a cup of mung, puy lentils or whero peas in a clean glass jar, rinse and drain a couple of times and then fill up with water, cover with a tea towel and leave overnight. The next morning, drain off the liquid, give the jar a jostle so the seeds aren’t languishing in a pool of water. Repeat the rinse and drain for 3-5 days until the sprouts have got enough sprout for you, 2 days is usually enough for a nice short sprout, but I wouldn’t leave it longer than 5. They’ll keep covered in the vegetable crisper for a couple of days.

I was going to assume that you know how to make mayonnaise before I got into the coleslaw, but I figure I should give it a quick once over. This method is for a stick blender. Use a jar that is just big enough to fit your blender, it’s preferable that the opening is smaller in width than the body of the jar. Add one egg yolk to the jar along with a dash of cider vinegar and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Start running the blender and slowly drip in some neutral oil, I use a mix of olive and canola(rapeseed), when the emulsion has formed you can start pouring in the oil more liberally, for a lighter mayonnaise you can alternate between oil and water, you should be able to get about 50% water content. Taste and season with salt and vinegar. If the mayonnaise doesn’t thicken try adding more oil or another yolk, if the emulsion breaks or doesn't form, pour the mix into a jug and in the jar add an extra egg yolk and slowly blitz in the broken mayonnaise. It should keep in the fridge for a couple of months.

Anyway back on track to the slaw, take a couple of tablespoons of mayonnaise and mix in a crushed clove of garlic, let it sit in the fridge a while so the garlic can mellow a bit. Thinly slice a fennel bulb and red onion, on a heavy bias slice some celery and its leaves, slice the larger green leaves thinly and just roughly tear the smaller yellow ones. Toss it all together in a bowl with some sprouts, crushed pumpkin seeds, smoked salt and the garlic laced mayonnaise.

An ideal match to the crisp cool slaw is a hot and spicy chicken wing, or in this case drumstick, I've covered hot wings so many times on here it's not funny but this time it's my oven "fried" chicken drumsticks. You end up with a crusty crisp coating and fall apart moist flesh below. In a large bowl add a good few tablespoons of tapioca starch, you can get this from a good Asian supermarket or here in New Zealand pick up arrowroot from the baking section of the supermarket, it's not arrowroot but just tapioca starch, mix in a sprinkling of salt, smoked paprika, hot chilli powder/flakes, spice it up as hot or mild as you like, and coriander powder. Toss the drumsticks in the mix to coat and place on a plate, cover and refrigerate overnight. When you're ready to cook, preheat the oven to 220°C, prepare another mix of tapioca starch and spices, toss the drumsticks in the powder to coat, arrange on a baking tray and cook for 30–45 minutes turning twice. If you really want to go for extra lush drumsticks melt some butter with hot sauce and crushed garlic and when the chicken is fresh out of the oven toss in the butter sauce, you won't regret it but your hips might.

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