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A LTO N BROWN

E

N

ON

s

E

The Early Years

With more

As

than 140

recipes! N


Introduction Acknowledgments

6 10

SEASON 1

SEASON 3

SEASON 5

American Pickle

142

Deep Space Slime

256

Mussel Bound

146

Oat Cuisine

261 266

12

The Egg-Files II: Man With A Flan

Crêpe Expectations

Steak Your Claim This Spud’s for You

150

Celebrity Roast

271

16

What’s Up, Duck?

156

The Egg-Files I

20

Behind the Bird

160

Scrap Iron Chef: Bacon Challenge

276

Salad Daze I

25

A Bird in the Pan

30

Three Chips for Sister Marsha

164

Deep Purple: Berry from Another Planet

280

Churn, Baby, Churn I

36

Flap Jack do it Again

168

The Dough Also Rises

40

The Case for Butter

173

The Trouble with Cheesecake

285

Gravy Confidential

46

Flat Is Beautiful I

177

Squid Pro Quo

291

A Bowl of Onion

50

Pantry Raid III: Cool Beans

182

54

186

296

Hook, Line, And Dinner

Mission: Poachable

The Art of Darkness II: Cocoa

Tofuworld

190

Squash Court

302

For Whom the Cheese Melts II

307

Send in the Clams

311

This Spud’s for You Too

315

Pantry Raid I: Use Your Noodle

60

Head Games

194

Power to the Pilaf

64

Grill Seekers

198

The Art of Darkness I

68

Romancing The Bird

74

SEASON 4 Where There’s Smoke There’s Fish

202

Pressure

206

For Whom the Cheese Melts I 82

Fry Hard II: The Chicken

210

Apple Family Values

86

Crustacean Nation II: Claws

214

90

Ham I Am

219

94

Let Them Eat Foam

224

98

A Chuck For Chuck

228

Pantry Raid IV: Comb Alone

232

The Egg-Files V: Soufflé-Quantum Foam

350

SEASON 2 It’s a Wonderful Cake

Crustacean Nation I The Fungal Gourmet Crust Never Sleeps

78

SEASON 6 Tuna: The Other Red Meat

321

Strawberry Sky

326

Artichokes: The Choke is on You

330

Down and Out in Paradise

334

Yogurt: Good Milk Gone Bad 344

True Brew I

102

A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

The Bulb Of The Night

236

Tomato Envy

354

106

Mayo Clinic

240

Amber Waves

358

Fry Hard I

112

Puff The Magic Pastry

244

Dip Madness

362

True Brew II: Mr. Tea

248

Chops Ahoy

366

Chile’s Angels

252

Choux Shine

370

Casserole Over

375

Urban Preservation I: Jam Session

117

Pantry Raid II: Seeing Red

122

Citizen Cane

126

Pork Fiction

132

Sources

382

Ear Apparent

136

Index

392


K no w l e d g e C oncen t r at e A steak is any cross-cut slab of meat (especially beef), usually between 1 and 2 inches thick, that is meant to be cooked quickly with relatively high heat. Steaks are cut from large hunks of meat called sub-primals. Each steer has two of the following sub-primal sections: chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, round, flank, plate, brisket, and shank. In meat, as in real estate, what matters most is location, location, location. Although a lot of factors contribute to the texture of a piece of meat, the most decisive is from whence on the critter the cut doth come. Typically, the further the cut is from the hoof or horn, the more tender it will be. This is because muscles near the legs, rump, and shoulder do most of the work and therefore develop high concentrations of tough connective tissue. Cuts from the back, specifically the rib and short loin area, are the most tender— and the most expensive.1

I chose steak for our first episode for two simple reasons. First, it’s the uncontested quintessential American meal, an honest, straightforward, plaintalking promise of plenty. Steak is an edible Copland symphony, and to eat one is to commune with the ghost of John Wayne. And yet most Americans can’t get a decent one on the plate to save their lives. I hoped to fix that. I also chose steak because I wanted Good Eats to be a show about the actual processes of cooking. From that standpoint, steak is perfect. Sure, there’s plenty to know about the meat itself, but aside from a few drops of oil and some salt and pepper it’s all technique. In fact, good technique (not to mention the right pan) can salvage a mediocre steak, and bad technique can ruin a great one.

w England NECI stands for Ne alma ing ok co my Culinary Institute, mater.

Trivia

Most American beef comes from cattle raised in feedlots where they’re fed a lot of corn, a situation designed to yield tender but not necessarily more interesting or more flavorful meat. Some growers, however, still make their cows walk around and eat grass, which cultivates considerable flavor but a fair amount of chewiness. Take the source of your meat into consideration when deciding how to cook it. A grade of “select,” “choice,” or “prime” (the latter being the most desirable) is bestowed on meat based on its color, weight, fat-to-body ratio, age, and other physical considerations. Non-graded meat (or “no-roll” meat, a reference to the rolling ink stamp used to affix the grade information) is not necessarily inferior to graded meat; in some cases the producer has simply opted to save money by skipping the grading process, which, unlike USDA inspection, is voluntary. “Marbling,” a common marker of a good steak, refers to the small bits of fat running through the meat in swirls, flecks, or streaks. When the meat is cooked, this fat melts, essentially lubricating the muscle strands. That’s why marbled meat feels so tender in the mouth. (Also: Fat tastes good.) The rib-eye is one of the best steaks for beginner cooks because it contains plenty of intramuscular fat and so feels juicy even if a little too much actual moisture is lost via overcooking.

re scene The hardware-sto and en Eats sc e shot, was the first Good . 97 19 , 20 gust was filmed on Au

Trivia

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

12

13


K no w l e d g e C oncen t r at e A steak is any cross-cut slab of meat (especially beef), usually between 1 and 2 inches thick, that is meant to be cooked quickly with relatively high heat. Steaks are cut from large hunks of meat called sub-primals. Each steer has two of the following sub-primal sections: chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, round, flank, plate, brisket, and shank. In meat, as in real estate, what matters most is location, location, location. Although a lot of factors contribute to the texture of a piece of meat, the most decisive is from whence on the critter the cut doth come. Typically, the further the cut is from the hoof or horn, the more tender it will be. This is because muscles near the legs, rump, and shoulder do most of the work and therefore develop high concentrations of tough connective tissue. Cuts from the back, specifically the rib and short loin area, are the most tender— and the most expensive.1

I chose steak for our first episode for two simple reasons. First, it’s the uncontested quintessential American meal, an honest, straightforward, plaintalking promise of plenty. Steak is an edible Copland symphony, and to eat one is to commune with the ghost of John Wayne. And yet most Americans can’t get a decent one on the plate to save their lives. I hoped to fix that. I also chose steak because I wanted Good Eats to be a show about the actual processes of cooking. From that standpoint, steak is perfect. Sure, there’s plenty to know about the meat itself, but aside from a few drops of oil and some salt and pepper it’s all technique. In fact, good technique (not to mention the right pan) can salvage a mediocre steak, and bad technique can ruin a great one.

w England NECI stands for Ne alma ing ok co my Culinary Institute, mater.

Trivia

Most American beef comes from cattle raised in feedlots where they’re fed a lot of corn, a situation designed to yield tender but not necessarily more interesting or more flavorful meat. Some growers, however, still make their cows walk around and eat grass, which cultivates considerable flavor but a fair amount of chewiness. Take the source of your meat into consideration when deciding how to cook it. A grade of “select,” “choice,” or “prime” (the latter being the most desirable) is bestowed on meat based on its color, weight, fat-to-body ratio, age, and other physical considerations. Non-graded meat (or “no-roll” meat, a reference to the rolling ink stamp used to affix the grade information) is not necessarily inferior to graded meat; in some cases the producer has simply opted to save money by skipping the grading process, which, unlike USDA inspection, is voluntary. “Marbling,” a common marker of a good steak, refers to the small bits of fat running through the meat in swirls, flecks, or streaks. When the meat is cooked, this fat melts, essentially lubricating the muscle strands. That’s why marbled meat feels so tender in the mouth. (Also: Fat tastes good.) The rib-eye is one of the best steaks for beginner cooks because it contains plenty of intramuscular fat and so feels juicy even if a little too much actual moisture is lost via overcooking.

re scene The hardware-sto and en Eats sc e shot, was the first Good . 97 19 , 20 gust was filmed on Au

Trivia

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

12

13


A pp l icat ion

iable e side gives a rel Temping from th at. me of rt pa ick th reading through

P an - S ea r e d Ri b - E y e S t eak Remove skillet to a heat-safe surface. For medium-rare, the temperature of the steaks should be between 130–140°F.

2 s te a k s , to s e r v e 2 to 4

Rest in resting rig 2 (see sketch) for 5 minutes. Rest and serve. For when you want a perfect steak, with a darkly seared exterior and an evenly cooked interior that’s no hotter than 130°F. Although this can certainly be accomplished on a grill or broiler, it’s a tricky proposition at best—especially with a cut like the rib-eye, whose melting lipids tend to cause nasty, soot-producing flare-ups in open-flame environments. Your best bet is pan roasting, in which a hot, heavy, dense cast-iron skillet does the branding on the stovetop and the relatively gentle heat of the oven finishes the interior. It can’t be said enough: Remember to let your meat—especially that of the red variety— rest for about 5 minutes after it’s removed from the heat. Heat is akin to pressure, and cutting into a steak before it’s had a chance to cool a bit is like opening a spigot. Cover the meat loosely with aluminum foil or a metal bowl as it rests, and it’ll stay plenty hot.

N O T E : There’s going to be smoke. Turn on your hood (if you have one) and open a window. I even take the battery out of the smoke detector.

1 0 minu t es mo r e

C o g nac P an S auce c u p ; eno u g h f o r 2 Pa n - Se a r e d R i b - E y e Ste a k s

Temping from top

part through shallow ta. da le iab rel un gives

This application had to be cut from the original show because I spent so much time (21 minutes, 30 seconds) on the steaks.

S of t w a r e 2

1½-inchthick

boneless rib-eye steaks

about 15 ounces each

1

teaspoon

canola oil

to coat

1

teaspoon

kosher salt

½

teaspoon

black pepper

freshly ground

P r oce d u r e Allow steaks to come to room temperature for 1 hour. Position rack in center of oven. Crank to 500°F and slide in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. When oven hits temperature, carefully move skillet to cook top over high heat for 5 minutes.

T I P To clean the skillet, return it to medium heat an d add 1 tablespoo n canola oil and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Grab a wad of pa per towels with yo ur tongs and use th em to scrub the sa lt around the skillet until the salt and the towels are black and the pan is sli ck as a mambo band. Kill the heat. Dump the salt. Let the pan cool. Wipe with cle an paper towels, an d store. If your sk illet has a good cure, odds are you’ll ne ver have to use water on it.

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

14

S of t w a r e ¼

cup

Cognac

(plus 1 ounce for yourself)

1

ounce

soft, blue-veined cheese such as blue or Gorgonzola

crumbled, at room temperature

1

ounce

unsalted butter

chilled, cut in half

1

P r oce d u r e Cool skillet for 1 minute. Pour in the Cognac and whisk to dissolve all the good bits stuck to the skillet.3

3

2

Reduce Cognac for about 30 seconds (the residual heat of the skillet will do the job, no need to return it to stovetop). 4

Add the cheese and whisk 30 seconds.

Lightly coat steaks with canola oil then liberally sprinkle with the salt and pepper, place carefully in pan, and don’t touch for 30 seconds. (You should use a kitchen timer).

Whisk the butter pieces in one at a time and continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly.

Flip the steaks with tongs and cook for another 30 seconds.

Serve in ramekins alongside steak for dipping.

Move skillet back to the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook for another 2 minutes.

1 - Pot lid 2 - Colander 3 - Steaks 4 - Metal bowl quid gold) 5 - Drippings (Li tter re rack, this is be I used to use a wi s. ce jui e ur pt ca to r because it’s easie

1

See, however, “Raising the Steaks” (page 54), in which I lay out a case for my personal favorites, skirt and hanger steaks, relatively cheap cuts from the diaphragm area.

2

Even better, put the steaks on top of thick slices of toast (preferably sourdough), which will absorb any escaping juices and make for a nice side bite in themselves.

3

5 to cooksimply move bowl For a fast sauce butter. & whisk in a little top over high heat

This is called “deglazing,” and is a basic procedure we’ll call for time and again over the next thousand pages or so.

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

15


A pp l icat ion

iable e side gives a rel Temping from th at. me of rt pa ick th reading through

P an - S ea r e d Ri b - E y e S t eak Remove skillet to a heat-safe surface. For medium-rare, the temperature of the steaks should be between 130–140°F.

2 s te a k s , to s e r v e 2 to 4

Rest in resting rig 2 (see sketch) for 5 minutes. Rest and serve. For when you want a perfect steak, with a darkly seared exterior and an evenly cooked interior that’s no hotter than 130°F. Although this can certainly be accomplished on a grill or broiler, it’s a tricky proposition at best—especially with a cut like the rib-eye, whose melting lipids tend to cause nasty, soot-producing flare-ups in open-flame environments. Your best bet is pan roasting, in which a hot, heavy, dense cast-iron skillet does the branding on the stovetop and the relatively gentle heat of the oven finishes the interior. It can’t be said enough: Remember to let your meat—especially that of the red variety— rest for about 5 minutes after it’s removed from the heat. Heat is akin to pressure, and cutting into a steak before it’s had a chance to cool a bit is like opening a spigot. Cover the meat loosely with aluminum foil or a metal bowl as it rests, and it’ll stay plenty hot.

N O T E : There’s going to be smoke. Turn on your hood (if you have one) and open a window. I even take the battery out of the smoke detector.

1 0 minu t es mo r e

C o g nac P an S auce c u p ; eno u g h f o r 2 Pa n - Se a r e d R i b - E y e Ste a k s

Temping from top

part through shallow ta. da le iab rel un gives

This application had to be cut from the original show because I spent so much time (21 minutes, 30 seconds) on the steaks.

S of t w a r e 2

1½-inchthick

boneless rib-eye steaks

about 15 ounces each

1

teaspoon

canola oil

to coat

1

teaspoon

kosher salt

½

teaspoon

black pepper

freshly ground

P r oce d u r e Allow steaks to come to room temperature for 1 hour. Position rack in center of oven. Crank to 500°F and slide in a 12-inch cast iron skillet. When oven hits temperature, carefully move skillet to cook top over high heat for 5 minutes.

T I P To clean the skillet, return it to medium heat an d add 1 tablespoo n canola oil and 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Grab a wad of pa per towels with yo ur tongs and use th em to scrub the sa lt around the skillet until the salt and the towels are black and the pan is sli ck as a mambo band. Kill the heat. Dump the salt. Let the pan cool. Wipe with cle an paper towels, an d store. If your sk illet has a good cure, odds are you’ll ne ver have to use water on it.

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

14

S of t w a r e ¼

cup

Cognac

(plus 1 ounce for yourself)

1

ounce

soft, blue-veined cheese such as blue or Gorgonzola

crumbled, at room temperature

1

ounce

unsalted butter

chilled, cut in half

1

P r oce d u r e Cool skillet for 1 minute. Pour in the Cognac and whisk to dissolve all the good bits stuck to the skillet.3

3

2

Reduce Cognac for about 30 seconds (the residual heat of the skillet will do the job, no need to return it to stovetop). 4

Add the cheese and whisk 30 seconds.

Lightly coat steaks with canola oil then liberally sprinkle with the salt and pepper, place carefully in pan, and don’t touch for 30 seconds. (You should use a kitchen timer).

Whisk the butter pieces in one at a time and continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly.

Flip the steaks with tongs and cook for another 30 seconds.

Serve in ramekins alongside steak for dipping.

Move skillet back to the oven for 2 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook for another 2 minutes.

1 - Pot lid 2 - Colander 3 - Steaks 4 - Metal bowl quid gold) 5 - Drippings (Li tter re rack, this is be I used to use a wi s. ce jui e ur pt ca to r because it’s easie

1

See, however, “Raising the Steaks” (page 54), in which I lay out a case for my personal favorites, skirt and hanger steaks, relatively cheap cuts from the diaphragm area.

2

Even better, put the steaks on top of thick slices of toast (preferably sourdough), which will absorb any escaping juices and make for a nice side bite in themselves.

3

5 to cooksimply move bowl For a fast sauce butter. & whisk in a little top over high heat

This is called “deglazing,” and is a basic procedure we’ll call for time and again over the next thousand pages or so.

ai m St ea k Yo ur Cl

15


K no w l e d g e C oncen t r at e Buy a broiler/fryer (about 3½ pounds; see “Bird in the Pan,” page 73) and dissect at home. Why cut your own?

T r i v i a After shooting at Lodg e I sneezed black for three days.

It’s cheaper than buying parts. Some of the better birds on the market only come whole. You can portion better. Whole birds stay fresher longer. Soak overnight in buttermilk. Low-fat buttermilk has a greater viscosity than nonfat, which will help to form a sort of batter overnight. The buttermilk’s acid and sugars will invade the chicken’s meat, which helps to tenderize it and lends a delicious tang.

This episode opens with

Avoid cross-contamination by setting up a three-zone method: raw, hot, and recovery. Only move the food in one direction and never use the same tools to touch both raw and cooked foods.

what must be the worst poem ever written for a food show: ------------------------------------------------------------------

Once upon a mid-morn dreary, as I pondered with eyes quite bleary Over many a curious volume of culinary lore, On a latte I was sucking, when suddenly there came a clucking As if some salesman were a-mucking, mucking ’bout my kitchen door. ’Tis some salesman, said I. Only this, and nothing more. Yet presently the noise repeated, so I hollered, no longer seated, Beat it, pesky husker mucking about my kitchen door. At my business I’m now working, so my chain you’d best stop jerking. Then throwing wide the kitchen door, I found there a chicken and nothing more. Leapt I back then with a stutter, as the phantom bird did with a flutter Mount the folk-art bust of Julia Child there upon my kitchen floor. Perched and sat and nothing more. Then the pallid poultry, most perplexing, did set my meager mind to guessing, From whence did you come to perch upon the bust of Julia on my kitchen floor? Quoth the chicken: Fry some more. As certain as my heart is ticking, I am sure no living chicken Has ever so clearly commanded a living cook before With an utterance so clear and shocking that even I could not ignore. Quoth the chicken: Fry some more. Then thought I, Perhaps she’s on to something. For too long now I have been supping On feed incapable of nourishing my anguished soul. Perhaps some truly good eats my hungry soul could restore. Quoth the chicken: Fry some more.*

* Edgar Allen Poe, please forgive me.

210

ia, is Gainesville, Georg al of the pit Ca en ick Ch e often called th n th , se Jewell e ma World, because Jes try us ind ry ult po the who revolutionized es, iqu hn tec e lin ly by utilizing assemb n ere is a giant colum started there. Th (or ze on br a town with in the middle of icken on it. ch n) iro it’s e mayb

TIDBIT

ably Fried chicken prob ish ott Sc e th th wi came to America dition tra g on had a str immigrants, who sh gli En e Th in fat. of frying chicken baked chicken. or d ile bo d rre prefe

TIDBIT

Season liberally, then dredge. I prefer to season the chicken, as opposed to simply adding salt and pepper to the dredge. Seasoning is just too critical to leave to chance. Although nearly any wheat flour will do the trick, all-purpose seems to work just fine. When dredging, take care to shake away any and all excess flour.1 Take time for a short rest post-dredge, to allow the acid in the buttermilk to slightly gelatinize the starch in the flour, thus enabling the resulting crust to have better adhesion (i.e., it will stick to the meat). Pan-fry in shallow shortening, and turn once. Although lard works just fine I still reach for shortening when frying chicken. Shortening does have a relatively low smoke point, but it is very, very refined, which will give us a nice color and won’t fill the house with friedchicken stink (is that a good thing?). You only need to fill the pan one third full at most. When we pan-fry, both the oil and pan are heat conductors, which is great. It creates a temperature near 350°F, which is ideal for achieving the Maillard reaction, especially where the food touches the pan. When you deep-fry, the fat surrounds the food, so no moisture can escape, creating a hard shell; however, it doesn’t adhere well. As soon as you bite into deep-fried chicken the crust comes off in your hand. Pan-frying allows moisture to escape on one side, which makes a crisp crust that adheres well. As long as the water in the meat is kept above a boil, outward pressure will prevent oil from soaking in. Drain. A cooling rack is the best way to ensure that every bite is crisp, because it allows even air flow. And don’t put your chicken in a warm oven, unless, of course, you like soggy skin. Eat. A two-bit paper paint bucket is the perfect service and storage device because it wicks away extra moisture and oil. (Consider the Colonel’s chicken.)

Cast Iron Joseph Lodge founded Lodge over a century ago. Today, his descendents oversee the production of the only cast-iron cookware made in the United States. It all starts with pig iron, scrap steel, and Lodge’s own leftovers, weighed. It’s dropped into an electromagnetic field furnace, where it simmers and any impurities cook off or are skimmed off. The iron is then hauled into an automated casting machine, a premeasured dose of iron is poured into the cakes (molds) and run through a cooling tunnel. When they tumble out the other end, the cakes break open, revealing the rocket-hot but now solid cookware within. What sand isn’t dislodged by the shaking troughs is blasted off by steel buckshot and recycled. Each piece is then inspected, hand ground, washed with soap, water, and river rocks, dipped in a rust -retarding food-grade wax, packaged, and shipped to a grateful planet. Fr y Ha rd II: Th e Ch ic ke n

211


K no w l e d g e C oncen t r at e Buy a broiler/fryer (about 3½ pounds; see “Bird in the Pan,” page 73) and dissect at home. Why cut your own?

T r i v i a After shooting at Lodg e I sneezed black for three days.

It’s cheaper than buying parts. Some of the better birds on the market only come whole. You can portion better. Whole birds stay fresher longer. Soak overnight in buttermilk. Low-fat buttermilk has a greater viscosity than nonfat, which will help to form a sort of batter overnight. The buttermilk’s acid and sugars will invade the chicken’s meat, which helps to tenderize it and lends a delicious tang.

This episode opens with

Avoid cross-contamination by setting up a three-zone method: raw, hot, and recovery. Only move the food in one direction and never use the same tools to touch both raw and cooked foods.

what must be the worst poem ever written for a food show: ------------------------------------------------------------------

Once upon a mid-morn dreary, as I pondered with eyes quite bleary Over many a curious volume of culinary lore, On a latte I was sucking, when suddenly there came a clucking As if some salesman were a-mucking, mucking ’bout my kitchen door. ’Tis some salesman, said I. Only this, and nothing more. Yet presently the noise repeated, so I hollered, no longer seated, Beat it, pesky husker mucking about my kitchen door. At my business I’m now working, so my chain you’d best stop jerking. Then throwing wide the kitchen door, I found there a chicken and nothing more. Leapt I back then with a stutter, as the phantom bird did with a flutter Mount the folk-art bust of Julia Child there upon my kitchen floor. Perched and sat and nothing more. Then the pallid poultry, most perplexing, did set my meager mind to guessing, From whence did you come to perch upon the bust of Julia on my kitchen floor? Quoth the chicken: Fry some more. As certain as my heart is ticking, I am sure no living chicken Has ever so clearly commanded a living cook before With an utterance so clear and shocking that even I could not ignore. Quoth the chicken: Fry some more. Then thought I, Perhaps she’s on to something. For too long now I have been supping On feed incapable of nourishing my anguished soul. Perhaps some truly good eats my hungry soul could restore. Quoth the chicken: Fry some more.*

* Edgar Allen Poe, please forgive me.

210

ia, is Gainesville, Georg al of the pit Ca en ick Ch e often called th n th , se Jewell e ma World, because Jes try us ind ry ult po the who revolutionized es, iqu hn tec e lin ly by utilizing assemb n ere is a giant colum started there. Th (or ze on br a town with in the middle of icken on it. ch n) iro it’s e mayb

TIDBIT

ably Fried chicken prob ish ott Sc e th th wi came to America dition tra g on had a str immigrants, who sh gli En e Th in fat. of frying chicken baked chicken. or d ile bo d rre prefe

TIDBIT

Season liberally, then dredge. I prefer to season the chicken, as opposed to simply adding salt and pepper to the dredge. Seasoning is just too critical to leave to chance. Although nearly any wheat flour will do the trick, all-purpose seems to work just fine. When dredging, take care to shake away any and all excess flour.1 Take time for a short rest post-dredge, to allow the acid in the buttermilk to slightly gelatinize the starch in the flour, thus enabling the resulting crust to have better adhesion (i.e., it will stick to the meat). Pan-fry in shallow shortening, and turn once. Although lard works just fine I still reach for shortening when frying chicken. Shortening does have a relatively low smoke point, but it is very, very refined, which will give us a nice color and won’t fill the house with friedchicken stink (is that a good thing?). You only need to fill the pan one third full at most. When we pan-fry, both the oil and pan are heat conductors, which is great. It creates a temperature near 350°F, which is ideal for achieving the Maillard reaction, especially where the food touches the pan. When you deep-fry, the fat surrounds the food, so no moisture can escape, creating a hard shell; however, it doesn’t adhere well. As soon as you bite into deep-fried chicken the crust comes off in your hand. Pan-frying allows moisture to escape on one side, which makes a crisp crust that adheres well. As long as the water in the meat is kept above a boil, outward pressure will prevent oil from soaking in. Drain. A cooling rack is the best way to ensure that every bite is crisp, because it allows even air flow. And don’t put your chicken in a warm oven, unless, of course, you like soggy skin. Eat. A two-bit paper paint bucket is the perfect service and storage device because it wicks away extra moisture and oil. (Consider the Colonel’s chicken.)

Cast Iron Joseph Lodge founded Lodge over a century ago. Today, his descendents oversee the production of the only cast-iron cookware made in the United States. It all starts with pig iron, scrap steel, and Lodge’s own leftovers, weighed. It’s dropped into an electromagnetic field furnace, where it simmers and any impurities cook off or are skimmed off. The iron is then hauled into an automated casting machine, a premeasured dose of iron is poured into the cakes (molds) and run through a cooling tunnel. When they tumble out the other end, the cakes break open, revealing the rocket-hot but now solid cookware within. What sand isn’t dislodged by the shaking troughs is blasted off by steel buckshot and recycled. Each piece is then inspected, hand ground, washed with soap, water, and river rocks, dipped in a rust -retarding food-grade wax, packaged, and shipped to a grateful planet. Fr y Ha rd II: Th e Ch ic ke n

211


U.S.

SS NE

FOR W H

ESO OL Y ME B

ED

INS

PECT

F MENT O T R A P E D LTURE AGRICU

P-42

I predict that one day all the fashionistas will be sporting chickens.

PA N A BIR D IN TH E

34


ly Years r a E e h T : s at E Good otos, is chock-full of recipes, ph pses of and behind-the-scenes glim lar Food Alton Brown’s hugely popu Network show.

s! The First 80 Episode Hundreds of On-Set Photos! Recipes That Never Made It Into the Show! Poster Included!


Good Eats The Early Years - Sample