Today's Julia Child tribute is more in keeping with what most people associate with her style, thanks to a generous helping of butter. But really, not that much butter! Most of the flavor in this amazing dish actually comes from a sauce that's brushed onto the chicken, coupled with crisp, toasty bread crumbs.
Poulets Grillés à la Diable [pooh-LAY gree-YAY ah lah dee-AH-bluh] - Chicken Grilled in the Style of the Devil, with a good dose of zest - is a truly fabulous dish! It smells so amazing while it bakes, and meets every tidbit of anticipation by tasting just as exceptional as you expect it to after you've been tormented by the tempting aroma.
This dish is sublime when it's served hot from the oven; but it's just as delicious served cold, for a light supper or a picnic ... or, in my case, a breakfast of beloved leftovers. Mustard, green onions, and herbs all work together to provide a complex, vibrant flavor while the chicken remains consummate comfort food despite its sophistication.
Gotta love Julia Child, and the French!
Poulets Grilles à la Diable (Mustard-Herb Chicken)
(slightly adapted from Julia Child's recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-1/2 pounds chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced green onion
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley; tarragon would be lovely)
- 3 cups fresh white bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 450F. Grease a 9"x13" casserole dish.
In a small saucepan, melt together butter and oil; brush onto chicken, then place chicken skin-side down into the prepared dish. Bake for 10 minutes per side, basting every 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt.
In a small bowl, combine mustard, peppers, green onion, and herbs; mix with 2 tablespoons basting juices to make a sauce with a mayonnaise-like consistency. Schmear the mustard sauce onto the chicken skin.
Place the bread crumbs onto a plate and roll chicken in them. Place chicken back into the baking dish, skin-side up, and bake for 10 more minutes, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced.
Serves 6 ... well, really 2-3 'cause everyone will want seconds.