This is a coy move on my end, because I really just wanna tell you about salad.
Real talk: Vegetable salesmanship is hard. In the world of the foodternet, which is all cookies and hot chocolate and Christmas ham at the moment, slinging salad is like trying to sell insurance.
That’s why I’m luring you in with crispy, generously salted, golden chicken skin. It’s a traffic driver, a door opener, a gateway drug to me convincing you that you need this crunchy, fresh, sweet, and spicy hunk of burning salad love in your life. (Too much?) Also… I don’t mind having perfectly crisped roast chicken around after the fact. Everybody wins.
This is my favorite kind of dinner: half simple, comforting, and maybe a little indulgent, half “Let’s eat aaaallll the fresh colorful vegetables and live forever like all the good-looking grey-haired people in retirement commercials.”
If you’ve never done Brussels sprouts raw, I endorse it heartily! Truthfully, I don’t always love them cooked. Fresh, though? They’re like a better version of cabbage. I mandoline them (without a guard, DON’T YOU BE LIKE ME, safety etc. etc.), but a sharp knife will do the job superbly.
Oranges are important here, also. I worry about scurvy (false), and also they’re delicious.
The vinaigrette here is really what makes this particular salad near and dear to my heart. It’s dead simple, but full of warm spice. Cumin, as you know, is a flavor powerhouse. Aleppo pepper is mellow, warm, and fruity. Total charmer, that one! It’s one of my favorites in the ol’ spice drawer (yes…. a spice drawer and yes, it’s as chaotic as it sounds). We’re putting cayenne in this also, because on their own, cumin and Aleppo are very mild-mannered folk.
…Oh, and look, your chicken is ready.
Recipe for that: dry skin + plenty of salt + patience. The less interference, the better.
We’ve done good work here! Let’s eat. Every badass (that’s you) needs good fuel on a Monday.
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or 2 leg quarters
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups shaved Brussels sprouts
- 1 medium orange
- 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, cranberries, or raisins
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (substitute with paprika if unavailable)
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- If you’re still rinsing your chicken (and you shouldn’t!), pat it dry very well with paper towels. Trim the chicken of any excess skin/fat and season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Roast in a baking dish or cast-iron skillet for 45-55 minutes, until skin is crisp and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, to make the slaw, segment the orange, reserving the juice.
- Combine olive oil, vinegar, cumin, Aleppo and cayenne in a mason jar and shake well. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Combine shaved Brussels sprouts, orange segments, and dried cherries (or cranberries/raisins) in a large bowl with the dressing and toss well. Also drizzle in some of the reserved orange juice, if you'd like.