Crispy Chicken & Charred Cauliflower with Olives

Olive You

If you live in DC, then you've been experiencing quite the rainy week this week.  There is nothing more relaxing or romantic to me than turning on some French music, pouring a glass of sparkling rosé and firing up the stove to cook a comforting meal, while listening to the pitter-patter of the rain on my windows.  Rain is my favorite excuse to cook for hours.  Keep reading to see what I came up with to warm us up and dry us off.

There are two types of people in the corporate working world:  those who hate to cook after a long day at the office, and those who can't wait to relax their mind with some creativity in the kitchen.  Guess which one I am?  My lengthy "creativity" in the kitchen has been a bit of a struggle since moving into our new home to appease the hangry boyfriend, who is all about convenience and speed for dinner after work. 

So, to keep my sanity - I always have some happy hour snacks for him to nosh on if I need to take my time in the kitchen - flavors take time to develop!  I also indulge his need for speed by creating quick and tasty meals a couple times a week.  For this particular instance, I set out some olives and cashews with a bourbon and ginger to tide him over.

Let's get cooking.  I have been a victim of buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts for years because of cheap prices and convenience.  However - these naked breasts have no flavor!  Guess what elements are flavor makers?  Skin. And. Bones.  Without my skin and bones, I would not be very zesty....(too far?).  Plus, have you heard of crispy chicken skin?  It's basically a tiny magical vacation to flavor town in your mouth.

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Crispy Chicken & Charred Cauliflower with Olives

Hangry Timer: 2 Hours

One of my fondest memories of my Mom-Mom was when she was visiting our family and my mom had made a roasted chicken with crispy skin.  Guess what Mom-Mom wasn't supposed to eat?  SKIN CRISPS!  My mom walked out of the room a few times and each time Mom-Mom would give me the "Don't you say a word" look as she tore off bits of the crispy skin to enjoy.  We would laugh and laugh when my mom came back into the room, thinking we had gotten away with it (I'm 90% positive my mom knew what was going on and she would giggle too).  It's those little joys in life that we have to indulge in from time to time.  I miss my Mom-Mom, so this dish is an ode to her:


What You Need:

2 Chicken Breasts, bone-in/skin-on
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
1 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1/4 cup Flour
Olive Oil
2 Shallots, sliced into rings
1 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp. Butter

(Adapted from Edible DC's Fall Issue recipes)

1 head Cauliflower, cut into thick steak-y slices
Olive Oil
1/2 cup Olives, pitted (I used the mixed olives from the olive bar at Whole Foods)
1/2 tsp. Lemon Zest
1/2 Lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp. Fresh Cilantro
1/2 tsp. Rosemary
1 clove Garlic

Hangry Timer: 2 hours


What To Do With It:

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Blanche the cauliflower in a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes.  Transfer the cauliflower to an ice bath* immediately after and pat dry with paper towels. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Set aside for later.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or cast iron skillet or any type of deep pan over medium-high heat.  While the oil is heating up, pat the chicken breasts dry and season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Lightly dust the breasts with flour - shaking off any excess.

Place the chicken skin-side down in the hot oil and let crisp for 3 minutes. Flip the breasts over and continue cooking for 3 more minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pot or pan and drain any excess oil.  Return the pot/pan to medium heat and melt 1 Tbsp. of butter.  Add the shallots and de-glaze the pot/pan with the white wine, scraping up any browned bits from the chicken.  Let the wine reduce for 3 minutes and return the chicken to the pot/pan. 

Place the pot/pan in the oven for 20 minutes.  If you are using a dutch oven, put the lid on.  If you're using a pan, make sure you keep an eye on the chicken so that the skin doesn't get too burned - cover with foil if it's starting to look too crispy

After 20 minutes, remove the lid from the dutch oven and turn the broiler on high for 3 minutes to re-crisp the skin.

While the chicken is cooking, combine the rest of the cauliflower ingredients in a small food processor (or you can just chop everything up finely) and pulse to a chunky, relish-like consistency.  Set aside.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of olive oil.** Add the cauliflower to the pan in one layer and let it char for about 2-3 minutes before you flip.  Char the other side for 3 minutes and transfer the cauliflower to a platter.  Spoon the olive relish over the warm cauliflower to serve.

Remove the chicken from the pot/pan to rest.  Add 1 Tbsp. of butter to the wine sauce and taste for seasoning.  Add more salt and pepper if you need to.

Transfer the sauce to a gravy boat, or spoon over the sliced chicken - making sure you respect the crispy skin that you worked so hard for!  Serve with a spoonful of cauliflower and relax to the sounds of the rain! Enjoy!


Warm up and dry off by the stove!

Cost: $20
Feeds: 2 humans & 2 cats

*Hangry District Tip: An ice bath is a bowl filled with cold water and ice.  Mostly used for blanching, when you have to stop the cooking process instantly.
**Hangry District Tip:  When charring something don't add too much oil to your pan - you want some close contact between the pan and the ingredient you are charring. This is also a great alternative to grilling if you don't have a grill or if it's raining cats and dogs!