Excerpted from Eat Ink, Anthony Paone, Chef, 20 Spot, San Francisco
How did this recipe come about? Anthony says, “I had taken a chicken home from work the night before, and because a bit of wine was consumed, the chicken was only picked at before I fell asleep. When I woke up and saw my wife off to work, I rolled a smoke and settled in for a bit of pre-shower recovery in the form of a cup of strong coffee. What I cooked to finish my recovery is pretty much what I have written here.”
1 chicken leg, left over from roasted chicken
2 cups chicken stock (chefs tend to have chicken stock handy for moments like this)
2 cups water
1 cup milk
½ cup Anson Mills grits, or quick grits
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup any cheese, grated (optional)
For Salsa Verde:
1 clove garlic
Salt, to taste
1 piece anchovy
½ cup kale, left over from roasted chicken
1 tablespoon parsley
1 tablespoon mint
Marash pepper, to taste
2–4 tablespoons vinegar
California extra-virgin olive oil
For Pickled Onion:
1 red onion
1 cup red wine vinegar
1⁄3 cup water
1 bay leaf
1 Balinese long peppercorn (can use 2 black peppercorns)
1 allspice berry
2 tablespoons sugar
For Poached Egg:
Large pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons white vinegar
California extra-virgin olive oil, to garnish
Arugula, to garnish
1. For Chicken: Preheat oven to 300°F. Place chicken leg and stock in an ovensafe cast-iron pan and put in oven, uncovered. As the chicken leg heats through, it will go from leftover and cold, to hot and braised. This should take 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. For Grits: While the chicken is in the oven, combine water and milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Whisk in the grits. Season with a little salt and pepper and reduce heat to very low. Cook, whisking the whole time, until creamy and delicious, about 30 to 40 minutes if you are using Anson Mills grits. If you are using “quick cook grits,” follow box instructions. Remove from heat, whisk or fold in cheese, and set aside. (Since we regularly have cheese around, I usually add some, but it is more of a gilding of the lily than a necessity.) In truth, you can cook the grits in a rice cooker while you shower and wait for the chicken, or you could use instant grits, which are easier but less satisfying.
3. For Salsa Verde: First, pound garlic, salt, and anchovy in a mortar and pestle until it forms a paste. Then add kale, parsley, mint (you can use any green herbs here, except cilantro or dill), and pepper (I use marash, but chili flakes, Aleppo, etc., are all acceptable) and grind until it is a semi-homogenous paste. Taste. Add a little vinegar. Taste again. (It shouldn’t be very vinegary, but rather balanced with the herbs and garlic.) Then add enough olive oil to make the mixture “spoonable.” Taste again, adjusting seasoning to your liking.
Notes from the Chef
Making salsa verde is a very versatile thing. You can make any variation (add capers or nuts) for any number of dishes. Making a sauce can help you use up small amounts of leftover herbs or greens. Use it for meat, fish, eggs, or vegetables.
4. For Pickled Onion: Slice onion and place into large bowl. Bring vinegar, water, spices, and sugar to a boil. Pour boiling liquid over onion. Let sit for 10 minutes before using. I usually make these in batches and keep them in the fridge for moments like this. The liquid can be stored in the fridge for up to 6 months. Serve cold.
5. For Poached Egg: Fill a small pot 3/4 full with water. Bring water, salt, and white vinegar to a simmer in an uncovered pot and poach egg to your desired doneness, about 3 to 5 minutes. (I like mine quite runny.) Remove and set aside.
6. To Complete: Put a large spoonful of grits on the plat and top with chicken leg, spooning some of the reduced chicken stock from the pan over the chicken (it’s nice to squeeze a little lemon in the stock just before). Place your poached egg alongside the chicken and spoon some of your rustic salsa verge on top. Then sprinkle with pickled onion slices and maybe drizzle some good California extra-virgin olive oil on top. Garnish with arugula (because I live in California, and we have to garnish everything with arugula—it’s the law). Serve immediately.
Excerpted from Eat Ink Copyright © 2013 by Birk O’Halloran and Daniel Luke Holton and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Daniel Luke Holton.