We have spent some time working with chicken skin, pork skin, duck skin, and even fish skin. We've gone back and forth with different ways to create crisp, savory cracklings to tantalize the palate. Then tonight as Alex slowly savored the thin crunchy skin off a roasted chicken, enjoying the contrast of its delicate, sticky underside melting against his tongue, he had an epiphany. Skin tastes better roasted with the meat. It seems such a simple concept and yet we have spent years trying to create great cracklings that were cooked by themselves. Cooking is a circular journey, often we find ourselves returning to our beginnings in order to maximize flavor development. It's a good lesson, never to be afraid of changing our minds and circling backwards. We still bring all of our current experience with us to help make old techniques even better than they ever were before. Sometimes the simple solutions really do make the most sense. (Of course this doesn't mean you'll never see another crackling here, it just means we're regaining a new appreciation for the beauty of a well roasted piece of meat and it's amazing caramelized skin.)
Now that we know where the flavor comes from, how do we harness it?