Monday, March 13, 2006

Full Moon – Time to ‘Thai’ One On

The full moon always makes me a little crazy. Somehow I perceive things – sounds, scents, impressions, images – a little more intensely. Sometimes I’ll feel this way all day, not knowing it’s a full moon, not really realizing what is going on, only later to find out why. At least I think this is what is going on – maybe I’m just nuts.

Usually when I think about preparing a fresh, whole chicken, I like to roast it, stuffed with either apples and sage, or maybe lemons and thyme. With whole parsnips and potatoes roasted in the pan along side. Maybe carrots as well, maybe French green beans. Real comfort food.

But today called for something stronger – something with a little power and intensity. Inspiration came from the lemongrass and fresh snap pea greens we had bought at the farmers market last weekend. I am not an expert on either, but am looking for some combinations that work well for us.

I came across a recipe for ‘Roasted Lemongrass Chicken’ on This seemed to fit the mood. Sort of a Thai feeling to it (I cannot vouch for authenticity), some intense flavors, and I imagined the chicken sitting atop a bed of lightly roasted / wilted pea greens, maybe tossed in the pan juices for a sort of dressing.

The result was really nice – a great balance between the Thai-flavored chicken and the pea greens. I roasted some baby carrots and fingerling potatoes separately, and served them along side (we’d had rice six day in a row, and mutiny was stirring its ugly head!). Soothed the savage beast!

(based on recipe from

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon canola oil or vegetable oil
5 tablespoons fish sauce (such as nuoc nam or nam pla),* divided
2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 chopped shallot
2 tablespoons oyster sauce*
2 fresh lemongrass stalks,** tough outer leaves removed, 4 inches of thick end finely chopped
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce*
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 6-pound chicken, cut into serving-sized pieces
1 bunch fresh snap pea greens

fresh lime juice
1 lime, quartered for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Whisk 1/4 cup oil, 3 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, and next 6 ingredients in large bowl. Add chicken; turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature 1 hour.

Place chicken in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Pour marinade over chicken and turn to coat well. Put chicken in oven and roast until thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh registers 175°F, about 50 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate. Do not turn off oven!

When chicken is cooked through, remove chicken pieces to a platter and keep warm. Pour pan juices into a small heat-proof bowl or cup, and spoon excess fat from surface. Place pea greens into roasting pan, pour pan juices over top and toss to coat well. Squeeze juice of one lime over greens, and toss again. Roast in oven for 10 minutes, until wilted.

Transfer greens to a serving platter. Place chicken on top. Pour pan juices over chicken. Garnish with lime quarters. Enjoy!

*Available in the Asian foods section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.
**Available in the produce section of many supermarkets and at Asian markets.

Makes 4-6 servings (depends how many are teenagers).

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