by Matt Duckor
The weeknight roast chicken is a dinner-table fixture at my house in the colder months. It's the ultimate one-pan dinner: Brown a chicken in an oven-safe skillet on the stovetop, add mushrooms along with whatever root vegetables are on hand, and finish everything in a 425°oven for about 45 minutes. The result is chicken with the crispiest skin possible, vegetables cooked into schmaltzy submission, and (if you're cooking for two, like I do) enough leftovers for a righteous chicken salad or stir-fry later in the week.
The only issue? Even when you reheat that leftover chicken in the skillet, the skin stays soggy -- despite your efforts to recreate the crispy skin that made the bird so great to begin with.
The trick? Remove the skin altogether.
But don't throw it out!
When you're ready to use your leftover chicken, just remove the skin from the breasts, thighs, or any other pieces you've got on hand. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until warm. Toss in the chicken skin -- you should hear a satisfying sizzle -- and pan-fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove the now shatteringly crisp chicken skins and cook the leftover chicken in the liquid gold chicken schmaltz that remains.
From there, the possibilities are virtually unlimited. Right now, I love to throw together a radicchio salad with watermelon radishes, parsley, and the cooked chicken, topping the whole thing with a mustard vinaigrette and, yeah, crumbled bits of salty, fatty chicken skin.
So, next time you look at that Tupperware in the fridge, filled with what might be mistaken for a disassembled rubber chicken, don't despair. Just get out the frying pan.
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