80-plus degree days have descended upon Maryland again, and I for one am not excited about the prospect of cooking anything on the stove or in the oven. Who wants to introduce even more heat to an already overheated house?
Sure, you could fire up the grill (and indeed we did, this weekend; K worked magic on smoked lamb riblets and grilled loole kebabs). But although K is certainly a genius with charcoal, the grill takes a lot of time to set up. That’s okay; in a pinch, we have the toaster oven.
I can’t claim credit for toaster oven chicken. That idea belongs to Eric Ripert, who created an entire series of recipes using the toaster oven.
It’s simple. Basically, you cut chicken up into small pieces (Ripert uses chicken tenders, but I just cut up a chicken breast), toss the pieces with olive oil on a toaster oven tray, sprinkle with salt, pepper, and whatever fresh herbs you have lying around (dried will do in a pinch), and toss it in the toaster oven at 450 degrees or so. It’s done in under ten minutes.
For easy cleanup, I line the toaster oven tray with foil. When I made this particular batch, I minced up some rosemary, thyme, and garlic greens.
It’s good chicken, very flavorful with the herbs. We’ve served it over rice and on dinner salads. I’d say it takes fifteen minutes from start to finish; if I want to make a dinner salad, I just wash and chop the greens while waiting for the chicken to cook.
Just remember to wash your hands whenever you’ve touched raw chicken. (This is a modern warning. K likes to point out that Julia Child used to happily handle raw chicken, and then go on to cook for the rest of the episode without once approaching a sink or a soap dispenser. Times certainly have changed.)