this summer in Paris + poulet roti

Places that change your life are like lovers. When a connection is first discovered, the following infatuation becomes almost addictive. Dopamine surges and it can become, for the moment, the only thing you want to experience forever. Paris was zero exception to this: it was my first city romance — the second we met I know there was something I could not deny.

But, as with many lovers, that initial infatuation inevitably morphs, how you subconsciously knew it would in the beginning but didn’t want to remove that rose-like curtain because you know the trip will be worth it one way or the other.

Paris was love at first sight, and a 4-year total richness that continues to impact my life in the way I visualize the world to the way I cook to the way I even speak. There’s always a thread of French shadowing every English word I speak or write.

Thus, being back in the city of lights this summer was so cathartic for me, and was one of the busiest 10 days of my life. I filmed a music video for Jane Machine, sold, moved out of, and sorted everything from my apartment I’d had near the infamous Pere Lachaise, and was simultaneously greeted by one of the heaviest heat waves the city had seen in a long time. (Please keep in mind they don’t have air conditioning very many places and it’s HUMID.)

Going back to France by myself (not with my French partner who now shares life with me in Los Angeles) reminded me of that first lust I had for the place. That first charm, the smell of the baguettes in the morning, the quirky responses from the store keepers, the attention to detail about everything visual there, the stark objectivity of its residents despite the city’s innate romance. The same things that came to bother me at the end became something charming because it wasn’t permanent, I could view it with my veil of non-attachment, I saw it through American eyes again, not that of someone who had been part of its system for several years.

I started Bubble Child in 2009 right after graduating from UCLA as a way to embody my nut- and dairy-free allergies, because why be selfish and keep all of this research to myself? I started the Bubble Child videos in Paris, however, in 2013, and it completely morphed the Bubble Child world. It was these videos that got me signed with the Tastemade Network, it was my training in France that changed my cooking from delicious home cook to professional with a flare for experimentation. Even though I had a busy week in Paris this summer, I knew I had to film a video for you all, and I’m really happy to have a moment to share it now.

Without further adieu, here is one of the easiest, most frequented recipes that I retained from my time abroad, and the one that I chose to film for you while in my rented Paris flat. It’s a pretty chill video, nothing ambitious, just honest like the recipe. Here’s “Poulet Roti” or roasted chicken. It’s different than smothering a chicken with butter and seasoning salt and popping it in a mediocre-warm oven for several hours to dry it out, but wait, there’s butter. This recipe is so efficient because you only use the natural fat from the chicken skin to cook the meat and its high temperature cooking actually prohibits it from drying out (common sense: when you want to dehydrate or dry fruit, it’s actually a long cooking at a low temperature!) The fat from the chicken seeps down into the potatoes and garlic underneath (my favorite part) and their aromatics come back up into the chicken and also help it from drying out. It’s like a one-hour ecosystem of perfectly cooked chicken and the fact that it uses not the whole chicken (either the half breast or the full thigh piece) make it super easy to dose for 1, 2, 10 people. It’s so efficient time and product-wise.

Alright, that efficiency bit was super American, so let’s hop back to the video to get a little more, uh, je ne sais quoi, French.

Poulet Roti (French roasted chicken)

Serves 2
Prep time 3 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hour, 3 minutes
Dietary Corn Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Nut Free, Soy Free
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Pre-preparable, Serve Hot

Ingredients

  • 2 pieces bone-in, skin-on chicken half breast or full thigh
  • 1 1/2 cup fingerling potatoes or 1" cubed potato
  • 6-10 cloves garlic (smashed, peeled, not minced)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage or parsley (optional, but delicious mixed in with the potatoes underneath)

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees F (about 220 degrees C).
Step 2 Wash potatoes, pat dry. Season chicken with a heavy pinch sea salt on both sides of it.
Step 3 In an oven-proof pan that's at least 3" deep, put your potatoes and garlic on the bottom and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Add herbs optional if you choose. Simply put your salted chicken breast on town with the skin-side up. Make sure it is covering all of the potatoes so the juices seep down.
Step 4 Put the chicken in the oven once it's pre-heated and cook for 1 hour. You know it's done when the liquid underneath is clear not opaque and there is a beautiful crispy crust on top. Can need more time if you are cooking a larger piece. To serve, put the potatoes on the bottom of the plate with garlic, then top with chicken. You can use the liquid from the pan as jus if you have any and fancy that. Add some fresh salad or tomatoes on the plate for color and something not meat and potatoes.

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