… composed of a blend of dried aromatic herbs, onion and garlic powders, dried lemon zests and of course salt, ground green peppercorns and the most interesting secret ingredient of baking powder, for even crispier skin, all finely ground into a an herbal and zesty Mediterranean powder for dry-basting overnight before roasting.
What is a dry rub or dry marinade or dry baste and why use it instead of a liquid marinade or wet baste on foods to be later cooked ?
The big advantage of dry rubs is that they don't add any additional moisture to the exterior of a piece of meat the way that a marinade does. Whenever you apply heat to chicken thighs, chops or ribs, the moisture on the surface needs to evaporate before a crust and sear can start to develop, so dousing them in liquid beforehand doesn't make much sense.
A dry rub, which is, naturally dry, is going to allow you to attain that beautifully crisp crust, and even a caramelized crust, if there’s sugar added in that dry rub mixture, which is often the case for more summery barbecue dry rub preparations.
Mediterranean flavor blends for different preparations often include lemon juice, fresh aromatic herbs, garlic, onion and a variety of different spices, either mild or powerful. The difference here is that all the ingredients are dried, thus perfect for the colder wintery months.
This relatively simple and straightforward herbal & zesty dry basting mix focuses on complementing the natural tastiness of roasted chicken thighs, without overpowering it.
The addition of baking powder included in this mix, will remove any remaining moisture in the skins to tighten the skins around the meat and seal in all the flavors, while crisping the outer skin to its maximum without drying out the underlying meat.
The best approach is to finely chop the dried herbs first in a food processor and then grind them even more, using an empty pepper mill and finally combining the crushed herbs with the salt, ground peppercorns, onion and garlic and baking powders in a mortar and pestle to grind them until they become an even finer powder.
This is obviously what takes the longest to do, so I always make double to quadruple the amount of dry rub mixture needed, because it’s easier to get a better and finer grind in a small food-processor when it is more filled-up as opposed to emptier.
If you’ve made enough of the dry rub mixture for several meal preparations, simply store the excess in a jar, to save you the preparation time for the next time you make this dish.
To prepare the chicken thighs, lemon juice is the first step, which helps to prepare the skin, tightening it up, until drier, to receive the powdery dry-baste mixture and once that is done, resting time, uncovered on a rack and in a cold and dry environment, such as the refrigerator, is ideal and could go from a minimum of 12 hours or up to 36 hours maximum, but 24 hours is the easiest to organize in people’s daily schedules.
Be clever and make more of this simple mixture, so that half the job is already done, the next time you have a craving for Mediterranean-style roasted chicken, whether thighs, wings, drumsticks or even whole … :)