Chicken skin can be a valuable part of your menu (and your diners’ diets), if consumed in moderation. It has long been used in traditional cooking, and some of us may even remember our grandmas keeping them in covered bowls, and then snacking on a whole stack of them!
Even though it is seen as a guilty pleasure, people have often said that the skin is the best part of the chicken. But ever since people got more health-conscious, it has since been shunned by many modern kitchens. For years, health professionals and nutritionists have discussed the negative effects of consuming poultry skin and today, skinless chicken breasts and thighs have become the norm in supermarkets and restaurants offering healthy food choices.
However, many have questioned if chicken skin is as bad for our health as we have been led to believe. There is no contention that skin contains fats, but not all of them are bad. Nearly two-thirds of all fats contained are unsaturated, but omega-6 is also present. Omega-6 is a fatty acid that’s an essential part of our diet and also found naturally in various oils (such as olive oil, sunflower oil and hempseed oil), raw nuts and seeds.
If you’re keen on reinvigorating your menu with chicken skin, we’ve got 9 suggestions on how you can do it:
- Serve baked chicken skins that are perfect as appetisers or bar snacks. Simply season with salt and pepper and have it with wine or beer.
- Use the rendered chicken skin fat as a bi-product for stocks or bases for other dishes.
- Given that the skin is seen as the tastiest part of a roast chicken, leave the skin on during cooking and serving. Include this in your menu and let diners choose to eat or discard the delicacy.
- Including crispy skin in your salad ingredients adds texture and flavour to a green salad, much like streaky bacon does now. You can also toss it with peanuts, chilli and lime to give a refreshingly light flavour to the skin and the salad as a whole. Alternatively, simply add salt and pepper to the skin.
- Create fresh and light tacos, and add a helping of crispy skin into the mix for a Mexican-inspired dish.
- Try using different seasonings and consider chilli, garlic, dried olive or miso powders to create a variety of flavours.
- Split the chicken and grill it. This will guarantee a crispy skin with smoky overtones.
- Use other cuisines to inspire your take on the chicken skin, such as the Jamaican jerk chicken. The chicken is marinated for a long period, and the skin crisps up as soon as it hits the heat, while sealing in the moisture and flavour of the chicken.
- Re-create favourite Filipino street food chicharon using chicken skin instead of pork.
Bonus: Try other poultry skins too – consider turkey, duck and quail.