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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three Ways to Make Zankou Chicken Garlic Spread

I'm a huge fan of Zankou Chicken's roasted chicken, which is served with pita bread and their famous garlic spread. The garlic spread is white, thick, and just a tad lumpy. It's super garlicky, and is just the perfect match for the chicken.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I want us to eat out less. And a full dinner from Zankou runs our family $15 to $20, plus the cost of veggie sides. So I recreated a meal from Zankou for dinner last night using a whole chicken from the freezer, and Jennifer B. asked for the recipe of their garlic spread since I confessed to breaking the emulsion yesterday.

I've made the garlic spread several times, and I've tried a few different ways. The one thing you need is a blender, because I don't think a whisk is going to get the job done.

So the first version I tried, via Chowhound, involved 3 small russet potatoes, 14 cloves of garlic minced (1 head), 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon salt, and 1/2 cup canola oil (tip: "mince" the garlic using a microplane). I made mashed potatoes, then pureed the rest of the ingredients, and then added the potatoes. It tasted okay, but more like garlicky-lemony mashed potatoes than garlic spread.

So the next version I made eliminated the potatoes. When you add the oil slowly to the garlic, lemon juice and salt, it emulsifies and turns into this glorious, thick mayonnaise type consistency. What I learned the hard way is that you need to let it mellow for a few hours at least. The sauce was way too intense at dinner, but the next morning it was delicious.

That second version is what I was going for yesterday. Unfortunately, I didn't add the oil slowly enough and my emulsion broke. It was no longer thick and glossy but liquidy. I tried starting over but for some reason I couldn't get the second emulsion to form either, so I was feeling a little desperate. I've served roasted chicken with my white bean dip, so it occurred to me to add about 1/2 cup of cannellini beans to my non-emulsified liquid. It did the trick, and I had a spreadable sauce that was still garlicky and lemony and went nicely with the chicken.

I'm not sure which version I prefer - the second or the third. In the future, I'll probably try making the second version, and resorting to the third if my emulsion breaks again.

Be warned - it's a lot of garlic and it's intense! But delicious :)



  • At 5/17/11, 1:19 PM, Blogger Camille said…

    Oh wow -- that place looks fantastic. We'll have to try it out next time we're in SoCal.

    A garlic sauce is traditionally served with chicken schwarma in Lebanese cooking. I use a recipe from a Lebanese cookbook which is similar to your recipe (mine calls for only 4 cloves of garlic, though) and I just blend it in the blender. I've never tried to emulsify it -- just blend. But it's fantastic with roasted chicken!

  • At 5/17/11, 2:34 PM, Blogger Qwendykay said…

    You are my hero! Zankou is one of our favorites!

    What did you use to spice your chicken

  • At 5/17/11, 9:21 PM, Blogger Chief Family Officer said…

    @Camille - Sounds about right, I know my version of the garlic sauce is not exactly what they serve at the restaurant. What you're making might actually be closer to the original!

    @Qwendykay - Let me know what you think! I use paprika and a LOT of salt on my chicken :)


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