Traditional in Middle Eastern cooking, the spice sumac brings a clean, tart, lemony flavor and a deep rose color to this chicken recipe. Start by sautéing the onions until brown, stir in the parsley and garlic, and toss with the bread. Roast the sumac-rubbed chicken on top of the bread mixture, and then, when the chicken is finished, transfer the toasted bread to a serving bowl and toss it with fresh cucumber and tomato for a panzanella-like to serve with the chicken.
What to buy: Armenian or Persian cucumbers, if you can find them, are delicious in this salad and, like Kirbys, don’t need to be peeled or seeded. If neither is available, your basic cucumber will be fine—just peel and seed it before slicing. Ripe summer tomatoes are ideal. If you’re making this out of season, substitute Roma or halved cherry tomatoes, which usually have some semblance of flavor in winter.
You can find ground sumac in Middle Eastern markets or by mail from Kalustyan’s.
Game plan: If you can, start the dish in the morning so that the seasoned chicken can rest for several hours before roasting.
Beverage pairing: Bodegas Dos Victorias José Pariente Verdejo, Rueda, Spain. The bright, lemony flavor of sumac along with the lemon and garlic ask for a fruit-forward wine, but it needs a little weight for the chicken and bread. Verdejo from Rueda is just such a grape, with the sweetest flavors of Sauvignon Blanc but without the herbaceousness and with more body.
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