June 2012

Vermouth

In the hands of KAREN and QUINN HATFIELD, the fortified wine has a culinary life well beyond martinis  by SARAH TAYLOR / photographs by LAUREL JOHNSON

  • Quinn Hatfield’s vermouth chicken takes full advantage of its venerable key ingredient.
  • Vermouth sabayon adds the perfect punch to fresh berries and almond torte.
  • The Hatfields

With the much lauded eponymous Hatfield’s on Melrose and the about-to-open Sycamore Kitchen on La Brea, Karen and Quinn Hatfield have become a powerhouse L.A. culinary team. Their partnership has a satisfying symmetry—Quinn helms the savory kitchen, Karen the pastry program—so it was impossible to consult just one of them. Luckily, they agree on the one ingredient they relish pulling off the shelf.

With the renaissance of classic cocktails, it’s possible some of us forgot how versatile the grand fortified wine vermouth—both sweet and dry—can be. Here, we have two can’t-miss recipes the Hatfields love: his classic vermouth chicken with rosemary and her supple, orange zest–flecked vermouth sabayon. But in all fairness to cocktails, Karen did mention she makes one using vermouth, apple or blueberry juice and fresh limes, and we admit that sounds awfully good...

VERMOUTH CHICKEN

3 large boneless chicken breasts, skin on and halved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 stem rosemary
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 shallots, minced
¼ cup vermouth
¼ cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in large ovenproof pan over high heat. Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper and place skin side down. When skin just begins to caramelize, turn heat to medium and continue to cook until rendered, about 10 minutes. Turn chicken over, add rosemary to top, and place entire pan in the oven. Bake 10–15 minutes, until chicken is cooked. Remove chicken and rosemary from pan and set aside. To make sauce, place pan back on the stove and, after removing any highly caramelized pieces, heat on medium. Add garlic, shallots, vermouth and stock, stirring and deglazing. Whisk in butter until emulsified, then remove from heat. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

VERMOUTH SABAYON

4 egg yolks
2 ounces sugar
3 ounces vermouth (either 2 ½ ounces dry and ½ ounce sweet or all dry)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

Create a double boiler by placing a bowl over same-size saucepan. Fill saucepan with water, ensuring it doesn’t touch the bowl, and bring to simmer. In bowl, whisk all ingredients rapidly until frothy and a desired texture. For more custardy sabayon, remove bowl from boiler and place over larger container filled with ice. For lighter, remove from heat and whisk in freshly whipped cream. Serve with fresh or poached fruit, or pair with an almond torte.