Even if you don’t typically use them to dry your hair, hair dryers can be useful to have around to handle a number of different tasks. This week, food correspondent Helen Rosner made waves on the web by sharing one more: crisping chicken skin.
The method was actually pioneered in 1978 by culinary genius Marcella Hazan, but it’s not something most of us think of when we’re actually roasting a bird on our own.
As Rosner points out, a hair dryer is for all intents and purposes the same thing as a tool shop hot air gun, you're just more likely to have one in your home.
Rosner used the (very expensive) Dyson Supersonic to make her chicken happen, but you can use any hair dryer and get a similar effect. Hazen's recipe involves dunking a duck in boiling water and then going over it with a hair dryer. She details the technique in her book Essentials of Classic Italian.
Rosner suggests doing a 24-hour salted air dry in the fridge, followed by hitting the chicken with a hair dryer on cool to get any leftover moisture out of the skin. Afterwards, add a layer of butter or oil and start cooking the chicken in a cold over, incrementally raising the temperature to 230-degrees Celsius over 80 minutes.
You can check out the full recipe on her Twitter thread here.
Beyond crisping chicken, a hair dryer can also come in handy to get a silky look on the top of a cake, restart a grill fire, or lightly melt chocolate before you start shaving it.