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barbecue simon & garfunkel chicken

Simon & Garfunkel Spice Blend & Baste

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,

Remember me to one who lives there,

She once was a true love of mine.

Simon & Garfunkel

In 1966 Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel popularized their modified version of this haunting 16th Century English canticle on their album named "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme". This is the first verse, and the rest of the song tells the tale of a soldier asking a favor of a friend who is going to Scarborough Fair.

Simon & Garfunkel's Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album

The Fair was a large harvest season market on the east coast. The young swain asks the friend to find his old girlfriend and ask her, if she wishes to be his true love, to perform several impossible tasks, including the planting of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme on an acre of land she must plow with the horn of a lamb and then harvest the crop with a sickle of leather. The last two verses go like this:

Love imposes impossible tasks,

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,

Though not more than any heart asks,

And I must know she's a true love of mine.

Dear, when thou has finished thy task,

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme,

Come to me, my hand for to ask,

For thou then art a true love of mine.

This is one cocky dude, no? We do not know if he knew much about women (we think not), but he clearly knew something about cooking. Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are said to represent bitterness, strength, faithfulness, and courage, and they also make a pretty good all purpose rub for pork, turkey, and chicken (click here for my recipe for Simon & Garfunkel Chicken). I also sprinkle it on grilled asparagus, sauted veggies, and even scrambled eggs.

I make up a batch of my Simon & Garfunkel Rub, store it for months, and sprinkle it on everything on sight, especially poultry. It goes on chicken, turkey, grilled potatoes, even on the outside of baked potatoes, grilled asparagus, in omelets, you name it. Let me know what you like it on.

As background for this recipe, please read my article on the Science of Rubs.

Recipe

Preparation time. 10 minutes

Makes. About 1/4 cup, enough for about 8 large whole chickens

Ingredients

1 tablespoon dried crushed parsley

2 tablespoons dried crushed sage

1 tablespoon dried crushed rosemary

1 tablespoon dried crushed thyme

1 tablespoon dried crushed oregano

1 tablespoon dried crushed basil

1 tablespoon dried crushed bay leaf

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

Where's the salt? I have left the salt out of this recipe. Read why in my article on the Science of Rubs.

About the parsley. OK, I confess, dried parsley doesn't contribute much to the flavor profile, so it could easily be left out, but then I wouldn't have a story to tell, would I?

Make a wet rub. Mix a tablespoon or two of this dry rub with the same amount of vegetable or olive oil an hour or so before cooking to make a wet rub. Use oil, not water, because most of the flavors are oil soluble, not water soluble.

Measuring. Measuring the ingredients is a bit tricky since some of the herb leaves may be powdered, not crushed. The big chunks, like oregano have more air in them, so try to compensate by adding more or less depending on how much air in your raw materials. If your measurements are not precise or if you lack one or two ingredients, no wars will break out, but I think the sage, bay leaf, and rosemary are essential. Crushed bay leaf may be hard to find so you can use whole bay leaves. Just take about 10 leaves and crumble them in your hand, measure the crumbled amount and add more if necessary. The pepper will add a little heat, but not much, but you can cut it out if you're a wimp or amp it up if you're a tough guy.

Optional. At one time I had included 1 tablespoon dried crushed hot red pepper (cayenne or chipotle) in this recipe. I have removed it because I decided I like the recipe better without the heat. If you want a capsaicin jolt, go for it.

Method

1) Measure everything and dump it into a blender. Put the lid on the blender (very important), and run it on medium for a few seconds, turn it off, and run it again. Continue pulsing about until you have a powder. Dump the whole thing in a jar and label it.

2) How to use this stuff. Lightly coat your chicken or potatoes or asparagus or whatever with vegetable oil or olive oil, sprinkle on the rub liberally, even if you are a conservative. If time permits, let the seasoned meat sit in the fridge for an hour or three. The oil is important because many of the flavors in the herbs are oil soluble and the time in the fridge helps the flavor permeate. If the food has not been been brined, then sprinkle with salt. If it has been brined, then skip the salt.

3) Grill, smoke, or roast.

This page was revised

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