Once relegated to stir-fries, fresh ginger has amazing versatility, adding pungent spice and punch to all sorts of dishes.
Just consider this quick-roasted ginger chicken: After a harried workday, rub the chicken (rinsed and blotted dry) with the cut side of the ginger (it should be a juicy piece), season generously with salt and pepper, toss several slices of unpeeled ginger into the cavity, place the chicken in a shallow roasting pan and pop it into a 400-degree oven for an hour. It’s the base of a good dinner, and it’s delicious in leftover chicken salad or sandwiches.
In these simple recipes, ginger adds a spicy, peppery accent that can’t be duplicated by any other ingredient. Always available in produce sections, ginger root has a knobby appearance and tan skin. It should feel firm to the touch, without a wrinkled or dry-looking surface, and have a fresh, spicy fragrance. Buy judiciously (it’s easy enough to snap off a knob if that’s all you need), as it keeps only a week despite all the methods often prescribed. Store it, unwrapped, in the refrigerator vegetable drawer.