Broiled Cornish Hens with Red Hots

Makes 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes

Knowing that my knife technique could never match Jean-Georges's (no one has ever made as much fun of me as he has; when I was boning my squab in the recipe on page 124 he grabbed it from me and said, "Let me put both you and the bird out of your misery."), I decided to go with a slightly bigger (and less expensive) bird, forego the boning aspect, and substitute the less subtle (by far) Red Hots (you can buy these in any supermarket or candy store) for the almonds. The recipe follows the same technique, with distinctively different results.

2 (1 1/4-pound) Cornish hens, split in half, excess fat removed, rinsedand patted dry with paper towels
Salt and black pepper
6 tablespoons (3.4 stick) butter,softened
1 1/2 cups (6 to 8 ounces, depending on size) Red Hots, ground to acoarse powder in a coffee grinderor food processor

1. Preheat the broiler; the heat should be as high as possible, the rack set 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Sprinkle the birds all over with salt and pepper. Smear some of the butter on the bottom of a roasting pan (or whatever you're using to broil) and the rest all over the birds.

2. Put the birds skin sides up in the pan and sprinkle with the Red Hots powder; broil, adjusting either the heat or the rack distance, so the candy melts and the top of the bird browns while the meat cooks through; probably, you'll want high heat but at least 4 inches of distance between the heat source and the top of the bird. Cooking time will be at least 15 minutes, since the birds should be cooked through; be careful not to burn the tops. Serve, spooning the pan juices over the birds.