|Barbuto, in what was once an
Industrial Space in Greenwich Village
It must be odd to be so completely associated with one dish when your repertoire contains so many others. Chef Waxman’s Fritto Misto that was at the top of its class last time I tasted it. But Chef Waxman brings his chicken to the table with an interesting pedigree: His grandparents were Chicken farmers. So he knows his way around the bird. And, at his latest location, he’s serving his take on all things Italian. He even wrote his own Italian cookbook, pictured above. At 775 Washington St. (between Jane and West 12th St (212-924-9700)) Barbuto is home to the latest incarnation of Chef Waxman’s Chicken, still roasted to absolute perfection, still accompanied by crisp French fries but now topped with a deliciously complex salsa that launches the chicken into another sphere altogether. It’s amazingly easy to make at home. The technique is one you can use again and again. It involves searing the skin side of the bird in a cast iron skillet which the goes into the oven to roast. Turning to the salsa, which you can make while the chicken roasts, don’t be put off by the lengthy list of ingredients. The must-haves are the capers, anchovies, garlic and parsley, the olive oil and the red wine vinegar. Everything else on the list just builds up more flavor. You can use a mortar or pestle but Chef Waxman gives you a dispensation: you can be forgiven for using your food processor instead. Chef Waxman’s recipe gives each diner at whole half chicken. He says you can eat half at the restaurant and take the rest home. Andrew and I found our 4 lb chicken served four portions, perfect in our case since he could opt for the white while I enjoyed the dark and we got two meals out of one bird. Here’s the recipe:
For the Salsa Verde:
|My cast iron skillet could not contain
both pieces of chicken so after I’d browned
each on individually, I used a bigger skillet for
oven portion of the recipe.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Place a large cast iron skillet over high heat for five minutes. Using kitchen scissors, cut out the backbone. Flatten the chicken and pull out the breast bone. Cut the chicken in half through the breast, rub the sides all over with the olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Set the chicken skin side down in the cast iron skillet; if your skillet cannot accommodate both halves of the chicken, cook each half separately. Sear the chicken until the skin is golden brown. Then put it skin side up in the oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Transfer to a platter and let it red skin side up for 15 minutes. Reduce the over temperature to 250 degrees. You will use the oven to keep the French fries warm.
In a food processor, pulse the capers with the anchovies and garlic until finely chopped. Add all of the remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the canola or vegetable oil in a fryer or large, heavy-bottomed pot to a temperature of 375 degrees. For truly crispy fries, you need that kind of heat. Working in small batches, fry the potatoes for 8 to 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Transfer to a paper-towel lined baking sheet and keep warm in the 250 degree oven.