When you can vividly remember a lunch you had ten years ago, I would have to say that’s the power of great cooking. I distinctly remember a visit to Washington Park on lower Fifth Avenue. The restaurant marked the triumphant return to New York of Chef Jonathan Waxman. Chef Waxman was a California cuisine pioneer. Name a famed West Coast restaurant and Waxman may very well have worked there. For starters, add Michael’s in Santa Monica to a list that included a stint at Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse. In the mid 80s, he took Manhattan by storm after opening an Upper East Side place called, appropriately, Jam’s, which was pretty much how you felt jammed into the bar waiting for your table. Such was the incredible popularity of the place. And what was it that I remember from that lunch in 2002? Why Chef Waxman’s chicken, of course.
|Barbuto, in what was once an|
Industrial Space in Greenwich Village
Recipe for Jonathan Waxman's Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde and French Fries:
For the Chicken:
One 4-pound chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, halved
For the Salsa Verde:
4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes and patted dry
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped arugula
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped basil
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped tarragon
1/4 cup chopped sage
1/4 cup snipped chives
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the French Fries:
3 large russet potatoes
2 quarts of Canola or other vegetable oil.
|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.
When the chicken goes in the oven…
Peel the potatoes and cut them lengthwise into 1/3 inch slices. Stack the slices and cut lengthwise into 1/3 inch fries. Place the fries in a large bowl of cold water to cover and soak for 20 minutes. Drain and repeat the process for another 20 minutes.
Make the Salsa Verde
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.
Serve the chicken with the salsa verde and the fries. A tossed green salad is the perfect accompaniment.