If I can cook it, you can cook it And I'll travel the world to bring it back home to you.
Herb-Butter Roasted Chicken with Tuscan-Style Bread Salad adapted from Chef Ryan Hardy in Food and Wine Magazine
Sometimes when I write a post, the food gods seem to be hovering overhead. This recipe came to my attention when it was posted as a great idea for a Mother’s Day meal. Talk about timely. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th this year. Since presumably Mother will be given the day off, it will fall on some lesser cook’s shoulders to make a meal that any mother could love. So right off the bat, you know this recipe cannot be terribly complicated. Dear old Dad should be able to pull this one off whatever his level of kitchen competency. If that’s not enough of a reason to make this dish, perhaps your ears will perk up when I tell you it’s the invention of a Chef called Ryan Hardy. Chef Hardy, I have since found out, is about to open one of New York’s most anticipated new restaurants. The James Beard Award nominee’s new place is called Charlie Bird and it will open on May 15th, at 5 King Street in Soho. Since it won’t yet have opened, there’s no taking Mother there for her big day. But anyone can celebrate with this dish. It looks like you’ve gone to a lot of trouble, but in truth, it’s not hard to pull off at all.
Still in print and
a great addition to
any culinary library
The most famous of all recipes involving the salad is likely Judy Rodger’s Zuni Café Roast Chicken. The dish itself is almost an institution in San Francisco where I’ve eaten it every chance I could. But the recipe in the Zuni Café Cookbook (W.W. Norton and Co. 2002) runs 4 3/4 pages long. It’s the War and Peace of roast chicken recipes, half of which is devoted to the Bread salad. Mercifully, Chef Hardy has achieved success in a single page. Sure there’s some effort involved but for dear old Mom it’s barely a drop in the payback bucket. Now there may some pushback against using the chicken liver that’s in this recipe. I am sure you liverphobes can leave it out. But you’ll missing its tiny bursts of richness it brings to the table. And one other thing; Chef Hardy’s recipe serves 10 to 12 and has you roasting four chickens, thankfully all at the same time. If your family size is smaller, cut back appropriately. I did mine with a single chicken. And I left out the escarole but kept it here for the full effect. Here is the recipe:
Recipe for Herb-Butter Roasted Chicken with Tuscan Style Bread Salad Adapted from Chef Ryan Hardy in Food and Wine Magazine
Active Prep time 1 hr 30 minutes. Total Time 2 hr. 45 minutes and 4 hours for marinating.
Chicken Livers, Anchovies, Capers…
what a combination!
Four 3 1/2-pound chickens—cut in half, backbones discarded
Freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 16 cubes
8 thyme sprigs
8 small rosemary sprigs
8 unpeeled garlic cloves
1/2 pound crusty Italian bread, such as ciabatta, torn into 1-inch pieces
1 lb. Escarole cut into 1 inch pieces.
1/2 pound chicken livers—trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
2 fennel bulbs, cut through the core into 1/2-inch wedges
8 small scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths (2 cups)
1/4 cup lightly packed sage leaves
8 anchovy fillets, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and chopped
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 cup shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
On a work surface, cut the wings off of the chickens at the second joint, leaving the drumettes attached to the breasts. Transfer the wingettes to a small bowl.
Season the chickens with salt and pepper and arrange skin side up on two large rimmed baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over the chickens and top each half with 2 cubes of the butter. Scatter the thyme, rosemary and garlic over the chickens; let them return to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the bread with 1/4 cup of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden but still slightly chewy. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
In a very large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the chicken livers and cook over moderately high heat, turning occasionally, until well browned and barely pink inside, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the livers to a plate to cool, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet until shimmering. Add the wingettes to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Add the fennel, scallions, sage and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and transfer the skillet to the oven.
Roast for about 30 minutes, stirring once, until the fennel is tender and the wingettes are cooked through. Let cool slightly, then remove the meat from the wingettes; discard the skin and bones. Add the meat to the vegetables.
Roast the chickens in the upper and lower thirds of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into a thigh registers 165°; switch the pans halfway through roasting. Let rest for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, toss the bread with the roasted vegetables, escarole, livers, anchovies, capers, vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Fold in 1/2 cup of the cheese shavings and season the bread salad with salt and pepper. Transfer the bread salad to a platter and scatter the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese shavings on top. Cut the chicken halves into two pieces and transfer to another platter.