This recipe is from one of my favorite gals, Gwyneth Paltrow. Oh yeah, she can cook! Not only that she can sing too, check her on one episode of Glee and you'll see. I do not frequent her blog www.goop.com but having tried her butterflied roast chicken makes me think I should check her blog more often. Not to forget, her salad dressing is now a regular at our table. And why shouldn't I visit her blog more often, she's got some great recipes there. After all she rubs elbows with some great chefs like Mario Batali and Mark Bittman. I was a fan of their show Spain - On the Road Again by the way.
I have been a big fan of the Zuni method when it comes to roast chicken however there are days when I do not have a day to salt the chicken ahead (or sometimes I simply forget to do it the day before). In those days this is my roast chicken go-to recipe. It cookss quick and with very little effort. You only have to butterfly the chicken, which takes about five minutes of your time... ok maybe six or seven minutes. Doing this significantly shortens the roasting time.
To butterfly the chicken, simply run a kitchen shear across its back from the tail to the neck. Yes, a good kitchen shears can cut through the bones! Although not necessary, you can also cut out the bone on the thigh using a paring knife. Bones are what make the chicken cook longer so if you remove the thigh bone it will help the thigh area cook easier (the part which takes the longest to cook).
Although the result is not as crispy as that of the zuni method, I love the lemony flavor of the chicken and the tasty potatoes that soaked up the juice at the bottom of the pan.
Butterflied Roast Chicken and Green Salad
1 3 to 4 pound chicken, washed and dried
1 lemon, cut in half
6 garlic cloves, peeled
a few sprigs each fresh rosemary, sage and thyme
freshly ground black pepper
about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 dozen fingerling potatoes (or any small potato)
PreparationPreheat the oven to 450ºF (on convection if possible).
Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, remove and discard the backbone of the chicken (or save it for making stock). With a sharp pairing knife, remove the thigh bones — simply follow the bone and let your knife do the work for you. You can also ask your butcher to do this.
Lay the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting tray and press down with your hands so that it flattens. Squeeze over the lemon, getting the juice on and around the entire chicken, and throw the lemon halves into the tray. Toss in the garlic cloves, being sure to tuck a few underneath the bird along with the fresh herbs. Liberally salt and pepper the chicken and drizzle over enough olive oil to coat — about 3 tablespoons.
Put the potatoes in the tray with the chicken and drizzle with olive oil to coat (about another 3 tablespoons) and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover the tray with tinfoil, roast for 20 minutes, remove the tinfoil and baste with the juices that have collected on the bottom. Roast for an additional 20 minutes, uncovered, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers at least 165ºF and the skin is browned. Set oven dial to broil and cook for an additional 10 minutes to crisp the skin a bit.
For the salad
assorted spring greens (lettuce, arugula, frisee, spinach etc.)
1 small shallot, peeled and thinly sliced (optional)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons real Vermont maple syrup
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar (i use muskat champagne vinegar from Trader Joes)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, mustard, maple syrup and vinegar. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and season the dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the greens and serve.