For a weeknight-friendly roasted chicken that delivers big, bold flavor, we combine a trio of umami-packed ingredients—miso, Parmesan cheese and tomato paste—with an easy technique that ensures perfect cooking every time: spatchcocking. Also called butterflying, this involves cutting out the backbone—a good pair of kitchen shears is all you need—and pressing the bird flat. That solves the problem of uneven cooking, putting breasts and thighs on the same plane so they cook evenly.
We always favor blocks of Parmesan over already-grated cheese. The flavor of freshly grated Parmesan is much better; pre-grated can taste stale and dry. When shopping for miso, red and white varieties are common at most supermarkets; either works in this recipe. White miso is mellower than the saltier, more robustly flavored red miso.
To season our bird—and make sure those seasonings stay in place during roasting—we make a paste that relies on a few high-impact ingredients and slide it right under the skin. The paste comes into direct contact with the meat, which means better absorption, and the skin helps keep the seasonings in place. Miso lends a salty-sweet taste and Parmesan cheese brings nuttiness; tomato paste adds concentrated sweet tomato flavor, while garlic contributes another layer of complexity.
Flat Birds Roast Better, Faster
To spatchcock a chicken, set it breast side down on a cutting board. Using sturdy kitchen shears, cut along one side of the backbone from top to bottom. Repeat on the other side of the backbone, then remove and discard. Spread the sides of the chicken, opening it like a book and flattening it as much as possible. Flip the chicken breast side up, then use your hands to press firmly on the center to flatten the bird. The breast bone may crack.
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