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Skillet-Roasted Chicken with Bread Salad
1 hour 40 minutes 45 minutes active
This recipe was inspired by the late Judy Rodgers’ wood oven–roasted chicken that has been on the menu at San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe since 1987 and continues to be popular to this day (the bread salad didn’t accompany the chicken at its debut, but the pair now are inseparable). We modified Rodgers’ exacting technique to make the dish doable on a weeknight, but we aimed to approximate its deliciousness and capture its simple elegance. The cooking in our recipe starts on the stovetop and finishes in the oven, but it all takes place in a 12-inch skillet; be sure your skillet is fine for use in a 475°F oven. For the salad, choose greens with plenty of character that can hold their own when mixed with pieces of crusty whole-wheat bread and dressed with rich chicken drippings and white wine vinegar. Subtly bitter frisée or radicchio are good choices, as is sturdy, dark-green baby kale. The chicken is flipped twice during roasting. The best way to do this with little risk of tearing the skin is with a sturdy pair of tongs. Grasp the bird by the backbone, inserting one arm of the tongs into the cavity, then grip the chicken firmly and flip it.
3½ - 4
pound whole chicken, patted dry
Kosher salt and ground black pepper