My parents gave me a fantastic cookbook for Christmas, “Make It Ahead,” by Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. All recipes come with lovely color photos accompanied by them. This is always something I appreciate because it helps me visualize what the recipe “should” look like in the end. This recipe quickly caught my eye since there was half a loaf of leftover ciabatta bread leftover from the previous night.
We shortened the recipe by using fresh chicken rather than refrigerating it two or three days in advance. Rather, I made everything in one night, which was really not that complicated. Rather than champagne vinaigrette, which I didn’t have, I subbed in a splash of balsamic vinaigrette with a 1/2 teaspoon sugar for its sweetness.
This is a classic recipe inspired by Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. I haven’t been there in years, but I remember their roast chicken bread salad. The crispy skin roast chicken with big, crunchy croutons, and fresh zingy salad dressing are the perfect combination. I can make it at home due to this recipe. I loved it. My husband as well. A dinner party of four would be great with this delicious recipe!
Roast Chicken served with Arugula Salad & Bread
Recipe from Barefoot Contessa, “Make It Ahead,”
It serves: 4 people for a perfect dinner.
The following ingredients are to be used:
- Whole chicken, organic, free range weighing 4 to 4.5 pounds
- Four sprigs of fresh thyme
- Two large cloves of garlic mashed flat
- One lemon, quartered
- Add extra salt for serving, and 2 teaspoons of fine sea salt.
- Half a teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Three to four slices of country bread
- Olive oil of good quality
- Lastly, Arugula Salad
- In a baking dish, place the whole chicken. Gently loosen the skin on top of the breasts and thighs using your fingers without breaking the skin. Put the lemon in the cavity. Put the thyme sprigs and garlic under the skin carefully.
- Tuck the wings beneath the body and tie the legs together. Cover with plastic wrap tightly, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours. (Note that you can just use the chicken immediately instead of refrigerating.)
- Bake the bread in a medium (20-inch) cast-iron skillet at 500 degrees for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the bread. Roast for about 40 minutes, then turn it over and continue baking for about 15 minutes, until the juices run clear.
- Removing the bread from under the chicken and setting it on a cutting board to cool. Roast the chicken in the oven for another 10 minutes. (This was done by me since it wasn’t quite ready).
- The chicken should rest at room temperature for 10 minutes after wrapping it tightly in aluminum foil.
- The bread will have almost burned edges and be soft when it cools. Place the Arugula Salad (recipe below) in a huge serving platter. Place a thin layer of bread on top of the salad. Carve and place the chicken on top. Sprinkle sea salt over the chicken, top with some pan juices or extra Arugula Salad dressing, and serve warm.
RECIPE FOR ARUGULA SALAD
- Champagne vinegar 1/4 cup
- One teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- One teaspoon of minced garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt
- Half a cup of good olive oil
- Half cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts.
- Two tablespoons of raisins or currants
- Walnuts are optional.
- Lightly packed 6 to 8 ounces cup of baby arugula
In a small glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together vinegar, mustard, garlic, one teaspoon of salt, and one full teaspoon of pepper. In a bowl whisk the vinegar, olive oil and scallions, stir in the currants or raisins, and optional walnuts, and set aside. The arugula should be placed in a large bowl, with the vinaigrette added, and tossed well.