Yes, this chicken is an amazing recipe and yes, there is a list of directions, BUT that is what makes this NO ordinary roast chicken. Zuni Cafe Chicken – another little jewel recipe from the Collection.
Long ago and far away, in what seems like a dream to me now, trips to San Francisco were frequent. Just an easy jaunt up the coast to the most beautiful city in the US. During those halcyon days, we used to frequent the very hip & ground breaking Zuni Cafe, with head chef Judy Rogers. The visit was NOT complete without ordering the Roasted Chicken & Bread Salad, still on the menu today. This is my take on this classic salad.
ZUNI CAFE CHICKEN
There are a number of recipe directions, but not to fear, you can do this. The base of the dish is a simple roasted small chicken, seasoned with fresh herbs, salt and pepper inserted carefully under the skin to hasten the seasoning. The chicken is flipped over during roasting, that is why a small chicken works best. Remove the chicken from the pan and rest on a platter after removing from the oven.
The roasting pan drippings are separated from the fat. This is where my favorite gravy strainer comes in very handy. The lean drippings go back in the pan adding a tablespoon or so of water and stir.
Using a sharp knife, slash skin of the chicken between the thighs and the breasts. Then place the bird and roasting juice to rest while you make the bread salad, a very important part of this recipe.
The bread salad is created from large torn chunks of crust-free peasant bread, about 4 cups. Toss the bread with olive oil, place on a half sheet pan and broil briefly just to brown edges, then remove from oven. For the dressing, mix the olive oil and vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Place the bread in a large bowl, toss 1/4 cup of the dressing and add handfuls of the baby greens. Toss to combine. Next up, in a skillet sauté the currants, pine nuts, garlic and scallions, until just softened. Add to the bread salad and combine.
See, not really so hard once you have the ingredients prepared.
Finally it is time to assemble the salad. Place a layer of baby greens on a large platter. Scatter with the dressed pieces of bread salad. Place warm pieces of chicken on top of the bread salad. Slice the larger pieces of chicken and drizzle all with reserved drippings and remaining vinaigrette. Scatter the pine nuts and currants on top and serve. Classic cuisine is always a Little Jewel.
As always, enjoy. B