The tart fennel and sweet walnuts here make this roast chicken especially good. The orange dressing has nutty flavor, too, because it’s spiked with walnut oil.
Slideshow: More Chicken Recipes
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
One 3-pound chicken, refrigerated uncovered overnight (see Note)
4 thyme sprigs
4 dill sprigs
Wide strips of zest from 1 medium orange
2 teaspoons canola oil
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 whole cloves
1 fennel bulb—halved, cored and thinly sliced lengthwise
1 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup Chardonnay vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil
1 medium navel orange
2 small heads of radicchio, torn into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup minced dill, plus more for garnish
Candied Walnuts, for serving
How to Make It
Step 1 Prepare the chicken
In a large bowl, whisk the sea salt into 4 1/2 cups of water until dissolved. Add the chicken and cover with a plate, pressing so the chicken is submerged in the brine. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a rack, pat dry with paper towels and refrigerate for 1 hour more.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Season the chicken inside and out with kosher salt. Fill the cavity with the thyme, dill and orange zest. Tie the legs with kitchen twine. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat the oil. Add the chicken, breast side down, and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until the bird is browned on all sides, about 8 minutes total; spoon off the excess fat. Roast in the oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°. Tent with foil; let rest for 15 minutes.
Step 3 Meanwhile, make the pickled fennel
In a small saucepan, combine the rice vinegar, sugar, salt and cloves. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, 5 minutes. Transfer the sliced fennel to a heatproof bowl and pour the hot brine over it. Press plastic wrap on the fennel so it’s submerged and marinate at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours.
Step 4 Make the orange dressing
In a saucepan, simmer the orange juice over moderately high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Add the vinegar and sugar and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/3 cup, 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the oils in a slow, steady stream. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
Using a sharp knife, peel the orange, being sure to remove any bitter pith. Cut between the membranes to release the sections into a bowl. Add the radicchio and the 1/4 cup of dill. Season with salt and pepper. Drain the pickled fennel and add to the radicchio with the Candied Walnuts and 1/4 cup of the orange dressing; toss well.
Transfer the salad to a platter. Carve the chicken and arrange on the salad. Garnish with dill and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.
The pickled fennel can be refrigerated in its brine for 5 days.
Refrigerating the chicken uncovered overnight dries out the skin so it’s crisper once it’s roasted. Refrigerate the bird on a rack set on a rimmed baking sheet.
Pair this dish with a restrained California Chardonnay.
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