"Ode to Zuni" Roast Chicken with Fennel Panzanella

When Suzanne Goin makes this homage to the legendary chicken at Zuni Café in San Francisco, she confits the whole chicken in duck fat. For this simplified version, she brushes the bird with the duck fat before roasting. Slideshows:  Roast Chicken Recipes 

"Ode to Zuni" Roast Chicken with Fennel Panzanella
Photo: © Peggy Wong
Active Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
2 hrs


  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, plus 1 rosemary sprig

  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage

  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves

  • Kosher salt

  • One 4-pound chicken

  • 1/2 pound country white bread, torn into 1 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)

  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons duck fat or olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 Meyer lemon

  • 1/2 cup pitted and coarsely chopped Castelvetrano olives (3 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 árbol chiles, crumbled

  • 1 large fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1 small head of escarole, leaves torn


  1. In a small bowl, combine the chopped rosemary and sage with 1 tablespoon of the thyme and 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt. Rub the herb mixture all over the chicken and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375°. On a baking sheet, toss the bread with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and spread it out in a single layer. Toast for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.

  3. Increase the oven temperature to 450°. Brush most of the herb mixture off the chicken. Set the chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet and rub all over with the duck fat. Roast for about 50 minutes, until golden and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh registers 165°. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes, then cut into pieces.

  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the shallot with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and let stand for 5 minutes. Trim the ends from the Meyer lemon and slice 1/8 inch thick. Stack the slices and cut into 1/8-inch-thick matchsticks, then cut into 1/8-inch dice; you should have 1/4 cup. Add the diced Meyer lemon to the shallot mixture and stir in the chopped olives, flat-leaf parsley and 6 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the salsa with salt and pepper.

  5. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Add the rosemary sprig and crumbled chiles and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the fennel, red onion, garlic, the remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme and 1 teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and lightly golden in spots, about 5 minutes. Stir in the white wine vinegar and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Pour the onion-fennel mixture over the croutons and mix well.

  6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the skillet. Add the escarole and season with salt and black pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, just until wilted, about 2 minutes.

  7. Spread half of the panzanella on a large serving platter and top with half of the escarole; repeat with the remaining panzanella and escarole. Arrange the chicken on the salad and spoon the lemon salsa on top.

Make Ahead

The croutons can stand at room temperature overnight; the lemon salsa can stand at room temperature for up to 4 hours.

Suggested Pairing

A Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Franc from the Napa Valley work well with this delicious dish.

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