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This roast chicken, from chef Judy Rodgers at San Francisco’s Zuni Café, is legendary. The reason it’s so good is because she insists on small free-range birds (which tend to be juicier than large, lean roasters), a 24-hour salting period to allow the seasoning to penetrate deeply and a high roasting temperature for a supremely crispy skin. The accompanying bread salad is meant to be a bed on which to serve the roast chicken and sop up its delicious juices. Slideshow: More Amazing Roast Chicken 

September 1998


Credit: © Quentin Bacon

Recipe Summary

20 mins
1 hr


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the chicken breasts and thighs. Stuff the thyme and garlic under the skin and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle the salt all over the chicken and season with pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 500°. Preheat a large cast-iron skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the skillet, breast side up, and roast for 30 minutes. Turn the chicken breast side down and roast for about 15 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced. Transfer the chicken to a board and let rest for 10 minutes; carve.

  • Skim the fat from the juices in the skillet. Arrange the Bread Salad with Currants and Pine Nuts on a platter and top with the chicken. Pour the juices over all and serve.

Suggested Pairing

Ripe, rich Sonoma Chardonnay.