A whole chicken is broken down into 10 pieces and seared in a pan until the skin is crispy then roasted until cooked through and juicy.
Using a whole chicken is the most cost effective and I love getting a variety of cuts. The rendered chicken fat is tossed with cubes of fresh bread and cooked into flavorful, crispy croutons served over bitter radicchio. The drippings contain so much flavor, that when I create the croutons it keeps one of my favorite parts of roasted chicken from going to waste!
The crispy chicken is topped off with Italian salsa verde. This green sauce, similar to chimichurri, is filled with chopped herbs, umami packed flavors of anchovy, briney capers and zesty lemon to brighten the sauce.
I love serving it with chicken though it also pairs well with steak, lamb, fish or roasted vegetables. I prefer to chop the herbs in the sauce by hand rather than using a food processor so it is more of a chunky texture rather than a blended sauce like a pesto.
In a small mixing bowl add the parsley, tarragon, olive oil, lemon zest, capers. anchovies, garlic and calabrian chili and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside until ready to use.
For the chicken:
Heat oven to 400ºF.
To break down the chicken, lay the chicken with the breast-side up. Using a sharp chef’s knife, pull the legs away from the body and carefully slice through the skin between the breast and the drumstick on each side. Bend the legs back until the thigh bone pops out of the socket and you can cut through the joint. Separate the leg and the thigh at the join and cut through.
Pull the wings away from the chicken then cut through the joints, removing the wings. Next remove the backbone, I do this using kitchen shears (save the backbone for stock or discard). Place the breasts skin-side down and slice the breasts into two halves. Cut the breasts into quarters, diagonally.
Generously season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add the oil and heat through. Add the chicken thighs skin-side down to the cast iron, being careful not to overcrowd the pan (you may have to work in batches).
Cook the chicken, untouched, until the fat renders and the skin is golden-brown, about 6 minutes. When adequately browned the skin should easily lift off the pan. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 4 minutes.
Arrange the chicken pieces on a baking sheet and roast until all pieces are completely cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken fat that is rendered in the pan when searing the chicken and set aside in a bowl.
Turn the oven down to 350ºF. Toss the bread with the rendered chicken fat and olive oil then arrange in an even single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crispy, about 15 to 20 minutes.
Arrange the radicchio on a large platter and top with the roasted chicken and chicken fat croutons. Spoon the salsa verde over the top and serve.
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