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Pollo al Forno (Roast Chicken)

This recipe was originally published as part of the Signature Dishes feature and slideshow.
Published in Gourmet Live 09.12.12

INGREDIENTS:

For the Chicken:

  • One 4-pound free-range organic chicken (fresh only)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon

For the Salsa Verde:

  • 1/4 cup capers in salt
  • 4 anchovy filets
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped arugula
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

For the Chicken:

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Wash the bird in hot water (this will remove any nasty juices that collect in the plastic wrap that all chickens seem to come in). Dry with paper towels.
  • Using kitchen shears, cut out the backbone of the chicken and remove any fat (this can be added to a chicken stock). Then, using a heavy chef's knife, cut out the breastbone. Season the 2 halves with sea salt and black pepper.
  • Place the chicken halves, skin side up, on 2 sizzle platters and dab with the olive oil. Cut the lemon in half and place a half, cut side down, next to the chicken on each platter.
  • Roast the chicken for 35 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. If it is not browning well, turn it over after 15 minutes, and then right it for the last 5 minutes. When it is done, remove the chicken to a platter and pour off the excess fat. Cut each breast in half and cut the thigh from the leg. Serve with salsa verde and garnish with the roasted lemon.

For the Salsa Verde:

  • Soak capers in cold water for an hour then drain.
  • Soak anchovies in cold water for 15 minutes then pat dry and remove the bones.
  • Using a mortar and pestle, smash the capers, anchovies, and garlic, until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl.
  • Add all herbs and olive oil.
  • Season with sea salt. It should be chunky, not oily.
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