If a Mount Rushmore of roast chicken exists, there’s little doubt Judy Rodgers would be one of the faces.
Rodgers, who died in 2013, was owner of San Francisco’s Zuni Cafe and author of The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, inarguably one of the most beloved culinary tomes of recent memory.
Zuni Cafe was famous for its roast chicken served alongside a warm bread salad. Rodgers’ revolutionary recipe involved salting the bird three days in advance. Before Zuni, the common thinking was that salting the bird for too long extracted too much moisture, leaving the meat dry. But Rodgers discovered that after the initial drawing out of moisture to the surface, the chicken absorbs that moisture right back in, flavoring the interior meat in the process. The result? Crisp skin, plus seasoned, flavorful, juicy chicken meat all the way through.
ATK’s homage to Zuni Cafe roast chicken with warm bread salad is, without a doubt, my all-time favorite recipe. If I had to make one dish to impress friends, this would be it. But it’s not just because of the incredible chicken. The secret weapon is the chicken schmaltz croutons.
First, watch this step-by-step recipe video (the written recipe is here). I’ll wait. I promise it’s the most satisfying 13 minutes you’ll spend today.