For Ellen Silverman, a roast chicken always reminds her of the Friday night roast chicken her mom made when she was a child. Being stuck inside for months on end gave her plenty of time to play in the kitchen and this WINNER of a chicken dinner was the result!
Recipe + Styling + Photography by Ellen Silverman
Sweet Paul: Tell me about this dish. What makes it comforting to you?
Ellen Silverman: A roast chicken always reminds me of the Friday night roast chicken my mom made when I was a child. Being stuck inside for months on end gave me plenty of time to play in the kitchen. A few years ago, I was served a grilled Caesar salad, my mind wandered, and I put the two together. My husband, Josh, does not eat raw vegetables, so this was a perfect solution for him. Next came the dressing. I was down to one anchovy so I thought, okay, try capers. And while you are at it add some of your favorite herb, fresh marjoram. Taking a basic Caesar dressing recipe and shifting a few ingredients around gave it a delicious, almost floral and herbal quality, reminiscent of our trip to Sicily. All of this combined to bring sweet memories, a beautiful presentation on an antique platter, drunk on a bottle of Scala Ciro rosé, and, for a night, the pandemic is forgotten.
31/2 to 4 pounds chicken (ask the butcher to remove the backbone and spatchcock/ flatten the chicken)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoons
ANCHOVY, CAPER, MARJORAM “CAESAR” DRESSING:
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped and pounded to a purée
1 teaspoon salt-cured capers (soak to remove salt, gently squeeze out water in a small strainer or in your hand and rough chop)
1 teaspoon salt-packed anchovy, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh marjoram, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2/3 cup Parmesan, grated
1 egg yolk
salt and pepper to taste
GRILLED ROMAINE LETTUCE:
4 heads romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons olive oil or more if needed
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt to taste
- For the CHICKEN: Rinse and thoroughly dry the chicken. Place it on a plate and salt liberally with 1 tablespoon of the salt on both sides. This can be done up to a day ahead.
- Cover it and put it in the fridge until an hour before you are ready to cook it. If you don’t have time for this you can skip the fridge step.
- Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place a cast-iron skillet in the oven until hot.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge, and let it come to room temperature. Pat the skin completely dry, and rub with the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
- Remove the pan from the oven using a potholder (the pan will be very hot). Coat the pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Place the chicken, skin-side down in the pan, and return it to the oven. When the skin side is browned, after 5 to 8 minutes, flip the bird and return to the oven. Cook for another 20 to 25 minutes until the bird is done.
- The bird is done when the temperature reaches 160°F or the juices run clear. If using a thermometer, stick it into the leg joint, avoiding the bone, to get an accurate reading. Place the bird on a platter with the grilled romaine lettuce.
- For the DRESSING: In a bowl combine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, capers, anchovies, and marjoram. Whisk in the olive oil. Add the Parmesan.
- Whisk in the egg yolk before serving. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour into a serving bowl, and serve on the side or, if you prefer, you can drizzle it over the grilled romaine.
- For the GRILLED ROMAINE: Rinse heads of romaine, shake off excess water. Trim the bottom of each, leaving enough to keep the leaves attached. Cut each one in half lengthwise or into quarters if the heads are large.
- Put romaine in a large bowl and coat with the olive oil and salt. Grill until wilted on medium-high heat. Frequently rotate the romaine while cooking so it does not burn. If you do not have a grill you can use a grill pan.
- When done, either place the grilled romaine on the platter with the chicken or serve separately. Drizzle with the dressing or serve the dressing on the side.
- For the GRILLED BAGUETTE SLICES: Cut 8 to 12 slices of the baguette on the diagonal. Lightly grill or toast Serve alongside the salad instead of croutons.
Ellen's wine suggestion: My favorite rosé is Scala Ciro Rosato 2019 imported by VOS Selections. The wine has a pretty copper color with bright fruit flavor and hints of red flower in the nose. Serve well chilled.
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