Monday, January 07, 2008

Roast chicken the Alice Waters Way

I've been having good fun with my new cookbook, The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters. Every recipe I've tried has been delicious. Today I decided to attempt her roast chicken recipe.

I've tried Roast Chicken the Adele Davis way: Set oven at an extremely low temperature and do not salt the meat before roasting. Result: juicy chicken with skin the color of vanilla pudding.

I've tried roast chicken the Tasha Tudor way: Set oven at 350, put garlic cloves under the skin, stuff cavity with onions and fresh herbs, sprinkle with salt, dab with butter and roast for 20 minutes a pound. Result: your standard roast chicken. Juicy, brown, flavorful.

This is roast chicken the Alice Waters way: Season with tons of salt several hours before cooking. Push thick slices of garlic under skin, if desired. Roast at 400 for just one hour. Every 20 minutes turn chicken--first breast side up, then breast side down, then up again for the last 20 minutes. Waters says it's crucial for the chicken to be allowed to rest for 15 minutes before carving. I was skeptical, especially, when, at the last turning, with just 20 minutes of baking time left, the chicken didn't look even close to being done. Result: the chicken took somewhat longer than an hour to cook, but was extremely tender and juicy, but perhaps not as flavorful as Tasha Tudor's. Was actually slightly underdone in the thighs, but I fed those bits to the dogs, and organic chickens are less likely to have salmonella, right?

In future, I will combine Waters' and Tudor's recipes for maximum succulence.


  1. I may have to try that as well. I'm definitely in cooking mode and roast chicken sounds delicious.

  2. Mmm. Yummay. Although I'm not sure I could roast a chicken better than the rotisserie at the grocery store.

  3. I think Alice Waters is amazing, but that recipe involves far more effort than I'm willing to put into it.