Chicken, Roasted with Greens and Toasted Bread, by Judy Rodgers of Zuni Café


Serves 2-4


The Zuni Café Cookbook, by Judy Rodgers


3 to 3½ lb chicken

1 sprig rosemary or oregano, chopped

1 tsp. crushed garlic, divided

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups stale, country-style, dense white bread with crust removed, cut into 1” cubes

1 tbs currants

4½ tablespoons verjus or cider vinegar

6 cups baby greens (in winter, use mache in summer substitute mild baby greens

1 tbs. olive oil

½ bunch scallions, finely sliced

1 tsp. chopped garlic



Steps 1-4 can be prepared early in the day


1. Wash and dry the chicken. Combine rosemary or oregano, crushed garlic, salt, and pepper, and rub chicken, insider and out and under the breast skin, spreading as far down as your fingers can reach in order to “perfume” the flesh. Wrap the chicken in paper toweling and a sheet of cellophane wrap; refrigerate until 2 hours before serving.

2. Heat the broiler and lightly toast bread cubes on all sides. Spread in one layer in a large ovenproof serving dish; cover lightly with paper toweling and set aside.

3. In a bowl, combine ½ tbs. verjus or cider vinegar and 1 tbs. water. Add the currants and let soak.

4. Wash and dry the greens, wrap in paper toweling and refrigerate.

5. About 2 hours before serving, remove the chicken from the refrigerator, unwrap, and bring to room temperature.

6. About 1¼ hours before serving, preheat the oven to 450º F.

7. One hour before serving, place chicken, breast side up and untrussed on a rack in the roasting pan. Roast chicken for 30 minutes, then turn over and continue roasting 20 minutes longer. Remove the chicken from the oven and let stand, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Do not turn off the oven.

8. In a bowl, combine remaining 3½ tbs. verjus or cider vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp salt, and a dash of pepper. Blend and pour over bread cubes, and quickly toss to flavor. Then put the bread cubes in the hot oven for 5 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, pour off all but 1-2 tbs. fat from the roasting pan. Set the pan over medium heat, add the scallion and chopped garlic, and cook, stirring while lifting the brownish bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. Stir in currants and soaking liuid and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

10. By this time, the bread should be slightly crunchy and light brown. Turn off oven heat. Remove from the oven, pour the contents of the roasting pan over the bread. Stir in most of the greens and toss well. Return the bread and greens to the oven to bake in the receding heat for 5 minutes.

11. Carve the chicken into 8 serving pieces. Remove the bread and greens from the oven, fold in the remaining greens, top with the chicken, and serve at once.

Cafe Fiorello