Roast chicken. For many of us, it is the epitome of food that is both simple and satisfying. Well, at least for those of European descent that are not vegetarian or vegan, so for San Francisco, not so much. But that’s not the point.
I very frequently see the word "elemental" used when describing roast chicken, and I love that. I think not only of elemental in the sense that it is basic and really quite easy to do well, but also in that it is a food that is a fundamental part of our culinary lexicon. It is a food that elicits the most visceral and primitive desires. The combination of golden-brown, crispy skin, juicy meat, even the very shape of it … it has all the triggers.
Getting that combination of crispy skin and tender meat is not difficult. The magic ingredient is butter, and if you want to make it exceptional, a compound butter of herbs and/or spices is best. The other day DPaul made one of chipotles and a dash of curry paste. It turned out not to be so spicy as we expected, but it tasted great nevertheless.
I started this post off with a pic of that chicken, but I decided to be generous and share an excerpt from last year’s cookbook project. DPaul is the photographer. I just make the pretty words. I’m also including the recipe, also excerpted from the book, in graphical form after the jump. It’s ready to print and suitable for framing.