Home Cooking 53

Zuni Cafe Cookbook--the BEST, BEST roast chicken and bread salad EVER!! (long)

Carb Lover | Apr 26, 200505:22 PM

My Fellow Hounds,

Something was revealed to me over the weekend that I feel compelled to share w/ you. If I were to take a poll, I'm sure that nearly every one of you who frequents this board has made one to hundreds of roast chickens in your lifetime. In fact, our collective number of roast chickens would be of mind-boggling proportions, I'm sure.

I'm estimating that I have made at least 50 roast chickens in my roughly 10 yrs. of serious cooking. I have tried numerous variations, recipes, side dishes and have come close yet never quite found "the one"...until last weekend. You already know what it is from my title, and by now you may have already salivated over the picture below. If you know me, I rarely use the word "best" to describe anything--it's not in my temperate nature. But BEST, BEST...EVER seems to fit here.

Let me just say that Zuni's chicken and bread salad is the most delicious thing I've eaten in a very, very long time (in my home or elsewhere). Not only is each component wonderful on its own, but when eaten together, they meld into one sublimely cohesive masterpiece. The crispy, salty bite of skin...the moist, tender, flavorful-to-the-core meat...the rustic bread chunks w/ pockets of chew, crunch, and tang from the vinaigrette...the nutty, sweet, savory, and peppery of pine nuts, currants, garlic, scallions, and arugula (I only had parsley though). A truly addictive quality that guarantees no leftovers. For the poster below who wants to woo women, look no further. Men will equally swoon.

The recipe is the epitome of simple home cooking that is brought to magnificent heights by a few simple but critical factors--namely starting out w/ impeccable ingredients, pre-salting the bird, and roasting on high heat. The kind of heat that produces some smoke so that when you open your oven to tend to the bird, the alarm goes off and your SO or roommate has to open all the windows and flap furiously until the sharp ring abates. Yes, this happened, and yes, I'd gladly deal w/ it again (except I will have a standing fan set up next time).

I generally like to include a recipe w/ such a report (otherwise it's a bit of a tease, isn't it?), but have intentionally decided to leave it at that. Paraphrasing this just doesn't seem right. For me, hounds are the type to do whatever it takes to find or create the best chow, so I will leave you to google, your library, bookstore, etc.

I checked the book out from my library and this is the first thing I've made from it. The book seems to be something special from what I have gathered, and I encourage you to get your hands on it through whatever means you can. If you have any feedback or personal experience from making it or eating it at their Cafe, then I'd love to hear your comments.

I have yet to eat at Zuni, but this recipe has single-handedly turned me into a Zuni groupie. Now I must go there myself (luckily, I live w/in driving distance) to taste their wood-fired version for comparison. The one blissful thing that we did at home that we couldn't really do in the restaurant was eat most of it w/ our hands :-)

Image: http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y45/...

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