Zuni Cafe’s roast rooster and bread salad is one among San Francisco’s, if not California’s, most iconic dishes. And understandably so: completely roasted rooster on prime of a mattress of dressed salad and croutons soaked in rooster dripping. In my low-waste model, I make the dressing primarily from the rooster fats and with out olive oil, and roast the chicken on prime of the bread, so it absorbs as a lot flavour as doable.
A low-waste model of Zuni Cafe’s roast rooster and bread salad
This dish is a lesson in Californian simplicity. By seasoning the rooster two to 3 days upfront and conserving it within the fridge uncovered, you kind of air-dry the chicken, making the meat extra flavourful and the pores and skin crisper. Impressed by Victoria Glass, who makes salad dressing from the fats rendered from roast meat, I’ve tailored Zuni Cafe’s recipe by making my dressing principally with the rooster dripping, fairly than olive oil.
If want be, ask a butcher to spatchcock the rooster for you; they might even salt it for you, if you happen to don’t fancy air-curing the chicken in your fridge. When storing rooster uncovered in your fridge, in fact be further cautious that it doesn’t come into contact with every other meals, to keep away from cross-contamination.
1 small rooster (about 1½kg), spatchcocked
Sea salt and black pepper
300g stale bread
3 tbsp olive oil
35g pine nuts
4 spring onions, trimmed and finely sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely sliced
35g currants or raisins
45ml white- or red-wine vinegar
80g combined salad leaves, ideally a few of them bitter – I used child spinach and radicchio
Utilizing your fingertips, loosen the pores and skin from the breast and thighs of the rooster, generously season the chicken throughout with sea salt, together with below the pores and skin, then put within the fridge uncovered for 48-72 hours.
Take the rooster out of the fridge two hours earlier than you need to prepare dinner it. Warmth the oven to its highest setting – 240C (220C fan)/475F/gasoline 9 or increased. Tear the bread into giant cubes, put these in an ovenproof frying pan with two tablespoons of olive oil, and toss to coat. Put the rooster breast aspect down on prime of the bread, and roast for half-hour. Flip over the rooster, so it’s now breast aspect up, then baste and return to the oven for 20 minutes, till the pores and skin is crisp and the juices run clear.
In a small roasting tin, toss the pine nuts, spring onions and garlic with a drizzle of olive oil, then roast alongside the rooster for the final eight minutes of cooking. Switch the croutons to a bowl and go away the rooster within the heat pan to relaxation.
In the meantime, soak the currants or raisins in scorching water for 10 minutes, then drain. Chop the rooster into giant items, and put aside. Pour all of the rooster fats and the cooking juices into a big bowl, whisk within the vinegar, then add the pine nut combination and drained currants, and season to style. Add the combined bitter leaves and croutons, toss to coat, then switch to a platter. Prime with the roast rooster items and revel in.