After making this dish from Chef Vincenzo Betulia of The French, you’ll never again approach chicken in quite the same way:
Rustic French Roast Chicken
Yield 2-4 portions
One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well inside and out with paper towels; the less it steams and the drier the heat, the better.
2. Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is not difficult, and it’s a good technique to feel comfortable with if you roast chicken often. When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
3. Salt the chicken. Rain the salt over the bird (about one tablespoon) so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). After cooking, you should still be able to make out the salt baked onto the crisp skin.
4. Season to taste with pepper.
5. Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. Then leave it alone. Do not baste it. Don’t add butter; you can if you wish, but this creates steam, which is really not wanted. Roast it 50 to 60 minutes until done. Remove it from the oven and add the thyme to the pan. Baste the chicken with the juices and thyme and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board.
6. Remove the twine. Remove the legs and thighs. Cut the breast down the middle and serve it on the bone, with one wing joint still attached to each. The preparation is very rustic and comforting, simple and extremely satisfying.
7. Slather the meat with fresh butter. Serve immediately.