The 2FER or: How a Perfectly Roasted Chicken Became the Perfect Chicken Salad
One time we did this by accident.
However, before we get into the pleasantries of mayonnaise and bacon, it should be documented that this post has taken us FOREVER to finish. We had big plans for a storyline and an adorable anecdote, but then depending which one of us you ask, somewhere between 30 and 90 days passed without a finalized post. After spending far too much time trying to remember mundane BS like if we'd used scallions or a sweet onion the first go 'round, it was time to finally recreate this bowl of awesome while relying on our tastebuds instead of our memory.
Born from the need to perfect the oven-roasted chicken, the 2FER begins with the only real way to evenly roast Big Bird - butterflied. We could go on for paragraphs on the science behind this, but all you really need to understand is the following:
- The optimal temperature for perfectly cooked chicken legs is 170° F.
- The optimal temperature for a perfectly cooked chicken breast is 150° F.
- You cannot roast a whole (not butterflied) bird in a single oven and have it result in the perfect temperature for each piece.
So, you butterfly (aka spatchcock) it because science and culinary ninjas like J. Kenji López-Alt say so, but then you keep doing it this way forever, because (you taste how STUPID delicious it is and realize) it's the RIGHT WAY. However, unless you're feeding crowds, the likelihood of leftover chicken is high and that's your cue to make magic. While butterflying a chicken is the secret to even cooking, we're also partial to coating it in butter and for this recipe, we happened to have combined said butter with roasted garlic and miso.
Roasting garlic is easy as long as you're not starving before starting and butterflying a chicken is as easy as either a. asking your butcher or b. asking someone else to show you how. Our method for this dish is below and if you're wondering how long it takes to make 2FER chicken salad...somewhere between 30 and 90 days...
Roasted Chicken + Chicken Salad
1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken*
1 head of garlic
1 tablespoon yellow miso
4 tablespoons of butter (softened)
1/2 cup of quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest of half a lemon
1 stalk of celery
1 bunch scallions
6 slices of bacon
1 sprig of rosemary (finely chopped)
4 sprigs of thyme (de-stemmed)
Salt & Pepper to taste
For the roasted garlic:
Heat the oven to 400° F. Peel away the loose, extra outer layers of the garlic while leaving all the cloves still in tact. Use a sharp knife to trim the top off the head of the bulb, exposing the tops of the clove. Drizzle the exposed garlic with olive oil, allowing it to seep down into the cloves. Sprinkle with salt, wrap the bulb in foil or place in a cocotte and roast for approximately 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the chicken:
Heat the oven to 500° F. Ensure the chicken has been rinsed and patted dry. Extract the roasted garlic cloves from the bulb and combine with the butter and miso. We use a fork to mash it all up, but feel free to use a small food processor if you desire a smoother consistency. Rub the butterflied chicken with the mixture and roast until the leg reaches an internal temperature of 170° F and the breast reaches an internal temperature of 150°. Remove from oven and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes.
Carve off the legs and wings and plate with a salad, carb or roasted vegetable.
For the chicken salad:
Cook the bacon until crisp and chop or crumble it into small pieces. Reserve a few crumbles for garnish. Shred the breast from the remainder of the chicken and put into a large bowl. Add the lemon zest, celery, scallions, bacon, rosemary and thyme to the chicken. In a smaller bowl, combine the mayonnaise, dijon mustard and fresh lemon juice and then pour it evenly over the chicken mixture. Combine gently without over-mixing. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You can eat this as a sandwich, in a salad or by itself if it suits your fancy.