Roast Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes, Herbs, and Lemon It’s pretty hard to beat a perfectly roasted chicken. This recipe is inspired by the famous roast chicken at the San Francisco restaurant Zuni Café, where their secret is to salt the raw chicken up to seventy-two hours before roasting. This method, called salt brining, creates a deliciously moist chicken because the salt draws out moisture that dissolves the crystals, then the bird reabsorbs this salty liquid down to the bone. This recipe calls for salting for just twenty-four hours, and if you don’t have that much time, as little as thirty minutes will have an effect.
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  • 1 (31⁄2-to 4-pound) chicken
  • Salt
  • 1 1⁄2 pounds fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise if large
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half, horizontally
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon assorted chopped fresh herbs, such as thyme and rosemary
  • 1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Place the chicken on a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack. Liberally sprinkle salt all over the chicken, loosely cover the chicken with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Let the chicken come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before roasting.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with 2 tablespoons of the oil and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer in the bottom of a large cast-iron cocotte. Add the lemon halves, garlic halves, and red onion quarters. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil.
  4. In a small bowl, stir the herbs into the butter. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat and rub the butter mixture under and on top of the skin and all over the thighs and breasts. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the cocotte and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Decrease the oven temperature to 350°F and continue roasting for 30 to 40 minutes, until a meat thermometer reads 165°F when inserted between the thigh and the breast.
  6. Remove the chicken from the oven, tent with aluminum foil, and allow the chicken to rest for at 10 minutes before carving and serving.


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