Coast Cooking

Simplicity is key to a good roasted chicken

Many chefs think of a roasted chicken as benchmark.

If you cannot make a pretty darn good roasted chicken, then your rep as a serious cook goes way down.

The possibilities this recipe opens are almost endless. It can be stuffed with herbs, garlic, lemons or a cornmeal based stuffing, or it can be roasted devoid of any stuffing.

You can place herbs or even saffron under the skin, season it with red pepper, black pepper, herbs de Provence or a long list of other good and interesting things.

But as is often the case, simple is best. The best roast chicken I ever had was at a corner grocery store in Spain, many years ago. It was a good quality chicken to be sure, but its preparation was to be basted in garlic and butter and grilled on a rotisserie. That’s it.


1 frying hen (not a roasting hen, their too big and take longer to cook)

1 whole garlic head, cut in two

1 stick of best quality butter

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 500 f. Stuff the room temperature chicken with the garlic and 1/3 of the butter. Smear the rest of the butter over the outside of the bird and roast for 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 and cook for 40 minutes more. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes before carving.