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"I don't think America will have really made it until we have our own salad dressing. Until then we're stuck behind the French, Italians, Russians and Caesarians."--Pat McNelis

Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula: Barefoot Contessa Recipe

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This recipe for Roast Chicken with Bread and Arugula: Barefoot Contessa, by , is from The Heilman Family Cookbook Project, one of the cookbooks created at We'll help you start your own personal cookbook! It's easy and fun. Click here to start your own cookbook!

Susan Heilman


Note that your preparation may begin the day before!

1 (4- to 4 1/2-pound) whole chicken, preferably Bell & Evans

4 sprigs fresh thyme

2 large garlic cloves, smashed flat

1 lemon, quartered

2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus extra for serving

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 to 4 (3/4-inch-thick) slices country bread

Good olive oil

Arugula Salad:

1/4 cup Champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup good olive oil

1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, white and green parts (3 scallions)

2 tablespoons dried currants or another dried fruit like cranberries. (Important: If you don't have currents on hand or don't like them - don't worry! I always use dried cranberries or Craisins and it works just fine.)

6 cups baby arugula, lightly packed (6 to 8 ounces)

Place the chicken in a baking dish.

Using your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breasts and thighs without breaking the skin. Carefully slide the sprigs of thyme and the garlic under the skin. Put the lemon in the cavity. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under the body. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of sea salt and the pepper, cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean!)

Place the bread in a medium (10-inch) cast-iron skillet or cooking pan in a single layer.

Brush the chicken with olive oil and place it, breast side up, on top of the bread. Roast for 30 minutes, turn it over and roast for 15 minutes, until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. You can turn the chicken by inserting a pair of tongs into the chicken's cavity and using a spatula on the exterior part of the chicken. I have noticed that the chicken may need to cook a a little bit longer in order to give the thicker parts of the chicken time to finish cooking. Just watch it closely, so it doesn't over-brown. Wrap the skillet tightly with aluminum foil and allow the chicken to rest at room temperature for a full 30 minutes. (Don't worry; it will stay warm).

Preparing the Serving Platter

Place the Arugula Salad in a very large, shallow serving platter.

Put the chicken and the bread on a cutting board. Cut the bread into 1-inch squares and sprinkle them on the salad. Carve the chicken thickly (see note) and place it on top of the salad. Spoon the pan juices over the chicken, sprinkle it with sea salt, and serve warm.

Arugula Salad:

Yield: 4 servings

Whisk the vinegar, mustard, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper together in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whisk in the olive oil, stir in the scallions and currants/cranberries, and set aside.

Place the arugula in a large bowl, add the vinaigrette, and toss well.

Cook’s Note
To carve, cut off the legs and cut between the thigh and the leg. For the breasts, cut the wings off, remove each breast in one large piece, and make thick slices crosswise. hot.) The bread will be almost burnt on the bottom and soft with the pan drippings on top.

Number Of Servings:
Number Of Servings:
Preparation Time:
Preparation Time:
45-60 minutes
Personal Notes:
Personal Notes:
This dish is a standout, earning it a star for being a favorite. Every time I serve it, people go absolutely crazy. The secret is the pan drippings that spread down onto the bread cubes during the baking process. They are absolutely delicious. The salad adds a fresh note and has a lovely dressing that compliments the chicken. This is a one dish dinner that helps the cook, by not requiring more time for additional preparations. Buy a dessert and you are all set.




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