Nothing is as iconic and delicious as a beautifully-browned roast chicken drenched in buttery pan juices. For San Francisco-born Alex Sanchez, the Chef/Partner of Americano, roast chicken is the ultimate celebratory meal and the epitome of home cooking. It's the dish you turn to when you need an impressive crowd-pleaser or a week's worth of meals. It also reminds Sanchez of his grandmother who made the best roast chicken. “Every summer my mom would send me off to Florida to spend time with my grandparents. I always looked forward to these visits and I especially cherished the time I spent cooking with my grandmother. She cooked very simple, but delicious food. Of all her recipes, roast chicken was my favourite. I enjoyed standing over the counter after dinner nibbling on the leftover bones and talking about what we would eat for lunch the next day. It was amazing to see how that one bird could turn into a few days' worth of meals: cold chicken sandwiches, chicken soup with barley, chicken pot pie, and the list goes on. Though my grandmother has since passed away, I think of her each and every time I roast a chicken.”
Sanchez suggests a side of simple vegetables or asparagus with brown butter and almonds as accompaniments. And if you are in the mood for celebration then a bottle of well-aged Barolo or Barbaresco would be perfect, says the man behind the charming, high ceiling dining space, in Mumbai's art district of Kala Ghoda.
Roast Chicken by Alex Sanchez
1 whole chicken (about 1.1 kg to 1.3 kg)
2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp thyme, leaves only
Salt as needed
1. The day before cooking, spatchcock the bird by cutting out the spine with a good pair of kitchen shears. Lay the bird out flat onto a large plate with the skin side facing up.
2. Use a single chopstick or your fingers to loosen the skin from the flesh. Think of it like creating little pockets, rather than removing the skin—you want to keep the skin attached.