The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Franciscos Beloved Restaurant by Judy RodgersIn The Zuni Café Cookbook, a book customers have been anticipating for years, chef and owner Judy Rodgers provides recipes for Zunis most well-known dishes, ranging from the Zuni Roast Chicken to the Espresso Granita. But Zunis appeal goes beyond recipes. Harold McGee concludes, What makes The Zuni Café Cookbook a real treasure is the voice of Zunis Judy Rodgers, whose book repeatedly sheds a fresh and revealing light on ingredients and dishes, and even on the nature of cooking itself. Deborah Madison (Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone) says the introduction alone should be required reading for every person who might cook something someday.
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Think about serving this spectacularly presented roasted chicken with a bread salad, arugula, nuts, cranberries, and squash for Thanksgiving instead of turkey. The first time I ate at the Zuni Cafe I had this dish, served for two, which is served with a bread salad, currants, and pine nuts. It was so memorable, that I bought the Zuni Cafe Cookbook just for this one recipe. One year I made two of them for Thanksgiving, complete with the bread salad and putting my own twist of Autumn accompaniments. She studied cooking with Alice Waters, another one of my culinary heroes. This means a lot because most of my cookbooks are up in my office; only the really special books get to stay in the kitchen. You might just consider chicken instead of turkey this holiday.
However, the recipe is five pages long and takes three days of planning and preparation. Rinse chicken, pat very dry inside and out and put on a plate. Using your fingers, loosen skin from breast and thighs without tearing it and tuck an herb sprig into each of the 4 pockets. Loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days. Heat broiler with rack 6 inches from the heat. Put bread on a baking sheet and brush with 3 tablespoons of the oil. Broil until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
You don't need a brick oven for this perfect roast chicken from the legendary chef Judy Rodgers — but you do need a hot one, and a day or so to dry-brine the.
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Zuni Cafe Roast Chicken Breast (with an FDA warning)*
Norton; , from which this recipe is adapted, the James Beard Award-winning restaurant — which will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year — and its legendary roast chicken continue to be a draw for diners. Consider this dish to be the more glamorous elder sibling of the popular rotisserie chickens served across San Francisco today, from RT Rotisserie to MF Chicken. Its crispy, bronzed skin and plump, juicy and perfectly seasoned flesh is served atop a salad of bitter greens, dried currants and pine nuts dressed in a chicken dripping-enriched vinaigrette. Tossed together with warm, crisp yet chewy bread, this is culinary alchemy at its best. Sarah Fritsche is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.
The Zuni roast chicken depends on three things, beginning with the small size of the bird. Don't substitute a jumbo roaster—it will be too lean and won't tolerate high heat, which is the second requirement of the method. Your store may not promote this size for roasting, but let them know you'd like it. I used to ask for a whole fryer, but since many people don't want to cut up their own chickens for frying or anything else , those smaller birds rarely make it to the display case intact; most are sacrificed to the "parts" market. But it is no secret that a whole fryer makes a great roaster—it's the size of bird favored for popular spit-roasted chickens to-go. It ought to return to retail cases.