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French in a Flash: 5 Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken

[Photographs: Kerry Saretsky]

I hate summertime. Loathe it. So when I see the date is August 26, I know there's only a handful of days left until September, and even though September is technically summer—come on, we all know that it's fall. It's when all the fall stuff starts to happen: back to school, super-thick fashion magazines, and apple season. It's my favorite month.

Suddenly, the wheels all start to turn again. Everyone is back from vacation, schedules become routine, and the hectic part of life reemerges. Fall is not only a change of mindset, but a change of "mouthset." I'm done with my summertime grazing of tomatoes (the season's only redeeming feature) and seafood. Fall requires dinnertime, and what I call "feature meals"—a sort of culinary centerpiece around which everyone can huddle for a quick hour in the evening, amid the resurrection of homework and emails and schedules. It's the kind of meal that wafts upstairs from the oven; a magnet that calls "dinnertime" without your having too. It's comfort food.

That is where 5 Heads of Garlic Roast Chicken comes in. I've always been an ardent admirer of the rotisserie chickens you find on the streets in Paris, and I always seek to achieve the same burnished gloss in my roast chickens at home. The secret is, as it always is, butter. I make a compound butter stocked with thyme and two heads of roasted garlic. Over and under the skin, it makes the chicken moist inside and crispy outside. Garlic perfumes the pan sauces, and more roasted garlic nestles in the pan instead of onions or potatoes. Serve it with a crusty country loaf, and you're done. Bye-bye, summertime!

About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.

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