Cook the Book: Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter

Cook the Book: Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

I've never been shy about my love of anchovies. In fact, I've made it a personal mission to convert the anchovy-opposed into fans of the oily little fishes. My preferred method of easing newcomers into the umami-rich world of anchovies is something I like to call "the secret anchovy"—dissolving a few filets into a dish to deepen the flavor. This Roasted Chicken with Tomato Butter from Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton's Canal House Cooking is a perfect example of the anchovy sneak attack.

The tomato butter is made by steeping sherry with anchovies and thyme, whisking in tomato paste and finishing it with plenty of butter. You are left with a complex tomatoey sauce (that's not fishy) all thanks to those two little anchovy filets. This recipe calls for the sauce to be spooned on pieces of roasted chicken and sprinkled with parsley and rosemary. It turns out gorgeous but, honestly, this sauce would be delicious on virtually anything—eggs, roasted pork or beef, grilled fish and vegetables.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Canal House Cooking to give away this week.

  • Yield:4 to 6


  • For the Tomato Butter:
  • 2 anchovy filets
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup sherry
  • 2 big tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 6 pieces
  • For the Chicken:
  • 1 whole chicken, 3 to 5 pounds, back removed
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley
  • Chopped fresh rosemary


  1. 1.

    For the tomato butter: Put the anchovies, thyme, and sherry into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Gently simmer for 15 minutes. Strain, discard the solids, and return the sherry to the pan. Bring to a boil and cook until the sherry has reduced to 1/4 cup.

  2. 2.

    Whisk in the tomato paste, then add the butter one piece at a time, whisking
    continuously, until all the butter has been used and the sauce is smooth. Keep warm over a pot of simmering water, or cool and refrigerate.

  3. 3.

    For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400°. Wipe the chicken dry with paper towels. Put the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan. Rub with salt and pepper. Roast until the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh with a sharp knife, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven, and allow chicken to rest for about 15 minutes. Cut the chicken into pieces, arrange on a platter, and spoon or slather with lots of tomato butter. Garnish with parsley and rosemary.

  4. 4.

    Variation: To make Tomato Butter Sauce, follow the Tomato Butter recipe to the point when you have reduced the sherry. Whisk 2 egg yolks and 1tablespoon water together in a bowl. Whisk the yolks and tomato paste into sherry. Cook over low heat, whisking continuously so the yolks don’t “scramble”. Add butter 1 piece at a time, whisking until it has melted before adding the next. If the sauce separates, remove from heat and whisk in another piece of cold butter. It should come back together. Return to heat and continue whisking in butter a piece at a time.