After Portlandia, chickens may forever be the brunt of Portland food jokes. Still, as Laurie Wolf writes in her introduction to Portland, Oregon Chef's Table, local poultry is an important part of Portland dining, and it appears in more than a few recipes in her book. Roost's Seared Panzanella Chicken stood out among the rest for its rustic restraint. The chicken is simply seared skin-side down and finished in the oven. The panzanella component is no more than caramelized garlic, oil-cured olives, toasted bread, parsley, and chicken jus. Each plate is finished with a whiff of arugula salad and a drizzle of extra jus. Nothing more, nothing less.
Why I picked this recipe: Seared chicken on bread salad is a perfect example of ingredient-driven Portland cooking at its finest
What worked: With a strong backbone of good chicken, bread, and olives, there's not much that can go wrong.
What didn't: The recipe is pretty vague about dressing the arugula as well as the roasting times for the chicken and bread. I followed my instincts (checking on the chicken after 10 minute, and dressing the salad with only a bit of the dressing) and the dish turned out great, but I would have liked a bit more direction.
Suggested tweaks: The recipe calls for boneless breasts and thighs, and the image with the recipe shows skin-on pieces. Since skin on, boneless chicken is pretty hard to find, I de-boned skin-on breasts and thighs myself. This is kind of a pain in the a**, so I'd probably just leave the bones in and roast the chicken a little longer next time.
Reprinted with permission from Portland, Oregon Chef's Table by Laurie Wolf. Copyright 2012. Published by Lyons Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 45 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 cup olive oil
- 12 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 boneless chicken breasts
- 4 boneless chicken thighs
- 16 good-size chunks day-old bread, drizzled with olive oil and coarse salt
- 1/3 cup pitted oil-cured black olives
- 4 cups chicken stock
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- For the Salad
- 1 bunch arugula, cleaned and dried on a clean dish towel
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a small pan, add one cup of olive oil and 12 cloves of garlic. Slowly caramelize the garlic until tender. Remove garlic from oil, reserving oil for another use. In a skillet, pan sear the chicken pieces and place on a baking sheet until all pieces are seared. Place in the preheated oven to roast. Cut up chunks of day-old bread and drizzle with olive oil and salt (about four cubes of bread per person). Place in oven to toast.
Once chicken is cooked through, remove from the pan and keep warm. Discard oil from the pan and add pitted olives, the garlic, and chicken stock. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the crust. Taste, then add salt and pepper and chopped parsley. Remove toasted bread and place on plates. Spoon the sauce over the warm croutons. Top with the arugula salad dressed with sherry vinegar, olive oil, and sugar and warm roasted chicken.