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Herb-Butter Roasted Chicken with Tuscan-Style Bread Salad adapted from Chef Ryan Hardy in Food and Wine Magazine

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Sometimes when I write a post, the food gods seem to be hovering overhead.  This recipe came to my attention when it was posted as a great idea for a Mother’s Day meal. Talk about timely.  Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 12th this year.  Since presumably Mother will be given the day off, it will fall on some lesser cook’s shoulders to make a meal that any mother could love.  So right off the bat, you know this recipe cannot be terribly complicated.  Dear old Dad should be able to pull this one off whatever his level of kitchen competency.  If that’s not enough of a reason to make this dish, perhaps your ears will perk up when I tell you it’s the invention of a Chef called Ryan Hardy.   Chef Hardy, I have since found out, is about to open one of New York’s most anticipated new restaurants. The James Beard Award nominee’s new place is  called Charlie Bird and it will open on May 15th, at 5 King Street in Soho.   Since it won’t yet have opened, there’s no taking Mother there for her big day.  But anyone can celebrate with this dish.   It looks like you’ve gone to a lot of trouble, but in truth, it’s not hard to pull off at all.

         Roast chicken recipes are one of those things that I can’t seem to get enough of.  I could have likely stopped at Lauren’s Roast Chicken, https://chewingthefat.us.com/2011/03/laurens-roast-chicken-and-side-of.htmland called it a day.  But I would have missed out on Melissa Clark’s Mother’s Thyme-Roasted Chicken https://chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/melissa-clarks-mothers-recipe-for-thyme.htmlor Jonathon Waxman’s Salsa Verde version https://chewingthefat.us.com/2012/03/jonathan-waxmans-roasted-chicken-with.html.  No, there are clearly too many reasons to keep roasting chickens.  And Tuscan bread salad is one of them.  
Still in print and
a great addition to
any culinary library
          The most famous of all recipes involving the salad is likely Judy Rodger’s Zuni Café Roast Chicken.  The dish itself is almost an institution in San Francisco where I’ve eaten it every chance I could.  But the recipe in the Zuni Café Cookbook (W.W. Norton and Co. 2002) runs 4 3/4 pages long.  It’s the War and Peace of roast chicken recipes, half of which is devoted to the Bread salad.  Mercifully, Chef Hardy has achieved success in a single page.  Sure there’s some effort involved but for dear old Mom it’s barely a drop in the payback bucket. Now there may some pushback against using the chicken liver that’s in this recipe.  I am sure you liverphobes can leave it out.  But you’ll missing its tiny  bursts of richness it brings to the table.   And one other thing; Chef Hardy’s recipe serves 10 to 12 and has you roasting four chickens, thankfully all at the same time.   If your family size is smaller, cut back appropriately.  I did mine with a single chicken.  And I left out the escarole but kept it here for the full effect.  Here is the recipe:

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