A Californian-Italian take on a classic roast chicken

PREP TIME: 20 mins
COOKING TIME:  45 mins
IDEAL FOR: family meal, crowd-pleaser, Sunday roast
BUDGET: £ – ££

The West Village, NYC

I can’t rave about this place enough.

It holds A LOT of happy memories for me.

When I moved to Manhattan for a short stint, I had one goal… to live in the West Village.

You know, a bit of Carrie-Sex-and-the-City vibe.

It’s a small leafy area.

Low rise buildings so you don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed by the city.

No real grid system like Upper Manhattan.

Full of restaurants, bars, café’s, the famous Magnolia Cupcake bakery is there.

Trendy shops, trendy peopletrendy dogs!

And I got ‘lucky’ with an apartment on W11th, corner Washington Street.

It was a studio apartment but it had huge windows where I could sit and people watch.

Barbuto’s restaurant, NYC

Barbuto was the first place I stopped on my hunt for this apartment.

I sat alone, on a table in the sun.

I ordered some olives and a few small things to nibble with a glass of chilled white wine while I searched for more apartments to view.

You think London’s tough.

Go to NYC and find out how pokey, dark and miserable some apartments are.

Or how you can miss out on a place if you decide to ‘think about it’ for more than 10 mins.

But I did secure this apartment.

I had become more New York savvy after a week of searching and basically begged the owner to let me have it.

The landlord mulled it over for an agonising few hours.

Then the most joyous of joyful calls came through.

It’s yours.

Yes! The New York dream was alive.

And so the love affair continued…

Barbuto’s became my local hang out.

The owner; a well-known American chef, Jonathon Waxman.

The building; an old garage built to sell Rolls Royce cars back in 1939.

The name; Barbuto is Italian for ‘bearded’ and a reference to Jonathon Waxman’s beard.

The atmosphere; boisterous and busy with great staff.

The people; it includes the most pretentious people all the way to across to families and the odd Kiwi-Londoner who just happened to turn up in the neighbourhood.

But it’s a fun place.

And the food is simple and delicious.

Worth the long wait for a table (which you learn is standard in most good NY restaurants).

But that’s where cocktails come in!

Roast chicken with salsa verde

And so, to the roast chicken with salsa verde.

I won’t lie.

I never order chicken at a restaurant.

It seems like a waste to spend that kind of cash on something I used to whip up every Sunday.

But this…

This changed me.

Roasting in my wood oven
Juicy chicken with fresh, zingy salsa verde

Whenever friends came to visit, I’d drag them down to Barbuto’s and lean heavily on them to order the chicken.

If they did order it, they’d thank me.

If they didn’t, they’d look at my chicken as it arrived and groan that they should have.

There’s nothing overly special about it but the key is in the way you roast the chicken.

Spatchcock, then halve and cook in a fry-pan in an oven.

Basting frequently.

Keeping it moistdon’t overcook it.


Then, the piece de resistanceJonathon Waxman’s salsa verde.

Fresh and tangy.

Drizzled all over your roasted chicken pieces.

You’ll find different versions of this salsa verde but I followed JW in an old video he did on it.

So here’s that version…

I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Roast chicken with salsa verde

Fresh and tangy salsa verde makes this roast chicken a winning dish
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword chicken, crowd pleaser, family meals, roast chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 5 people
Cost £ – ££


The Chicken

  • 1.5 kg free range chicken (where possible go for organic or free range)
  • pinch salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Salsa verde

  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 8 anchovy fillets
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh parsley (no need to be precise on this measurement)
  • 1/4 -1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped (no need to be precise on this measurement)
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rocket salad, chopped (optional – see below, Notes)
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 3 green onion, chopped (use mainly the white part)
  • 1 fresno chilli (substitute jalapeno, pinch of chilli flakes or a bit hotter serrano chilli), sliced (optional)
  • 1 lemon


For the chicken

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C
  • To prepare the chicken, spatchcock it first then, cut in half (see below for 'How to Spatchcock' or ask your butcher to do it)
  • Add a little sprinkle of olive oil over it and sprinkle both sides of the chicken with a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper.
  • Pop into a pan that is oven proof.
  • Cook for 45 mins or until the juices are clear (*use a meat thermometer to help with the internal temp so it remains juicy), keep basting throughout.
  • Rest for a few minutes before you cut the two halves into pieces for serving.

For the salsa verde

  • On a board, crush your garlic with the side of your knife and then add your capers, anchovy fillets and a pinch of sea salt (and a little pepper) on top.
    Now, chop all these up together so you have a nice rough chopped mix.
    Add a little olive oil if it's too dry.
  • Now, take all your herbs, chopped chilli, chopped green onion, place on top of this mix, add a squeeze of lemon and roughly chop it all up together, mix it up as you chop.
    NB: it doesn't need to be super finely chopped, it's a rustic sauce.
  • Place in a bowl and add approx 1/2 cup olive oil with a pinch of salt and pepper and mix. It shouldn't be a dry, thick mix but also not too runny so make your judgement on how much oil.
    Taste and adjust to your preference.
  • Serve on top of the roast chicken pieces.


How to spatchcock a chicken
Note: As long as you have plenty of mint and parsley you can add any other herb or even just keep it super simple with these two.
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