Courtesy Katherine Stern, chef, La Posta in Santa Cruz
1 whole 3½–4 pound chicken (I usually buy from Fogline Farms)
1 cup chicken stock or water
Season the bird generously with salt and let sit overnight or at least 8 hours.
When ready to roast, pat the bird dry with a kitchen towel, tuck the wing tips under its back and let sit at room temperature.
I use a variation of what I call the Zuni Café method to roast the chicken. Heat oven to about 500° F. Choose a pan that will fit the bird snugly. (At home, I use an oval, enameled cast iron pot that belonged to my grandmother.) Place the pan on the stove over high heat.
When hot, place the bird in, breast side up. It should sizzle and sear immediately. The hot pan will prevent the bird from sticking.
Place the pan in the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken over onto its breast, place back in the oven and roast for an additional 30 minutes. Turn the bird back over, breast up again, and roast for another 10–15 minutes, re-crisping the skin.
Remove the bird from the pan and place in a warm spot to rest for 20–25 minutes. In the meantime, strain away any fat from the roasting pan (you can reserve this to roast potatoes) and add about 1 cup of chicken stock or water. Place over high heat and gently scrape up all of the delicious caramelized bits of chicken and stir them in. Reduce by half and taste for seasoning. It should be pretty good from the already seasoned chicken but add any additional salt, to taste.
Carve the chicken and serve with a jug of sauce to pass around. We fight over the thighs. Serves 4-6.