Roast Chicken and Warm Escarole Caesar

This roast chicken from the menu at Dusek’s in Chicago is a sleeper hit, combining comforting roast chicken and the briny flavors of Caesar salad for a cozy meal. Marinating the chicken for at least 24 hours in a koji marinade makes it nice and juicy while infusing it with tons of flavor. The chicken emerges from the oven savory, sweet, a little smoky, and slightly spicy with a deep brown crust. It’s the perfect match for the just-wilted escarole, which still retains some crunch and is slightly bitter. Tender roasted potatoes add some extra heft to the preparation, and a homemade Caesar dressing brings it all together.

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) whole chicken, giblets removed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon shio koji
  • ¼ cup zhoug, such as Shabazi 38
  • 5 cloves confit garlic
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • ½ cup, plus 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound baby Yukon Gold potatoes, quartered
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 (16-ounce) head escarole

Caesar Dressing

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 medium garlic clove
  • 2 cloves garlic confit
  • 4 oil-packed anchovies (from 1 [2-ounce] container, drained)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Prepare the Chicken:

  1. Sprinkle chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper. Place on a large rimmed baking sheet. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 4 or up to 8 hours.
  2. Process shio koji, Shabazi, confit garlic, sugar, lemon zest, and 1/2 cup of the oil in a food processor until mixture forms a paste, about 1 minute. Remove chicken from refrigerator. Place chicken in a large ziplock bag; add koji marinade, and seal bag. Massage marinade into chicken. Refrigerate at least 24 hours or up to 48 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F with 1 rack in center position and 1 rack in bottom position. Remove chicken from marinade, and place on rack in a roasting pan; discard marinade. Roast on center oven rack in preheated oven until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of chicken registers 165°F, about 1 hour.
  4. During final 30 minutes chicken cook time, toss together potatoes, thyme, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a separate roasting pan. Place on bottom oven rack in oven, and roast until potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 minutes, stirring once halfway through cook time. Remove from oven; set aside until ready to use.
  5. Remove chicken from oven; let rest, uncovered, 10 minutes. Carve into 8 pieces (2 breast halves, 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, and 2 wings).
  6. While chicken rests, cut escarole head in half lengthwise, and chop into large chunks. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Working in 2 batches, add escarole, and cook, stirring constantly, until it just begins to wilt, about 1 minute. The escarole should still have some crunch. Remove from heat; set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the Caesar Dressing:

  1. Process egg yolk, lemon juice, Parmesan, water, mustard, garlic clove, confit garlic, and anchovies in a food processor until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. With processor running, slowly stream in oil to form an emulsified sauce (it should look like a thin mayonnaise), about 1 minute.
  2. Toss together potatoes, escarole, and 1/3 cup Caesar Dressing in a large bowl until evenly coated. Transfer mixture to a platter, and place chicken on top. Store Caesar Dressing, covered, in refrigerator up to 3 days.

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