Is there a greater comfort food than roast chicken? I don’t think it’s possible! Juicy on the inside with crisp, golden brown skin, this deceptively simple roast chicken with roasted garlic, toasted bread and zippy arugula salad is a recipe you’ll keep coming back to!
Don’t let the simplicity fool you — this Roast Chicken with Toasted Bread Salad is exceptionally good!
Roast chicken tends to make a reoccurring appearance at our dinner table — it’s quick, comforting, and leftovers are just as delicious the next day. One of my go-to methods for making it is this juicy and succulent Roast Chicken with Toasted Bread Salad inspired by the world famous dish from Zuni Café in San Francisco.
For me, the best part of this recipe really comes down to the bits of torn bread that soak up the rendered fat and savory pan juices from the chicken. The bread cooks along with the chicken leaving you with perfectly golden-brown croutons to enjoy alongside your chicken and salad. Simplicity at its best!
I have made this several times and it is so good!! My kids love it too. They call it “Zuni Chicken” and it’s one of their favorite dinners. Thank you Leigh!Valerie L.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything you need to make Roast Chicken with Toasted Bread Salad: chicken, a hearty country-style loaf of bread, garlic, lemon, fresh thyme, olive oil, dijon mustard, anchovy (optional) and arugula.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Roast the Chicken
First, carefully dry the chicken by patting it with a paper towel. This helps ensure that the skin gets really nice and crispy as it roasts. Season the chicken generously with olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Place on a baking tray and then scatter the garlic and lemon slices all around. Bake for 30 minutes, then add the torn bread pieces to the pan. Continue roasting until both the chicken and bread are golden-brown.
Step 2. Make the Vinaigrette
To make the dressing, pull 4 large cloves of roasted garlic from the pan with the chicken and place into a blender along with the lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil and anchovy. Blend until smooth–season with salt and pepper. Note: the anchovy can be omitted is needed.
Step 3. Serve
Toss the arugula with the dressing. Pile the salad on top of the roast chicken and toasted bread. Serve immediately!
Pro Tip: Wondering how to know when the chicken is done? Check for doneness with a meat thermometer. The USDA recommends that chicken and poultry be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165 F. Pull the chicken from the oven as soon as it reaches an internal temperature of 160-163 F. As it rests, the chicken will continue to rise in temperature to reach the necessary 165 F without overcooking. If you don’t have a meat thermometer handy you can simply cut into the thicket part one piece of chicken and have a look. If the juices run clear and meat is white and not pink you’re good to go!
Check out More Great Chicken Recipes:
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Roast Chicken with Toasted Bread Salad (Zuni Café Inspired)
- 1 4 lb chicken cut into 6 pieces
- 2 whole lemons sliced into rounds
- ¼ c olive oil
- 2 heads garlic
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 c roughly torn bread crusty bread; baguette or country loaf torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 cups arugula
- salt and pepper
- 4 cloves roasted garlic (from the chicken)
- 3 filets anchovy optional
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- ⅓ c olive oil
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- First, carefully dry the chicken by patting it with a paper towel. This helps ensure that the skin gets really nice and crispy as it roasts. On a large sheet, tray toss the chicken pieces with the olive oil, thyme, lemon slices, salt and pepper. Trim the top ¼ inch off the top of the garlic bulbs and add them to the tray as well.
- Roast the chicken for 30 minutes then remove from the oven and add the torn bread to the baking tray, tossing to coat in the olive oil and chicken drippings. At this time set aside 4-5 cloves of roasted garlic to make the dressing.
- Put the tray back in the oven. Turn the heat down to 350 F. Bake for 10-12 more minutes until the bread is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through.
- To make the dressing, remove the skin from 4 cloves of roasted garlic and place in a blender. Blend the roasted garlic with the oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard and anchovy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the roasted chicken on a large plate or platter. Toss the arugula and toasted bread with the dressing. Top the chicken with the salad, garnish with the roasted lemon slices and garlic. Serve immediately!
- Chicken: As is, the recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into 6 piece, however you can really use any combination of bone-in, skin-on chicken. Chicken thighs, breast, legs and drumsticks will all work.
- Bread: You’ll want to use a crusty country loaf or baguette, torn into bite-sized pieces. Gluten-free bread will also work, ideally a baguette and not sliced sandwich bread.
- Arugula: Watercress is a good substitute for arugula.
- Anchovy: Omit the anchovy if needed or substitute a tsp of Worcestershire sauce.
- Reheat leftover roast chicken and bread in a 350F oven for 15-2o minutes, just until hot.
- Leftover dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.