Food inspiration comes in all sorts of packages and in the case of this chicken board -- it came from the magical world of Instagram and their algorithms. One morning, bright and early thanks to Aldo and his tiny bladder, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and a picture of a pile of chicken, potatoes, and greens on a wooden board flew by and I quickly started back-pedaling (or whatever scrolling backwards is called) to figure out what that amazing photo was all about.
Turns out it was all about a restaurant in Aspen called Meat & Cheese Restaurant Farm Shop that has a variety of different boards topped with all sorts of good stuff: sausage, steak, bread, biscuits, and pate. Needless to say, if I end up in Aspen anytime in the future -- I know where I'm eating dinner.
I did a quick Google search to see if there were any recipes on-line for the chicken and vinaigrette and came up empty handed so I opened my fridge and grabbed my old stand-bys: preserved lemon, harissa, and some fresh herbs. This meal is really about the vinaigrette and presentation, you can make any sort of roasted chicken and vegetables you'd like. Since a major component of the vinaigrette is the chicken/pan juices, I decided to make a flavorful compound butter in order to ensure the vinaigrette is top-notch. But if you prefer a more mild-flavored vinaigrette, you can leave the harissa and preserved lemons out of the picture.
Chicken Board with Roasted Vegetables and Vinaigrette
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon preserved lemon, minced
1 tablespoon harissa
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 whole chicken, 4 - 5 pounds
Vegetables for roasting (I used carrots, potatoes, and onions), tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper
Fresh greens (I used arugula and spring mix) dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium shallot, minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup of champagne or white-wine vinegar
All of the pan drippings (in order to get as much of the good chicken juices as possible, let the chicken rest, on the pan with the vegetables, for 5 - 10 minutes. Cover the chicken/vegetables with aluminum foil to keep it warm while it’s resting)
Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients for the compound butter except chicken, vegetables and fresh greens and mix thoroughly. Spatchcock the chicken (cut out the backbone and then flatten with your hands, pressing in between the breasts). Loosen the chicken skin over the breasts, thighs and legs and rub the compound butter under the skin. Rub any remaining butter on the outside of the bird, place on the parchment lined sheet tray, and place in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 4 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and place the vegetables around the chicken. Place in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours, or until the breasts and thighs reach 165 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine the garlic, shallot, Dijon, and vinegar and set aside.
Take the chicken out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes, covered (see above). Cut the chicken into pieces and place it on a large platter or wooden board with the vegetables and greens. Quickly whisk in the pan juices and drippings into the Dijon/vinegar and serve immediately alongside the chicken, vegetables, and greens.