Once you learn out how to spatchcock a chicken, you'll know the secret to getting an irresistible roast bird on the table in just half an hour.
Think a succulent roast chicken has to be reserved for lazy Sundays? Think again. I came up with the fastest, easiest, juiciest roast chicken and it's ready in just 30 minutes. The secret? High heat and a little surgery.
I’m talking about spatchcocking. Don’t get nervous. All "spatchcock" means is to remove the backbone from your bird so it lays flat and—hip-hip-hooray!—cooks a lot faster. Starting the chicken on the stove by browning in a cast-iron skillet gives you a head start and finishing it in a hot oven means the skin gets crispy and the meat stays juicy all in about 30 minutes.
Here’s how to do it:
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Place the chicken breast-side down on a cutting board. Using a pair of heavy-duty kitchen shears, cut down both sides of the backbone to remove it. Toss the backbone in a resealable bag and pop in the freezer. Once you have a few backbones in there, use them to make chicken stock.
But back to the bird in front of you.
Flip the chicken so that the breast side is up and press down with the heel of your hand to flatten. You'll feel it give way under your hand. Rub with 1 tablespoon of oil and season all over with salt (about 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of chicken) and lots of freshly ground pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium-high. Add the chicken to the skillet, breast-side down, and top with a smaller heavy skillet. Cook until the skin is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the smaller skillet and transfer to the oven. Roast 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash some salad greens and set them aside. Grab your vinaigrette from the fridge. Tear some crusty bread into bite-size pieces and place them on a rimmed baking sheet.
After 15 minutes, remove the chicken and skillet from the oven. Carefully (that thing is hot!) flip the chicken skin-side up and return it to the oven. Roast until cooked through (that's 165° on an instant read thermometer). Transfer chicken to a cutting board to rest.
Pour any juices from the skillet over the bread and toss to coat. Place in the oven until toasted, about 5 minutes. Toss the greens and chicken fat croutons (that's right) with your vinaigrette. Carve the chicken and serve over top. Winner, winner.