INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
5 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of thyme
1/2 c kosher salt
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1/2 c honey
1 gallon of water
3 lbs of ice
1 6 to 7-lb whole chicken
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
1 Tbsp chili flakes
1/4 c olive oil
3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley (chopped)
10 oz of arugula
1/4 lb bocconcini (each cut in half)
First, brine the whole chicken. This may be done overnight or at least for five hours. To make the brine, first add the gallon of water to a large stock pot, then add the bay leaves, thyme, four cloves of garlic, three lemons cut in half, peppercorns, and kosher salt. Bring this to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes. After it has simmered for 30 minutes, dump in the ice to drop the temperature of the liquid. Submerge the chicken in the brine and wait.
When you are ready to cook the bird, bring 1/3 cup of water to a simmer. Stir in the honey to make a glaze to rub on the bird. Preset an oven to 250 degrees. While the oven heats, remove the bird from the brine and dry it with a towel.
When the bird is dry, rub it with the honey glaze all over the skin. Place the bird on a sheet tray, preferably fitted with a wire rack, and cook the bird at 250 for six hours. Be sure to check it periodically and use the drippings to baste the bird once every 30 minutes.
While the bird cooks, you can assemble the dressing by zesting and juicing the last lemon, mincing the garlic cove, and chopping the parsley. Incorporate those ingredients with the olive oil and chili flakes. Season to your liking with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, then marinate the bocconcini with the dressing.
When the bird is finished, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Pull the tender meat from the bird.
Assemble the dish by simply mixing the arugula, tomatoes, and bocconcini together with some of the dressing. Add the warm chicken at the end so that it doesn’t wilt the arugula, and enjoy.