Think of this dish as the inside-out answer to stuffed poultry. Instead of filling a bird’s cavity with bread, here the bread is toasted like croutons and mixed into a salad with Diced Prunes, fresh fennel, and parsley. Prunes are used in two ways: underneath the chicken skin to give it a deep color as it roasts as well as soaked in a little vinegar to brighten the salad.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
105 g / 3/4 cup Diced Prunes
1 g / 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 garlic clove, minced
30 ml / 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
15 ml / 1 tablespoon water
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 chicken, patted dry
8 g / 2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
12 g / /2 tsp ground black pepper
45 ml / 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
150 g / 5 cups cubed crusty bread
120 g / 1/2 fennel bulb, cored and sliced thinly
10 g / 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
15 ml / 1 tablespoon lemon juice
120 g / 6 cups mixed lettuces, such as romaine, arugula, and frisée
Position a rack in the lower half of the oven and preheat to 400F [200C]. Line a rimmed baking pan with aluminum foil.
Divide prunes in half between 1 small bowl and 1 large bowl. In small bowl, pour enough hot water over the prunes to cover, then let stand until soft, 5 minutes. Drain. With a fork, mix thyme and garlic into the drained prunes. In large bowl, pour vinegar and 15 ml [1 tablespoon] water over the prunes and set aside.
Arrange the onion slices in the center of the lined pan and put the chicken on top of onions. Season chicken cavity and skin with salt and pepper. Loosen the skin on the breast and slide the thyme-prune mix under the skin as best as possible, putting any remaining prune mix in the cavity. Tuck wing tips behind the back to secure them and lightly coat breast and legs with 15 ml [1 tablespoon] oil. Roast chicken, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking process, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh away from the bone registers 165F [75 C], 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
While chicken roasts, toast the bread: Scatter the bread cubes on a rimmed baking sheet and mix with 15 ml [1 tablespoon] oil. Toast until lightly browned on the edges, 10 minutes. Set aside.
Transfer chicken to a carving board and let rest 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer onions and the roasting juices from the chicken into the large bowl with the vinegar-soaked prunes. (Some onions may have charred during the roasting process; discard if desired.) Add the bread, fennel, parsley, lemon juice, and remaining 15 ml [1 tablespoon] oil. Toss until the bread has absorbed the liquid.
Arrange a bed of mixed lettuces on a large platter. Scatter bread salad on top. Carve the chicken and arrange on the salad.