You can easily ask a butcher to butterfly the chicken for you, but it isn’t difficult to do at home and can be curiously pleasurable. Just sit the chicken, breast-side down, on a board and press down a little until you hear a gratifying crunch. With a good pair of kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along each side of the backbone. Remove the backbone, then flip the chicken over and press down on the breast, to flatten it a little. The marinade infuses the chicken overnight with a deep and musky saltiness, but not spikily so; intense though miso most definitely is, it works subtly, bringing its caramelly saltiness to the meat.
Vegetable oil – 1 tablespoon
Asian sesame oil – 2 teaspoons
White miso – 4 teaspoons
Soy sauce – 1 tablespoon
Fish sauce – 2 teaspoons
Fresh ginger – 1 tablespoon finely grated
Garlic – 1 fat clove, peeled and minced
Chicken – 1 (approx. 4 pounds), butterflied (see recipe introduction)
Sesame seeds – 2 teaspoons
Mix the vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, miso, soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl.
Put the butterflied chicken into a large resealable plastic bag, pour in the contents of the bowl, and then carefully seal the bag. Turn the bag over a couple of times, squidging it as you do so, to make sure the chicken is covered with the marinade. Place the bag in a dish and sit it in the fridge to marinate overnight.
An hour or so before you want to roast the chicken, take the bag out of the fridge and tip it out, marinade and all, into a shallow roasting pan, sitting the chicken breast-side up. Leave to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the chicken with aluminum foil before putting in the oven for 45 minutes.
Take the chicken out of the oven and remove the foil. Baste with some of the pan juices then drizzle the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil over the chicken and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Put back in the oven, uncovered, for another 20 minutes, by which time the skin should be burnished, the chicken cooked through, and the juices caramelized.
Cut into quarters, or completely joint the chicken if you want it to serve more than 4, and pour the dark golden pan juices over the top.
Excerpted from the book At My Table by Nigella Lawson. Copyright 2018 by Nigella Lawson. Reprinted with permission for Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Jonathan Lovekin.
Each week, The Splendid Table brings you stories that expand your world view, inspire you to try something new and show how food brings us together. We rely on you to do this. And, when you donate, you'll become a member of The Splendid Table Co-op. It's a community of like-minded individuals who love good food, good conversation and kitchen companionship. Splendid Table Co-op members will get exclusive content each month and have special opportunities for connecting with The Splendid Table team.
Donate today for as little as $5.00 a month. Your gift only takes a few minutes and has a lasting impact on The Splendid Table and you'll be welcomed into The Splendid Table Co-op.