"At Ester, it's all about the amazing wood-fired oven and there's nothing better than a simple roast chook," says Lindsay. "The garlic-bread sauce is my take on a classic and it puts to good use any of our day-old house-made sourdough." Start this recipe a day ahead to brine the bird.
- 750 gm rock salt
- 2 spatchcock (500gm each)
- 2 lemons, halved
- 70 gm crustless sourdough bread, cut into 2cm cubes
- 250 gm unsalted butter, coarsely chopped
- 130 gm (about 15) garlic cloves
- 25 gm (¼ cup) skim-milk powder
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock
- 1Stir salt and 1.5 litres water in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve salt, then cool completely. Transfer to a non-reactive container (see cook’s notes, p192), add spatchcock, cover and weight
to submerge. Refrigerate overnight.
- 2Preheat oven to 250C or highest setting. Drain spatchcock, pat dry with absorbent paper, then cut down both sides of the backbone with a large knife or poultry scissors, remove backbone, flatten out and set aside.
- 3Place lemon halves cut-sides down in a heavy roasting pan large enough to hold spatchcock in a single layer (or use 2 smaller roasting pans), place spatchcock on top skin-side up and season to taste. Roast until skin starts to char and spatchcock is cooked through (12-15 minutes, juices should run clear when thigh is pierced with a skewer). Set aside to rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- 4For garlic-bread sauce, spread bread in a roasting pan and bake, stirring occasionally, until browned (4-5 minutes). Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add garlic and cook until starting to soften (6-8 minutes). Add milk powder, cook until just golden brown (1-2 minutes), then add stock and bring to the boil. Add toasted bread and simmer until it breaks down and thickens the liquid (4-5 minutes). Reserve a few garlic cloves, then purée mixture with a hand-held blender until very smooth. Season to taste and keep warm.
- 5To serve, cut spatchcock into pieces. Spoon garlic-bread sauce onto a serving platter, then place spatchcock pieces on top. Scatter with reserved garlic, top with juice squeezed from the cooked lemons, which should be blackened, season to taste with pepper (you won’t need any extra salt because of the brine) and serve hot.
Drink Suggestion: 2009 Cantina Giardino “T’ara’ra” Greco, Campania, Italy. Drink suggestion by Mat Lindsay