In the light of full disclosure, my JW chicken is neither one recipe, nor one dish. I have achieved a certain acclaim for it, but truth be told, the variations are many. The chicken that propelled the whole myth started at Jams in New York City. I was under the influence of my good friend Larry Forgione, one of the masterminds of the American culinary revolution. His desire to seek out small farmers has blossomed into a movement. Among the people he has cultivated was a biologist turned chicken farmer named Paul Kayser. Paul’s passion for raising a bird equal to the noble poularde de Bresse in France was infectious. And his chickens were fantastic.
A major component of my success is the esoteric wood oven we use at Barbuto. I designed it with a pizza oven on top and a massive grill below. It’s very versatile; we cook anything from fish to desserts in it, and the oven is the perfect place to roast the JW chicken. We use a Pennsylvania natural chicken, butterfly it (that is, we remove the backbone with kitchen shears), then spread it with olive oil and roast at a high temperature. These steps are easy to duplicate at home. The only extra piece of equipment you might want is an oval sizzle platter. You can order these at any good kitchen-supply house. They are standard restaurant equipment and enable you to fire-blast the chicken, giving it a crispy skin and succulent, perfectly moist meat.
The last bit of good news is the salsa verde,which is incredible. We serve it on scallops, lamb, pizza, and with vegetables. It is addictive!