Zuni Cookbook; Chicken and Bread salad

I know this link may not work for long,

…and that I should only copy and paste my own post, regarding the Chicken and Bread salad

"Shrinkrap 01/28/16 2:09pm re: ****************

Agreed; While I would say the “fidlliest” part is

“1⁄2 - 3⁄4 lb. day-old chewy country-style bread (not sourdough), cut into large chunks, crust removed”

Put bread on a baking sheet and brush with 3 tbsp. of the oil. Broil until lightly colored on each side, 2-3 minutes per side. Trim off any badly charred tips, then tear bread into 2"-3" wads and put into a large bowl. "

…If you are a more than a bit OCD, that can drive you quite mad. ( I end up thinking…1/2 or 3/4lb? are these “large chunks”? is it lightly colored? Is this badly charred? Should I measure these wads?..I think my chicken is too big! .)

but it really is the timing and the moving parts".

"… Turn bird over and roast for 10-20 minutes more, then flip back over to recrisp breast skin, 5-10 minutes more…Meanwhile, warm pine nuts in oven for 1-2 minutes, then add to bread. Sweat garlic and scallions in 1 tbsp. of the oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat for 5-6 minutes. Add to bread and toss well. Drain currants and add to bread, then add stock or water and toss again. "

End copy and paste

Probably no coincidence I’m making it this week, and feeling the same “kinda way”.

Spent too much time on the bread salad prep today, with visiting big sister in “my” kitchen wanting to tweak the bread salad recipe, and also a zoom meeting right in the middle of dinner prep.

I thought of the "others in my kitchen " thread, and the Seinfeld “Serenity Prayer”.

At 8:30 son is going for “In and Out”, and I’m all in.

Hoping to continue with this recipe tommorow.

Note to self; check out the Roast Chicken Salad with Peppers, Pine Nuts, Olives and Bitter Greens, page 346. if there are leftovers.

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So much work- that’s why I’ve never made it.

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I think it’s worth it. You can do most of it in advance, while the chicken is roasting. It’s one of my favorite dishes.


I love the dish, but only made it once as per the recipe. I also found it fiddly, despite the rewards. Now I do a deconstructed version:

Pan-roast some chicken thighs. Several minutes before they’re done, scooch them over in the pan and throw in some freshly cut bread croutons. Toss them around in the fat and toast them in the oven as the chicken finishes. Leave the croutons in the pan/oven to finish toasting while the thighs rest a few minutes. Make a green salad with dried currants or cranberries. Make a vinaigrette using any leftover chicken fat in the pan. Toss the now schmaltzy-toasty croutons with the salad and vinaigrette, and serve with the thighs.


Unfortunately, this recipe reads much more complicated that it needs be or really is. You just read through it a half dozen times, then do it. Suggested quantities are not biblical writ. A handful more bread, or extra slug of olive oil or chicken jus and it will still be just fine. Judy was just trying to hold our hand throughout the process. Let it go and try to remember the basic concept. Toasted uncrusted bread anointed with good olive oil and chicken drippings/jus/broth. The rest is pretty simple.


I agree that if you make it several times (and not five years between each), and read and re-read the recipe it’s not as complicated as it sounds. But I did enjoy comparing my feelings about it last night to those 10+ years ago.

I also read it the book differently this time; perhaps appreciating the lessons more than the recipe.



Normally I eschew CI’s (dogmatic) recipes, but this one makes a lot of sense. I watched this TV presentation and neglected to snatch the instructions, which too need to be followed rather closely. Thanks for posting it.


If CI means Cooks Illustrated, I’m sure you know the original recipe wasn’t. This was originally from the Zuni Cookbook, and the streamlined take from CI. The streamlined take makes sense?

I must admit I don’t recall what I thought about the CI version when I posted it 2 weeks ago, but I like it today!


I’ve, seen this recipe a million times. The hot oven. The turning of the chicken . The bread salad. Truthfully it depends upon the chicken you prepared , plus the way your oven cooks . It’s a nice recipe. Will I try to make it . Probably not . It’s a nice recipe though.

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No, I realized that the Cook’s process, like most of their features, was a revision of another, in this case Rogers’.


I’ve made the original Zuni recipe many times. And I usually don’t like chicken. It’s hard to find the smaller chickens Rodgers specified. I do think this streamlined process makes sense but I haven’t tried it yet (and with 4 lb chicken). I will keep the pine nuts through, because I love the flavor in addition to the crunch. I streamlined the Rodgers’ instructions after the first time to do more in advance and combine a few steps. I will definitely try this (and remember to cancel my “trial” subscription in 13 days so I don’t get charged!).


Here’s my take on the Zuni Café dish.

Dinner in about 45 minutes. Our pet name for it is Chicken Fat Salad.

Also posted to WFD.



I’d love to here your strategy for things that work in advance. Sister and I ended up doing it over two days, not counting the dry brine. Son offered In and Out and we were all in!

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I followed some of the chicken prep. Herbs under the skin. Roasted hotter than usual for me (390 F tonight- any hotter and the fat splatters leading to smoke and mess) but not as hot as the Zuni recipe . Nice crispy skin and very juicy chicken.

Didn’t do the bread salad part- didn’t have the other ingredients.

Simpler salad.


“smoke and mess” = my cooking. To Architectural Digest, walk on by.