Ryan Scott’s foolproof brick chicken

If you’re cooking for a dinner party and want to impress without spending endless hours at the stove, chef Ryan Scott has a few recipes for you to try. The “Top Chef: Chicago” contestant, who is known for his simple yet tasty New American dishes, offers up a complete meal with his easy brick chicken, panzanella salad and sparkling sangria.

Brick chicken
Servings:

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 small organic chicken, no more than 3.5 pounds
    • 1/4 cup corn oil
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • Large strips of zest from 1 lemon
    • 1 head of garlic cut in half and crushed
    • Half bunch of basil, bruised
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 1 tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • Salt and pepper
    • 2 tbsp Dijon basil vinaigrette (see vinaigrette recipe below)

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Preheat oven to 425° and wrap 2 bricks with aluminum foil. Remove the backbone and split the chicken in half (or even better, have your butcher at your favorite grocery store do it for you). Mix together 1/2 cup olive oil, large strips of lemon zest, honey, garlic and bruised basil. Toss all ingredients into a large zip-lock bag and marinate the chicken in the mixture for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Put 1/4 cup corn oil into the hot skillet and give it at least one minute to heat up. Remove the chicken from the marinade, making sure that no pieces from the marinade (like garlic or zest) are stuck to the chicken. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper. Place the chicken halves in the skillet, skin side down. Take 2 bricks wrapped in aluminum foil and set them on top of the chicken. The bricks will flatten the chicken, which will give you a crispy skin. Cook on the stovetop for 8-10 minutes. Check the chicken every few minutes to make sure that you are not burning the meat, and then transfer the weighted skillet to a preheated 425 degrees oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the bricks and use a spatula to loosen the chicken from the pan, and try not to rip the beautiful crispy skin. Place the chicken back in your pan and lightly brush the cavity and legs of chicken with about 2 tablespoons of Dijon basil vinaigrette and roast in the oven for 3-5 more minutes.

Dijon basil vinaigrette (DBV)

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
    • 3 tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
    • 1 tbsp sherry vinegar
    • 1 tbsp cold water
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 cup corn oil
    • 3 tbsp minced basil

Preparation

Baking Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk lemon juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, water and salt. Gradually mix in oils until you have obtained a creamy vinaigrette. Lastly, fold in the minced basil.

Serving Directions:

If you want this vinaigrette to last longer, portion as much as needed, then add basil.

Summer panzanella salad with cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, feta and Dijon basil vinaigrette
Servings:

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients

    • 1 cup of halved cherry tomatoes
    • 1/2 cup cooked chick peas, drained
    • 1 cup cooked sweet yellow corn
    • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
    • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
    • 1 cup warm panzanella croutons
    • 1 cup wild arugula (or spinach)
    • 1/4 cup DBV, or dress to your liking
    • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Baking Directions:

In a medium-large bowl, add tomatoes, chick peas, corn, onions, feta and toss with dressing. Let sit for 5 minutes so flavors can marry. Then add warm croutons and arugula and season with salt and pepper. This is where you will adjust the dressing to your preference (I always base it off the flavor and moisture of the croutons).

Panzanella croutons

Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 cups day-old bread (1/2-inch cubes)
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1/2 tsp salt

Preparation

Baking Directions:

Dice bread into half-inch cubes, toss with all ingredients and bake. Stir once or twice until the croutons are crisp and lightly colored, about 15 minutes. Serve hot and add to salad.

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