Salt-Roasted Chicken with Cilantro
Roasting chickens packed in salt yields moist, delectably savory meat. The skin on this chicken gets very salty, so remove it before serving.
- 4 1/2 cups coarse salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime zest, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 large bunch cilantro
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
Preheat oven to 500 degrees, or set up grill for indirect cooking. (If using a gas grill, preheat to high; if using charcoal, preheat to high and have extra briquettes on hand to keep grill hot 1 hour.)
Mix together salt and lime zest. Puree lime juice, cilantro (leaves and stems), and oil in a food processor until a paste forms (you should have about 1/4 cup).
Spread a 1/2-inch layer of salt mixture in the bottom of a roasting pan, and pack down. Rub cilantro paste under and over chicken skin. Tie legs closed with kitchen twine, and tuck wings under. Place on top of salt, breast side up. Cover chicken with remaining salt mixture, packing down to encase.
Roast in oven or on grill, covered, until thickest part of the thigh reaches 160 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes. Let rest 15 minutes. Crack open salt crust, and use a pastry brush to remove excess. Lift chicken from pan, and carve.