Chef Hillary Sterling's epic chicken at Vic's in New York gets its juiciness and deep flavor from brining, air drying, and marinating. The process is simple but does require some planning—start at least a day ahead. She serves the bird on a mix of charred broccoli, onions, and fingerling potatoes, fiery from the chiles and fresh from the basil, with a bright kick of red wine vinegar. Six heads of garlic mellow and sweeten after roasting, adding a caramelized flavor to the dressing and the marinade.
Active: 1 hr 30 mins
Refrigerate: 9 hrs 30 mins
Total: 13 hrs 5 mins
Yield: 4 to 6
4 quarts water
1 ½ cups plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 (4-pound) whole chicken, backbone removed, split through breastbone
6 medium garlic heads
⅓ cup plus 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
⅓ cup Dijon mustard
5 thyme sprigs, divided
1 pound fingerling potatoes, halved lengthwise
1 ½ cups pearl onions or 4 shallots, halved (I used shallots)
1 rosemary sprig
2 medium broccoli heads, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick planks
2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, or more to taste
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup Chile-Basil Vinaigrette, plus more for serving
¼ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
Bring 4 quarts water to a simmer in a large stockpot over medium-high. Remove from heat; whisk in 1 1/2 cups salt and sugar until dissolved. Let cool completely, about 1 hour. Add chicken; cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours or overnight. Remove chicken from brine; discard brine. Place chicken, skin side up, on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet; pat chicken dry. Refrigerate chicken, uncovered, 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim 1/2 inch from top of each head of garlic to expose cloves. Place garlic on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over each head; wrap tightly with foil. Place on a baking sheet; transfer to preheated oven, and roast until cloves are tender and light golden, about 45 minutes.
Squeeze cloves from 5 garlic heads into a food processor; discard skins. Reserve remaining roasted garlic head for chile-basil vinaigrette. Pulse garlic until finely chopped. With processor running, gradually drizzle in 1/3 cup olive oil, processing until smooth, about 1 minute. Add mustard and leaves from 2 thyme sprigs; pulse to combine. Rub garlic mixture all over chicken halves; refrigerate, skin side up, uncovered, at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours or overnight.
About 1 hour before serving, preheat oven to 400°F with racks in the upper and lower third positions. Place a large rimmed baking sheet on top rack while oven preheats. Toss together potatoes, onions, rosemary, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3 thyme sprigs in a large bowl.
Remove chicken from refrigerator; wipe off excess marinade. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium. Add chicken, skin side down; cook until deeply browned on bottom, 6 to 10 minutes. Flip chicken, and transfer skillet to lower rack in preheated oven. Roast until a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of meat registers 155°F, 30 to 40 minutes.
While chicken roasts, add potato mixture to preheated baking sheet, spreading in an even layer. Return to top oven rack; roast 20 minutes. Meanwhile, toss broccoli planks with crushed red pepper, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Remove pan with potatoes from oven; arrange broccoli on top of potato mixture, and return to oven. Roast until broccoli is crisp-tender and potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven; increase oven temperature to high broil. Broil broccoli mixture, watching carefully, until well charred, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer broccoli mixture to a large platter; drizzle with lemon juice. Place chicken on top of vegetables, and smother with chile-basil vinaigrette. Sprinkle with basil; serve with additional vinaigrette.
Chicken can be butchered and brined up to 2 days ahead.
Total: 10 mins
Yield: 1 3/4 cups
5 fresh red Fresno chiles (about 3 ounces), thinly sliced
1 roasted garlic head (reserved from Roast Chicken with Chile-Basil Vinaigrette, Charred Broccoli, and Potatoes recipe), peeled and smashed
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 ½ cups extra-virgin olive oil
Combine chiles, roasted garlic, basil, parsley, lemon zest, chopped garlic, and vinegar in a medium bowl. Add oil; whisk to combine.