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Rachael's Sun-Dried Tomato Roast Chicken and Eggplant Statement Salad

Rachael's Sun-Dried Tomato Roast Chicken and Eggplant Statement Salad


For the chicken:

  • 1 3- to 4-pound chicken, spatchcocked (backbone removed)

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomato paste

  • About 2 tablespoons boiling water

  • 2 rounded tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion

  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1/4 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • About 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

For the salad:

  • 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not the ones packed in oil)

  • Boiling water, to cover

  • 1 large or 2 medium-size firm, heavy eggplants

  • Salt

  • 2 lemons, halved, divided

  • 1/2 cup EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic or balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste

  • 1 small shallot, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated

  • Pepper

  • 8 to 10 cups stemmed kale and/or Romaine lettuce, chopped

  • 1 cup packed parsley tops and mint leaves combined

  • A few stems oregano, leaves stripped

  • A handful basil leaves

  • 1 small red onion, sliced

  • 1 cup fresh ricotta, for serving


Salt the chicken on both sides and leave it uncovered on the bottom shelf of the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Arrange the chicken on a rack- or parchment-lined baking sheet.

Place the sun-dried tomato paste in a bowl and whisk in the boiling water, mustard, granulated onion and garlic, oregano and EVOO. Stir in cheese. Slather mixture evenly over the chicken, transfer baking sheet to oven and roast until a thermometer stuck in the thickest part of the meat reads 165°F, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

While the chicken is cooking, place the sun-dried tomatoes for the salad in a small bowl and cover them with boiling water.

Remove some of the eggplants’ skin in strips from top and bottom leaving stripes around the outsides. Cut the eggplants into steaks about 1/2-inch thick. Slice each eggplant steak lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and then into 2- to 3-inch sticks/batons.

Arrange the eggplant on a kitchen towel and salt it. Leave to drain for 20 minutes then pat dry.

Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Place halved lemons cut-side down to char then remove from pan and add 3 tablespoons EVOO. Add eggplant and brown evenly, 7-8 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven when the chicken comes out and roast eggplant about 5 minutes more. Douse with the juice of 1 of the charred lemons.

Drain softened sun-dried tomatoes and cut them into thin strips.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk up juice of remaining charred lemon, vinegar, honey, Dijon, sun-dried tomato paste, shallot, garlic and 5 tablespoons remaining EVOO. Season with salt and pepper.

Combine kale or Romaine with parsley and mint, oregano leaves and basil. Toss salad in the bowl with the dressing to coat.

Carve the chicken and slice the breast meat.

Arrange salad on a large platter or large cutting board and top with eggplant, then the sliced sun-dried tomatoes, the red onion slices and then the sliced chicken breast meat.

Serve with dark meat on the side of the platter or cutting board with ricotta to pass at the table.