Serves 4 as a main meal
Prep time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 45 minutes
1 whole chicken (about 1.5kg)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chopped thyme
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped oregano
2 bulbs garlic, separated into cloves (unpeeled)
300ml dry white wine
75g sun-blushed tomatoes
75g black pitted olives
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper
For the salsa verde
1 bunch flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch basil, finely chopped
1 tbsp capers
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
8-10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp mustard
Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Rub the chicken all over with the olive oil, then season inside and out with salt and pepper and place in an oven tray. Rub the chopped herbs over the chicken skin and scatter the garlic cloves in the baking tray. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Turn the heat down to 180°C. Gently pour half the wine over the chicken, being careful not to disturb the herb crust. Place back into the oven and roast for a further 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C. Pour the remaining wine over the chicken and roast for a further hour, or until cooked through. To check the bird is fully cooked, insert a knife into the inner thigh and make sure the flesh is cooked right through to the bone (the juices should run clear). Alternatively, use a meat thermometer. The inner thigh temperature should register 70°C.
While the chicken rests, make the salsa verde. Mix together the parsley, basil, anchovies and capers. Then add the olive oil until desired consistency is reached. Add the lemon juice, mustard and salt and pepper, tasting as you go. Adjust seasoning to taste. Alternatively, this sauce can be made by whizzing everything in a food processor, although the hand-chopped rustic version is preferred by some!
Finally, construct the salad. Tip the roasting juices out of the chicken and pour into a bowl. Peel the roasted garlic cloves and add to the bowl along with the tomatoes, olives and sherry vinegar. Add the watercress and mix well, then divide salad between four plates.
Carve the chicken and serve with the salsa verde on the side.