Crisp-Skinned Chicken with Fragrant Salt

, from Issue #24. September, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Crisp-Skinned Chicken with Fragrant Salt

The most deliciously flavourful chicken recipe out there!


Serves: 6


3 poussins or 1 free-range chicken
3 tablespoons butter, soft but not melted
2 cloves garlic, crushed
olive oil

Fragrant Salt
2 teaspoons cumin seed
4 teaspoons caraway seed
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon dried tarragon
2 tablespoons sea salt


Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Using kitchen scissors cut either side of the backbone and discard. Snip the wishbone and push the poussin or chicken against the bench to lie flat.

Salt: Roast the cumin then the caraway seeds in a dry sauté pan until fragrant and starting to colour. Tip into a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Add the cardamom, tarragon and sea salt and pound together until finely ground.

Combine half the salt mixture with the butter and garlic, reserving the remaining salt for sprinkling over the poussin.

Using your fingers, gently ease the skin away from the flesh of the breast and thighs. Spread a third of the butter over the flesh of each poussin and smooth the skin back over the top.

Place on a lined baking tray and brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining fragrant salt. Roast, skin side up, for 40 minutes if cooking poussin or 1 hour 10 minutes if cooking a whole chicken, or until the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted in the thigh. Cover loosely and rest for 10 minutes.

To serve: Carve the birds into serving portions and arrange on a serving platter. Garnish with limes if desired.