Recipe by Brian Malarkey, Oceanaire Restaurant. I became a chef after a lot of trial and error with other professions. The culinary major came after the business, history, theater, and liberal arts majors. When I discovered how much art and fun were involved in cooking, I realized it was what I wanted. When I was a finalist on Bravo’s Top Chef 3 Miami that was high intensity. It made me not like cooking too much for a while. It made food complicated and it took me a little bit to get my juices back.
I’m a pretty basic guy. Smoothies in the morning. Brie cheese, lots of salads. A little bit of arugula with anything makes it better. I don’t ever do a complete dish. I’m a cheese-and-cracker guy. Avocados, tomatoes, cheese, salt and pepper. Simple foods aren’t good unless they are simply fresh. You need great fish directly from the ocean and fresh foods from the farms. Both my mother and father did a lot of cooking growing up. We had a ranch and sat around the dinner table. We spent summers at the coast and clammed and ate oysters and blackberries. Now, my wife does most of the cooking and eating in the house — that’s the life of the house.
I can clutter up a dish pretty hard, but eating at home, it’s all about eating fresh. My favorite meal is a roast chicken with roasted artichokes and a bottle of good wine.
(serves 4 guests)
1 organic, free-range bird (about 3 pounds)
1 whole lemon
2 T fresh chopped thyme
1 T olive oil
1 ft butcher twine
cracked black pepper
1 to 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, small and somewhat uniform in size
6 cippolini onions, peeled
1 bunch baby carrots, peeled
1 garlic bulb, peeled and cloves separated
1/2 pound portobello or shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 T Italian parsley leaves
1/2 stick butter, chopped into pieces
1/2 C bacon, diced
How to do it
Preheat the oven to 400˚. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Stuff the bird with the lemon; rub it with 1 T (about half) thyme, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Cut the twine into 2-by-6-inch strips, tie the legs together at the chicken ankles and tie the wings together to keep the bird tight and juicy. In a 2-inch-deep baking dish that is large enough to hold the bird and some extras, add the bird breast up.
Roast the bird for 15 minutes and then add the potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic. Turn the oven down to 350˚. Roast for 15 minutes more.
Stir the vegetables and add the remaining thyme, mushrooms, parsley, butter, and bacon. Season liberally with salt and pepper. The chicken should be done within 10 minutes (when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165˚ and the skin is golden and crispy). Mix the vegetables and baste the bird with the pan juices. Take the bird out of the oven and let it rest for about 20 minutes. Gather your friends, get some vino, and have a great evening. Cheers.