Juicy breast meat and crispy brown skin – those are the hallmarks of the perfect roast chicken. And Keller, who loves roast chicken so much he once placed it on a hypothetical menu for his own last meal – along with a half-kilo of osetra caviar ($1,600) and a homemade quesadilla (50 cents) – delivers both in the single easiest roast chicken recipe ever, the one he makes at home.
"People love roast chicken; it makes them feel comfortable," Keller tells me, setting a raw chicken on his cutting board. And then he shows me the critical techniques: getting the entire bird bone-dry before you cook, trussing it up tight, and positively coating it with salt.
The Complete Recipe: Roast Chicken
• 2-1/2- to 3-lb chicken
• Kosher salt
• 1 tbsp chopped thyme
Use paper towels to dry the chicken inside and out. This helps the skin to crisp.
Preheat oven to 450 and truss the chicken. Leave the bird out for at least 30 minutes before cooking. A room-temperature chicken will cook more evenly throughout.
Salt generously, then place chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan. Set in the oven and leave alone – don't baste it, don't add butter. Roast for 50 to 60 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped thyme into the pan juices. Baste with the juices; let rest 15 minutes.
Remove twine, legs and thighs. Cut the breast down the middle and serve each half on the bone, wings attached.