1 chicken (about 3 ? pounds(
teaspoon salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon virgin olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons water (optional)
1 bunch watercress, for garnish


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle the chicken inside and out with the salt and pepper. Truss the chicken if you like, although this is not required.
2. Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof nonstick skillet until it is hot but not smoking. Place the chicken on its side in the skillet, and brown it over medium to high heat for about 2 ? minutes. Then turn the chicken over, and brown it on the other side for 2 ? minutes.
3. Place the skillet, with the chicken still on its side, in the 425-degree oven. Roast it, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Then turn the chicken onto its other side, and roast it for another 20 minutes. Finally, turn the chicken onto its back, baste it with the fat that has emerged during the cooking, and roast it, breast side up, for 10 minutes.
4. Remove the chicken from the oven and place it, breast side down, on a platter. Pour the drippings from the skillet into a bowl, and set them aside for a few minutes to allow the fat to rise to the top.
5. To serve, carve the chicken, separating the legs from the thighs and cutting each breast in half. Arrange a piece of dark meat and piece of white meat on each of four plates.
6. Deglaze the skillet by adding the 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and stirring to loosen and melt any solidified juices. Add to the drippings in the bowl. Skim off and discard most of the fat from the reserved drippings, and serve the defatted drippings with the chicken, garnishing each serving with a few springs of watercress.
Jacques Pepin roasts chicken at a high temperature to crystallize the skin and protect the meat from drying out. Serve the chicken no more than 45 minutes after roasting.
Roasted Chicken with Natu
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