Guest Chef – Josh Thomsen

Guest Chef – Josh Thomsen

While some young boys dream of becoming astronauts or baseball players, Josh Thomsen’s 6th grade yearbook listed “Chef” as his career of choice. Thomsen, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, honed his skills at some of the most exciting restaurants in country (Pinot Bistro & Patina, Little Nell Hotel, The French Laundry, Michael Mina’s Nobhill Tavern, Tao Asian Bistro, and The Lodge at Pebble Beach). When he returned to the Bay Area to be the Executive Chef at the historic Claremont Resort & Spa in Berkeley, our mutual friend, Chef Daniel Bruce (Boston Harbor Hotel) brought him up to Tres Sabores and introduced us. He’s been a generous, wonderful friend since that day.

We’ve been so fortunate to do winemaker dinners across the country with this creative Bay Area Rising Star Chef, bonding over Farm to Table cuisine here at the ranch for Outstanding In the Field as well as at Agricola in Princeton (A 2014 Gayot Top Ten Best New Restaurant). We did several “feasts” at Eau Palm Beach.

I called Josh, now the executive chef of two restaurants for the Rick Erwin Dining Group – Saltwater Kitchen and Eastside both in Greenville, South Carolina, when I needed a really great, yet down-home recipe for our Covid 19 “Cooking- In- Place” series on Instagram).

Thank you, Josh, this special selection from your treasure ‘stove’ is so true to your very special brand of absolutely delicious, (and deceptively) simple yet sophisticated cuisine that’s never less than a perfect companion to our wines.

Follow Josh on his blog

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Chicken and Salsa Verde

This roast chicken recipe may seem a little involved because you are cooking a whole chicken, but once you get the hang of it, it’s dead easy. Cooking a whole chicken takes practice. The first time my Dad made this roast chicken dish there was a bit of howling from the kitchen as he tried to attempted to truss the chicken without the drumsticks slipping out of the string. But the results are just so darn good, he kept at it and its been in my repertoire. (Thank you Dad) First, I make a brine for the chicken for the simple reason that the chicken will stay moist under the high heat of roasting. Yes- it adds to the recipe, but your home with nothing to do but become a better home chef!

Ingredients

Brine

  • 4-5 lb chicken
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • 6 bay leaves
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 8 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 3 ¾ liter (or 1 gallon) water

Chicken

  • 1 4- to 5-pound chicken
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lemon halved
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary

Salsa Verde – (Classic Italian Version)

  • makes about 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 each anchovy fillets finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp shallots minced
  • 1 each garlic clove peeled & finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest grated & finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oregano leaves finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

Brine

  • combine and bring to boil and chill,
  • remove the neck and innards from the chicken, then sit in the brine covered overnight for 10 hours or feel free to cut up the chicken into 10 pieces for 4 hours.
  • Once the chicken is out of the brine pat dry with paper towel. Extra-dry skin = extra-crispy skin. The chicken needs to be at room temperature before it goes in the oven, or the chicken will not cook evenly. DON’T skip the step of tying the chicken legs together. It keeps them closer to the body of the chicken and guarantees more even cooking. If you don’t have kitchen twine, use unflavored (I repeat, unflavored!) dental floss.

Ready to roast a chicken like a pro? Preheat your oven, grab the garlic and baste on with your bad self

  • Preheat the oven to 475ºF with rack in center. Place the chicken in a roasting pan or cast iron skillet. Melt the butter with the garlic in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Brush the melted garlic butter all over the chicken. Season the chicken liberally all over (including inside the cavity) with salt and pepper. Place the two lemon halves and the sprigs of rosemary inside the cavity.
  • Tie the legs together with kitchen twine. (Keep it simple with a loop around each leg and knotted in the center.)
  • Roast the chicken for 1 hour basting it every 15 minutes by using a spoon and tilting the pan to collect the juices then spooning them atop the chicken, (this also keeps the garlic from burning) cook until and internal temp is 165ºF and the juices run clear (When testing the temp with a meat thermometer, insert it into the breast but do not touch the bone for an accurate reading.) Rotate the pan after every time you baste the chicken to guarantee even cooking.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer it to a cutting board. Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Salsa Verde

  • Combine anchovy, shallots and garlic in a bowl to make a paste. Add in lemon zest, chopped herbs, and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Let the salsa sit for 30 minutes or so for the flavors to develop, then taste again for seasoning. Add the lemon juice just before serving time; if you add it in advance it will discolor the pretty green color.
  • **If you are tempted to make this in your food process or blender, don’t. The beauty of this sauce is the texture, chop finely with a knife and you’ll be fine.

Notes

makes about 1 1/2 cup

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