We used to do a salsa just like this at Chez Panisse and serve it with everything from grilled rib eye steaks to salmon to roasted pork loin. The success of the dish depends upon the best-quality homemade French or Italian coarse-textured bread crumbs; you simply can’t use store-bought bread crumbs. To toast the crumbs, place them on a baking sheet in a 350°F (175°C) oven, turning occasionally, until done, 10 to 15 minutes.—Joanne Weir
6 Cornish hens, halved (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each)
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 cup toasted coarse bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 scallion, white and green parts, thinly sliced
2 anchovy fillets, soaked in cold water for 2 minutes, patted dry, and chopped
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
2. Arrange the hen halves in a single layer, skin side up, on a baking sheet. Brush the skin with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Roast the hens until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 170°F (76°C), 30 to 35 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the vinegar and remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil together. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, scallion, anchovies, capers, lemon zest, garlic thyme, and rosemary and toss together. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the hens to a platter, top with the toasted bread crumb mixture, and serve immediately.
Recipe © 2004 Joanne Weir. All rights reserved.