Chef Name: Ryan Hardy
Restaurant Name: Charlie Bird
Location: New York, NY
Restaurant Website: www.charliebirdnyc.com
"Fossil Farms provides us with consistent, quality farm-raised meats. Having previously owned a farm, I know how hard it is to coordinate the growth, handling and sales to consumers like restaurants. Fossil never fails to deliver the quality I expect as a farmer or as a chef."
– Ryan Hardy / Chef/Partner / Charlie Bird
Chef Ryan Hardy Bio
In May 2011, Ryan Hardy stood for the fourth time as a finalist for the James Beard Award: Best Chef Southwest. Though the award eluded him, his next step did not as Hardy resigned his six-year post at The Little Nell Hotel in Aspen, Colorado in search of his own venture in New York City. In June 2013, Hardy put his creative entrepreneurship to work and opened his first restaurant – Charlie Bird – a Manhattan eatery with an Italian-inspired menu showcasing Hardy’s distinctive culinary style and his passion for quality ingredients and service.
Hardy’s experience in the kitchen began in 1999 at the famed Rubicon Restaurant, owned and operated by Drew Nieporent, Robert DeNiro and the Myriad Restaurant Group in San Francisco. In 2001, after just three years of professional cooking, a 25-year-old Hardy took the reins of his first restaurant in Aspen, Colorado and nine months later notched Rustique Bistro among Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurants. Hardy left to assume the head chef role at Santa Fe’s 4-star Coyote Café, working for James Beard Award Winner Mark Miller.
In 2003, Hardy would return to the Myriad Group at the Coach House Restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard where he was a James Beard Rising Star Nominee in 2004 and was named Best New Chef New England in 2005 by Yankee Magazine. It was here that Hardy began the island’s local food movement, founding New England’s second Slow Food Chapter in 2004 promoting the island’s farmers and fisherman. His efforts did not go unnoticed being named alongside Alice Waters and Roxanne Klein as one of the most sustainable chefs in America in 2005.
A new challenge took Hardy back to Aspen in 2005, to The Little Nell Hotel. Furthering his sustainability record, Hardy founded the 34-acre Rendezvous Organic Farm, spawning a new market for locally grown pork, lamb, goat, chicken, cheese, charcuterie and heirloom Italian produce not previously available in the United States. Armed with these ingredients and intel gained from annual trips to Rome to learn the art of pasta, Hardy developed the style in the kitchen that he exhibits today.
His efforts have seen feature stories and appearances in Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, The Martha Stewart Show, Cooking Light, Wine Spectator, Saveur, GQ, The New York Times and NBC’s Today Show.
Crispy Fossil Farms White Rock Chicken, Tuscan-Style Bread, Fennel and Escarole Salad by Ryan Hardy
There are many schools of thought on roasting the perfect bird, but in the end, they all point to the same thing: moist, tender meat, crispy skin and great sides. My version of the classic uses a brick to maximize flavor to get the absolute crispiest skin possible and it cuts the cooking time in half! A brick can be purchased at a local hardware store. The bread salad is a testament that we waste nothing, not even old bread. All that is required to make this delicious side is a bit of time, great vinegar, and super olive oil. For cooking in the springtime, I love to use Spanish oils that contain Arbequina olives because their grassy and light aromas go perfectly with spring items.
Ingredients for the Chicken (serves 2)
1, 2 1⁄2 - 3 lb. Fossil Farms chicken
1⁄2 Tbsp. fine sea salt
1 1⁄2 tsp. Black pepper, freshly grated
2 Tbsp. Grapeseed oil
3 Tbsp. Butter, cold
4 ea. Thyme sprigs
1 ea. Rosemary sprig
3 cloves Garlic, unpeeled
1 Brick wrapped in tinfoil
Ingredients for the Bread and Escarole Salad (serves 2)
6-8 oz. Crusty Italian bread, such as Ciabatta, torn into bite size chunks, about 3 cups
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil; I love grassy, fruity oils
2 Tbsp. Grapeseed oil
4 ea. Chicken livers, fresh, rinsed
2 ea. Chicken wings from butchering the chicken
1⁄2 head Fennel. Remove top, cut bulb into 1⁄2 inch-thick wedges
1 cup Spring onions. Use the white and light green parts only, cut into 2 inch pieces
12 ea. Sage leaves
3 ea. Anchovy fillets, highest quality, torn in half. I love the Ortiz brand
1⁄2 Tbsp. Capers, rinsed
1⁄2 bunch Escarole, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces
2-3 Tbsp. Cider Vinegar. I love Bragg’s brand
1⁄2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, freshly shaved with a vegetable peeler
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Butcher the Bird
To halve the chicken, insert your knife into the cavity of the bird and cut through either side of the back bone. Once the chicken is ‘opened’, use your knife to cut the bird directly in half through the breast bone. Locate and remove the thigh bone by cutting on either side of the bone, dislodging it from the hip and joint using your knife. Lastly, remove the wings from the chicken and reserve for the bread salad. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit 3-4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 400° F. Toss the bread with 1⁄4 cup of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper generously and spread on a sheet pan. Place in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool. Warm a sauté pan or cast iron skillet over high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of the grapeseed oil to the pan. Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper, and add carefully to the pan. When the livers are browned on one side, add the chicken wings, fennel, onion and sage to the pan. Season generously with salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the livers from the pan and set aside. Place the pan in the oven and roast the remaining ingredients for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fennel and onions are browned. While the vegetables are roasting, put a large sauté pan on the stove over high heat, and add the remaining tablespoon of grapeseed oil. When the pan is beginning to smoke, add the butchered chicken halves to the pan skin-side down, and put the brick on top of the chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes on top of the stove or until the chicken begins to brown around the edges. Add the butter, thyme, rosemary, and garlic, then put pan into the oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the brick and flip the chicken to rest for 10 minutes.
Assemble All Ingredients
Chop the chicken livers into 3-4 bite sized pieces. Pick the meat off the chicken wings and discard the bones. In a large mixing bowl, toss together the livers, chicken wing meat, bread, roasted vegetables, anchovies, capers, escarole and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and add cider vinegar to taste. Season with salt and pepper. Cut each roast chicken half into 4 pieces. Serve warm alongside the freshly tossed bread salad.
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