A salt crust doesn’t just provide a dramatic reveal. It ensures a perfectly cooked chicken, seasoning the bird with mustard, herbs, and salt while it steams in its own juices. Crack through the heavily salted dough tableside to grace your dining companions with a mustardy, herbaceous chicken aroma that feels at once wholesome and regal. This is a chicken fit for a celebration, or even a Tuesday.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the wet mix to the dry and use your hands to knead the dough until it resembles cookie dough, with no dry streaks remaining. Form the dough into a ball, place it back in the bowl, and cover it with a kitchen towel to rest.
- Combine the herbs, olive oil, and Dijon mustard in a bowl large enough to hold the chicken and stir to combine. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and tie its legs together with butcher’s twine. Add the chicken to the bowl, spreading the marinade over the skin and inside the cavity.
- On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a roughly 20-by-15-inch rectangle, using additional flour as needed to keep it from sticking. The sheet should be about ¼ inch thick.
- Center the chicken on the rolled-out dough, breast side down. Gently wrap the dough around the chicken, working carefully to avoid tearing. Excess dough from overlapping sections can be used to patch any tears or areas that didn’t quite line up on the bottom.
- Once wrapped, flip the chicken so it is breast side up (the dough’s seam will now be on the bottom) and transfer it to a rimmed baking dish. (It will leak juices as it cooks, so something sturdy like a Dutch oven or a cast-iron skillet with a higher edge works best.)
- Roast the chicken at 375ºF for approximately 2 hours, until a thermometer reads 155ºF. Check the temperature after 1.5 hours by plunging the thermometer through the crust, aiming to check the thickest part of the leg.
- Let the chicken rest for at least 30 minutes out of the oven before breaking the crust so the juices can redistribute. With a knife, carefully cut the chicken out of the crust, working to avoid cutting the meat. Once free, transfer the chicken to a cutting board, carve, and serve.
Matt Trueherz is a writer and recipe developer based in Portland, OR. He draws from a decade of cooking in award-winning restaurants to interpret their philosophies for the home cook.