Zuni Café Bread Salad with Currants, Pine Nuts, Scallions & Roasted Chicken

June  1, 2016
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This recipe comes from Zuni Café via Smitten Kitchen. For the roasted chicken, we like to use Barbara Kafka's Simplest Roast Chicken. Time your chicken so that it comes out of the oven while the bread is still warm. —Kenzi Wilbur

What You'll Need
  • 8 ounces slightly stale open-crumbed, chewy, peasant-style bread (not sourdough)
  • 6 tablespoons to 8 tablespoons mild-tasting olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, slivered
  • 1/4 cup slivered scallions (about 4 scallions), including a little of the green part
  • 1 tablespoon dried currants plumped in 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon warm water for 10 minutes or so
  • 2 tablespoons lightly salted chicken stock or lightly salted water
  • 1 roasted chicken (we like Barbara Kafka's:
  • 3 handfuls A few handfuls of arugula, frisée, or red mustard greens, carefully washed and dried
  1. Preheat the broiler. Carve off all of the bottom and most of the top and side crusts from your bread (you can reserve these to use as croutons for soup or another salad). Tear bread into irregular 2- to 3-inch chunks—you should get about 4 cups.
  2. Toss them with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, lightly coating them, and broil very briefly, just to lightly color the edges. If you’d like to toast the pine nuts (recommended) you can put them on your broiler tray as well, but watch them very carefully because they cook quickly!
  3. Combine about 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the Champagne or white wine vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Toss about 1/4 cup of this tart vinaigrette with the torn toasted bread in a wide salad bowl; the bread will be unevenly dressed. Taste one of the more saturated pieces. If it is bland, add a little salt and pepper and toss again.
  4. Heat a spoonful of the olive oil in a small skillet, add the garlic and scallions, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until softened. Don’t let them color. Scrape into the bread and fold to combine. Drain the plumped currants and fold them in, along with the pine nuts, if they were not already mixed with the bread scraps from the broiling step. Dribble the chicken stock or lightly salted water over the salad and fold again.
  5. Taste a few pieces of bread—a fairly saturated one and a dryish one. If it is bland, add salt, pepper, and/or a few drops of vinegar, then toss well. When the chicken comes out of the oven, drizzle the bread with a spoonful or two more of chicken pan juices and toss. Add the greens, a drizzle of vinaigrette, and fold well. Taste again.
  6. Pile the bread salad on the serving dish. Carve the roast chicken and plunk the pieces on top of the salad, using more pan juices to moisten the bread as needed.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • timmytwinkle
  • Austin Burges
    Austin Burges
  • Nancy

3 Reviews

timmytwinkle October 15, 2020
This is my favorite dish from Zuni Cafe and its because of the bread salad (not the chicken)! Thanks for posting the shortcut version - turned out perfect.
Nancy March 4, 2019
I've drooled over Zuni Cafe's bread salad recipe for years but was always overwhelmed by Judy Rogers' recipe. True, it's very detailed and complete, and gives great secrets to making this a full-on success, but the recipe is difficult to read and seemed unnecessarily daunting. Leave it to Kenzi Wilbur to re-write the recipe so that it was (almost) a breeze to understand and make. I went with B. Kafka's roast chicken which has the added benefit of not having to start 24 hours in advance and it came out beautifully. I can't wait for tonight's leftovers!
Austin B. January 5, 2019
The Zuni Cafe Bird is the best roast chicken ever made, not sure why you'd feature its partner but not include it as well.