Roasted Young Chicken with Radishes and Salsa Verde
3 Tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspooon aniseeds
1 teaspoon dried chile flakes
6 (1 pound) young chickens (or 12 8 oz. quail), patted dry
1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt-packed capers, soaked
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, toasted
1/2 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 bunch red radishes, trimmed.
In a spice grinder or in a mortar with a pestle, grind together the oregano, aniseeds, and 1/2 teaspoon of the chile flakes to a powder. season the chickens' skin and cavities with about 2 tablespoons salt, followed by the spice rub. Cover and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Bring the chickens to room temperature.
Meanwhile, make the salsa verde. In a food processor or mortar, combine the parsley, capers, bread crumbs, garlic and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes. Pulse a few times, or crush with a pestle, until coarsely blended. With the processor running, or while you continue to crush the mixture with a pestle, drizzle in the olive oil. Stir in the lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice and salt if needed.
Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, carefully slice the radishes into thin slices. Toss the radishes with a pinch of salt and a couple of tablespoons of the salsa verde.
Roast the chickens on 2 rimmed baking sheets, rotating the pans front to back about halfway through cooking, for about 20 minutes, or until the birds are golden brown and the juices run clear when a thigh is pierced with a fork.
Serve the chickens on a warmed platter and spoon the radishes around the sides. Drizzle some of the salsa verde over the top of the birds. Pass the remaining sauce at the table.