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Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken

Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Whole Chicken

One of the first classes on my culinary school schedule was devoted solely to the art of preparing poultry.   I drove to class that day over the moon excited about tackling the preparation of poultry.

Finally, I was going to learn how to prepare a roasted chicken without mangling it with kitchen twine and drying it out to a tasteless plate of bones.

Sadly… my excitement faded shortly after class began.

Not only was half the chicken skin missing on the chicken legs, due to my wrangling the chicken with kitchen twine, my lovely chicken was terribly over cooked and nearly a platter of chicken bones.  (The Thanksgiving dinner scene in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation came to mind)

After all my classmates roasted chickens had been presented, it was my turn to step up and talk about my very dark and dismal looking roasted chicken.  Something I did NOT want to do.

My chef instructor was quite the perfectionist.  A somewhat gruff and bigger than life demeanor – he was a wee bit intimidating.  He appeared absolutely frustrated by my inability to roast a chicken to perfection and decided to make an example of my over cooked chicken.

“Bennett” he said, in his thick German accent. “Zee. cheeken. iz dead! No need to keel it again.” Yes, I’ve spelled and punctuated the words just the way I remember him saying this in the class.  Although I could feel my face turning several shades of bright red, I knew then what he was trying to tell me.  Stop over cooking the chicken!

Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken Before and After

The key to making a perfect roasted chicken?  Don’t take it out of the oven until it’s reached an internal temperature of 165F.  And, be sure to purchase a local, hopefully pasture raised, chicken.  Chicken that has traveled across the country to rest in your local market’s refrigerated poultry bin is probably not going to yield a tasty or moist result. Finding a local farmer that sells fresh chicken to your local co-op or market or even to the public, is definitely the tastier and moister choice.   And, you will be helping your local farmer stay in business, which supports the local community.

If you live in Western Washington, check out the online marketplace for local produce, poultry, eggs, meat and seafood called Farmstr.  Coming soon to new locations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond!


In honor of over-roasted chicken, I thought I’d share my grandma’s method for a moist and tasty chicken using mayonnaise.  Yep, mayonnaise.  Grandma used to massage mayonnaise all over her roasters before popping them in the oven.  And when she ran out of mayo, she used butter.

I took this mayonnaise slathering technique a little further and incorporated fresh chopped herbs and garlic into the mayo and then added the step of placing some of that herb mayo under the skin of the chicken breast, legs and thighs.  This creates not only flavor, but a tender, juicy roasted chicken.

Delicious Wishes and loads of love,


Fresh Herb and Mayonnaise Roasted Chicken

The key to creating a perfectly roasted chicken is making sure you remove the chicken from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 165F. Testing the meat temperature at the joint between the thigh and leg is best.  Then take it out of the oven and tent the chicken with foil and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes.  This will raise the internal temperature another 5 degrees and allow the juices to re-distribute.  The final result should be a moist and perfectly roasted chicken. 


1  4-5lb fresh, organic whole chicken

1/3 cup organic regular or homemade mayonnaise

Small handful of fresh herbs finely chopped.  (thyme, oregano, Italian parsley, basil, chive, rosemary)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 lemon, quartered

Salt and Pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Mix together the fresh herbs, garlic and mayonnaise.  Add a few pinches of salt and pepper.

Salt and pepper the cavity of the chicken and stuff with the lemon quarters.  And some extra garlic cloves if you like.

Next spread about half the herb mayonnaise under the skin of the chicken breast, leg and thighs.  It’s typically fairly tough but if it breaks don’t worry…  it’ll still be fabulous.

Slather the remaining mayonnaise over the outside of the chicken and then lightly season with some cracked black pepper and salt.

Place it in a roasting pan or baking dish, or even on a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.

Once the chicken has reached 165F, remove it from the oven and tent it with some aluminum foil.  Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes before carving or breaking down to serve.

I adore this roasted chicken all by itself but during the spring months I serve it with baby spring greens tossed with a simple balsamic vinaigrette.  Or serve it with this lovely spring salad from Pink Patisserie.  A lovely meal!

** Rarely do I truss my chicken unless I’m serving a roasted chicken for guests or a holiday meal.  It does help seal the cavity and therefore technically keep the chicken from drying out.  However, I’m typically in a time crunch to get the chicken in the oven and stuffing the cavity with extra herbs and lemon will usually achieve the same result.  The chicken just won’t look quite so Julia Child.  But it’ll still taste delicious.  However, if you’d like to learn how to truss a chicken, click here. It’s a great technique to add to your culinary skills.  Bon Appetit!

Contact Grilling Salmon Sauces, Salsas and More Seafood

Grilled Salmon with Arugula and Lemon Mayonnaise

It was one of those days… again.  You know, the kind of day that’s filled with lots of running errands, returning phone calls, scheduling meetings, school activities, and let’s not forget the dreaded laundry.  Yes, my least favorite chore… in the whole wide world!  Sometimes I just ignore it hoping the laundry fairy will magically appear and finish it for me.  But alas, the laundry fairy didn’t appear and I still had dinner to prepare.

Of course it was a busy weekend and I didn’t get my menu planned on Sunday.  Monday afternoon arrived quickly and I found myself scrambling for a great dinner idea only to find myself power walking through the grocery store once again.  I might as well terminate my gym membership as I’m forever power walking my local market in 30 minutes or less, which is also how much time I had to get dinner on the table. Yes, even a Chef has an occasional “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner” day.

Fish always seems like a good idea especially when I’m short on time.  King salmon is in season in my neck of the woods and it’s one of those immensely versatile fish that can be topped with as little as fresh lemon, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, or as fussy as a white wine beurre blanc.  However, I decided to try something a little different, a bit retro if you will. 

When I was young, eating fish and veggies with mayonnaise was all the rage.  In fact, as I was perusing my Mom’s old cookbooks I found several of these delicious little mayonnaise recipes.  Many of the recipes sounded more like an aioli than a true mayonnaise.  Aioli is much like a mayonnaise, although, it can be prepared with or without eggs, mustard and garlic.   

Why not use mayonnaise as a base and create a delicious herbed dipping sauce for fish? So the experiment began.  Ranger Craig grilled the fresh salmon with a bit of lemon, sea salt and pepper and I prepared the sauce.  Using fresh arugula, lemon and shallots I blended the sauce with additional milk, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper; fresh, basic ingredients that beautifully complimented the grilled salmon and made for a quick and exquisite meal. Add a salad of baby greens tossed in a light vinaigrette and your tasty meal is complete.

If you are a purist at heart and would love to prepare your own mayonnaise I’ve included some information and a recipe below.  I like using an olive oil or safflower oil based mayo whenever possible, but feel free to use your favorite brand.  As well, these divine little sauces can be used on any fish you might have on hand.  

Keep dinner simple… Enjoy the flavors of life!

Serves 4


For the Arugula Mayonnaise:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup milk (or more for a thinner dipping sauce)

¼  cup fresh arugula, packed

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Kosher or sea salt to taste

Fresh cracked black pepper to taste


Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender or if using an emulsion blender place the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. 

Blend ingredients until the arugula is nicely incorporated into the sauce.  Taste for seasoning and serve with your favorite grilled, roasted or pan seared fish.

Serve with a salad of spring greens and little tomatoes tossed in a little olive oil and seasoned rice wine vinegar. 

For a simple roasted salmon:

Pre-heat the oven to 400F.

Place a piece of foil in the bottom of a shallow baking dish and then set the salmon skin side down on the foil. Season the salmon with a squeeze of fresh lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs if you like. 

Roast the salmon just until the outside is firm and opaque but the inside is still a tiny bit pink.  For an average sized piece of salmon it might take about 8-10 minutes, however the cooking time will vary depending on the size of the fillet or steak.

Remove the salmon from the oven and let it sit for about 5 minutes before serving.  Serve with the arugula mayonnaise and salad of spring greens.

TIP: This mayonnaise is fabulous for cold cut sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches or cold salmon or fish cakes. 

Julia’s Homemade Mayonnaise (From

Mayonnaise is one of the many foods that is referred to as an emulsion. An emulsion is a combination of two unlike components. According to Julia Child, mayonnaise is also something every cook must confidently and rapidly whip up on command with nary a qualm, because it is one of the elemental cookery procedures.

The Science of Mayonnaise: Before attempting to make homemade mayonnaise, it is important to understand just how mayonnaise works. Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil in lemon juice that has been stabilized by the molecule lecithin found in the egg yolks.

The key to making mayonnaise is to avoid having the components of the emulsion separate back into their individual components. This is called “turned” or “broken” mayonnaise. No matter how long you mix the oil and lemon juice together, it will always separate into a gooey mess unless the egg yolk is added as a stabilizer.

Why To Make Your Own Mayonnaise: There are two (2) main reasons for making your own mayonnaise – freshness and flavor. Homemade mayonnaise is fast and easy to make in a blender or food processor. It takes less than 5 minutes to make.

Homemade Mayonnaise Recipe

2 egg yolks, room temperature*
1 whole egg, room temperature*
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
Big pinch freshly-ground white pepper
Up to 2 cups vegetable oil or pure olive oil (all one or a mixture)**

* Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

** For a basic mayonnaise, use an oil with a mild flavor that won’t overpower the other ingredients. If you plan to refrigerate your mayonnaise, then choose a refined oil such as pure olive oil or sunflower oil. An unrefined oil, such as extra virgin olive oil, will solidify when chilled and cause separation later as it returns to room temperature.

Put the egg yolks, egg, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and white pepper in the work bowl of the food processor; process for 10 seconds or more, until creamy.

With the food processor running continuously, pour in the oil very slowly in driblets at first, to start the emulsion process. NOTE: Add 10 to 15% of the oil at this time. The first addition should be small and gradual. Wait about 30 second between additions.

When the sauce has definitely thickened, you may add the oil in a thin stream. Do not stop the machine at this point, but cease pouring every few seconds to be sure the oil is being absorbed. NOTE: Add about 50% of the oil at this time.

Then continue until the remaining 1 1/2 cups of oil are incorporated. NOTE: You may not need to use all the remaining oil at this time.

Stop the machine and check the mayonnaise for taste and consistency. Adjust the seasonings and, if the mayonnaise is very thick, process in drops of lemon juice or warm water to thin. The mayonnaise may be used at this point, or you can process in some of the remaining oil for a thicker sauce.

Transfer the finished mayonnaise to a bowl. If not using right away, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The sauce will keep for a good week.

Makes approximately 2 to 2 1/4 cups.

Precautions for Preparing Mayonnaise:

IMPORTANT:  All the ingredients must be at room temperature. If necessary, eggs may be immersed in warm water for 10 minutes to bring them up to temperature before breaking them into the blender jar.

Since raw eggs are being use, only use the freshest eggs you can buy (the fresher, the better). As an egg ages, lecithin, a protein that acts as the central emulsifying agent, breaks down and the power of the egg yolk to stabilize the mayonnaise weakens. You may also use pasteurized eggs.

Eggs keep the fat (oil) and the liquid (vinegar or lemon juice) of the mayonnaise evenly blended together. If egg yolks weren’t used to emulsify the mayonnaise, the heavier liquid would sink and the lighter fat would float just as they do in vinegar and oil dressing.

Never use aluminum bowls or saucepans to prepare mayonnaise, as they will turn the mayonnaise gray. Stainless steel, enameled, plastic (food processor) or glass may be used.

Add the oil very slowly, especially at the beginning.

Since homemade mayonnaise has fresh eggs in it, the mayonnaise should not be left at room temperature for more than a couple hours, as food poisoning is always a concern.