I remember, ruefully, an adolescent epiphany realized much too late: that the skin of a roasted chicken is some sort of savory candy. For years, I'd forfeited, unawares, the crunchy exterior, blinded by a flesh-driven tunnel vision that took me straight to a juicy thigh, a tender breast. In no way was I losing out — the meat of a well-roasted roasted chicken is no consolation prize — but in my haste I was misguided. Herein lies the beauty and magic of a roast chicken: There is always a new way to enjoy it, a new part that deserves appreciation.
Taste aside, there's something quite romantic about a roasted chicken. It's rustic and refined, equal parts primal and prim; the whimsy of a whole bird in the oven. As a meal a roast chicken is plentiful, it can serve many at once, or one for many days. I like to shred my roast chicken into a creamy salad for sandwiches and afternoon snacks, roast and boil the bones for a caramel-colored stock, and stir strings of meat into a sumptuous tortilla soup.
Don't be a stranger to the roast chicken this fall. Think about novel combinations of herbs and spices and pastes to take the bird in direction you wish — just don't forget the crispy bits.