Heat the oven to 480 degrees F. Pat the chicken dry inside and out (if you want an extra crispy skin, leave the raw chicken in the fridge uncovered overnight after you’ve patted it dry and then bring it to room temperature).
Put the chicken on a board or a large platter and generously season the inside of the bird with salt and pepper if you’re using it. Drizzle a little olive oil in the cavity as well.
Drizzle the rest of the oil over the chicken, and rub it all over so that it’s evenly coated. Salt the chicken well all over, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Transfer the chicken to an enameled cast iron pan or a heavy roasting pan just big enough to hold it and put it in the oven. Don’t open the door for at least 45 minutes, when you can start to test it for doneness. (The chicken is cooked when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a sharp knife, and the juices run clear.) Let the chicken rest on a carving board while you make the pan sauce.
To make the sauce, put the roasting pan on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the butter to the drippings in the pan, and once it melts add the thyme and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute.
Add the wine to the pan and scrape up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon, stirring them into the sauce. Let the wine cook down for one to two minutes.
Add a cup of boiling water, stir well, and let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary (if you’ve salted your chicken enough, this probably won’t be necessary).
Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the warm pan sauce in a bowl nearby for dipping.
- One 3 to 4 pound chicken, preferably organic or free-range, brought to room temperature
- Kosher salt (and pepper if you’d like)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 large sprigs of thyme
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 1/4 cup white wine