Photo: Danny Kim; Illustrations by John Burgoyne

Larger than a chicken, a little smaller than a turkey, but with more flavor and moisture than either, the capon is a French and Italian holiday favorite that’s also prized by Gabrielle Hamilton, the chef-owner of Prune. Hamilton likes her neutered roosters roasted breast side down, then splayed on top of toasted garlic bread to form an impromptu, juice-soaked “stuffing.”

Gabrielle Hamilton’s Roast Capon

1 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 8-lb. capon (available at )
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. canola oil
Black pepper
4–6 slices country bread, toasted
1 garlic clove

In a large pot, add salt, sugar, and 3 cups water, and whisk until dissolved. (1) Stir in 13 cups water, and place capon in the brine; refrigerate for 24 hours. Next day: Preheat oven to 350. Combine the oils, and rub over dried capon, then season with pepper. Add water to a large roasting pan until it reaches a quarter of the way up the sides; set on the bottom rack in the oven. Put the capon breast side down directly on the rack above the pan. Turn capon onto its back during the last few minutes of cooking. Roast the capon for 2 hours and 10 minutes, or until juices run clear when the leg joint is pierced. (2) Rub each side of the toasted country bread with garlic, and arrange on a large platter. Remove the capon from the oven, (3) set on the bread, and allow to rest for about 20 minutes, so the chicken’s juices soak into the bread. Strain the jus from the roasting pan into a saucepan, skim off the fat, reheat, and season to taste.