Roasted Lemon Chicken
- Servings: 4.
I think the reason many well-known restaurants (Rao's, The Palm, Smith & Wollensky, to name just three in NYC) feature lemon chicken is because it's so big on flavor. A number of cookbooks have their own version, including Rao's plus one of the Barefoot Contessa books on which this recipe is based. But they'd all have you think that it's complicated and that you must have a grill to make it.
All you need is good chicken, fresh lemons, and a hot oven.
This simple recipe is easy enough for a weeknight dinner but flavorful enough for company. I love it served alongside a tomato sauce-dressed pasta or rice pilaf, plus something green and bright, like a plain green salad tossed with mustard vinaigrette or broccoli rabe spiced with a pinch of red pepper flakes.
- 8 chicken thighs or 4 pieces chicken leg/thigh, on the bone and with skin
- 2 large lemons, zest removed and juiced to make 1/3 cup juice
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 or 3 garlic cloves, grated to get about 1 tablespoon
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, halved
- Generously salt both sides of the chicken.
- In a shallow baking dish, combine the zest and juice of the 2 lemons, olive oil, grated garlic, rosemary and pepper. Add the salted chicken and turn the pieces over to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours, turning once or twice.
- Preheat oven to 425° F.
- Remove the chicken pieces from their marinade and let the excess drip off. Discard the marinade.
- Arrange the chicken pieces skin side up on a rack set in a foil-lined sheet pan or roasting pan. Take the two halves of the cut lemon and place them flesh side up alongside the chicken pieces.
- Roast for about 45 minutes until fully cooked and until the skin is browned and crispy.
- Let rest about 5 minutes and then serve.
- Serve with the pieces of roasted lemon for anyone who wants an added zap of lemon flavor.
You can make this recipe with chicken breasts, using ones on the bone and with their skin. But cook them for less time -- about 35 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts.
Allow for one breast per serving.