SERVES 2 TO 4
Lemon? Check. Crispy skin? The delicious smell of fresh herbs as the bird roasts? Easy enough to make on a weeknight? Check, check, and check again. This recipe ticks all the boxes for me, and I’m sure it will for you as well. Many markets now sell spatchcocked chickens that have had their backbones (and sometimes breastbones) removed, which allows the chicken to open up flat. My friends tell me they’ve made this using just breast and thigh pieces and it works fine that way too. I make this at least once a week.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 large lemons, zested and sliced
32 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
31 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
32½ teaspoons kosher salt
31 chicken (about 3½ pounds), backbone and breastbone removed
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the lemon slices on the sheet to form a “rack” for the chicken.
In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, thyme, rosemary, and salt. Sprinkle one-third of the salt rub on the flesh side of the chicken. Flip the chicken and rub the remaining salt mixture over and under the skin of the whole chicken. Lay the chicken skin side up on the bed of lemons and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with the pan drippings, until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thigh reads 160°F. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes before carving.
Meanwhile, use a fork to mash the lemon pulp into the pan juices, discarding the rinds. Spoon the sauce over the chicken just before serving.
Recipe courtesy of EAT BETTER, FEEL BETTER by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2021 by GDL Foods Inc. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.