Talk about fresh, wholesome, and delicious. This dish, especially the salsa verde, is perfect for any occasion. The flavor profile in the salsa, provided by the many ingredients, is extremely complex, yielding a wonderfully bright, refreshing mouthful. I’m not a huge fan of anchovies (even on a Caesar salad), and Francisco always has to be the one to rinse and chop this particular ingredient because I just can’t stand it. Even if you feel the same way, do not – I repeat, do not – hold back the anchovies. I promise, there is not even the slightest hint of fishiness, but the anchovies provide a wonderful salty brine that just makes the salsa really shine.
The salsa recipe yields a pretty hefty portion, and we usually have some left over. The oil will congeal when refrigerated, so don’t be surprised when you pull out the remaining salsa the next day and it looks like a bowl of Crisco with vegetables stuck in it. Let it come up to room temperature, then mix well with a spoon and you’ll be back to the normal delicious quality.
One 4- to 5-pound chicken or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts [800 calories]
1 lemon (thinly sliced and seeded)
2 bay leaves
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 small onion (peeled)
1 small bunch fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil [240 calories]
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil [960 calories]
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley (thinly sliced)
2 tablespoons salt-packed capers (rinsed and chopped)
2 tablespoons fresh mint (thinly sliced)
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 salt-packed anchovy fillets (rinsed and minced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 jalapeno (seeded and minced, about 1 tablespoon)
1 shallot (minced)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Calories per serving: 500
The day before cooking, rinse thawed chicken inside and out very well with cold water, pat dry, salt liberally, cover, and refrigerate. Remove chicken from refrigerator one hour before cooking. If you’re going to use chicken breasts instead, similarly wash the breasts and salt liberally right before cooking this dish.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Wedge 3 lemon slices and 1 bay leaf between the skin and each breast of the whole chicken. Put garlic, onion, thyme, and remainder of the lemon slices in the cavity of the whole chicken. Rub chicken liberally with the olive oil. Put the chicken breast-side up in an ovenproof sauté pan or roasting pan.
* We’ve made this recipe with a real roasting pan and with – now don’t judge us here – the chicken sitting in a large, round cake pan lined with aluminum foil. The chicken took a significantly longer time to cook when it was prepared in the roasting pan, nearly 30 minutes longer. From our experience, we suggest using a shallow ovenproof dish of some kind that can contain the juice run-off and the size of the chicken itself.
If you choose to make the chicken breasts instead, line a shallow, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, place half of the ingredients (lemon slices, garlic, onion, thyme, bay leaves) in the center of the sheet, lay chicken breasts side by side on top, then arrange remaining ingredients on top of the breasts. Carefully lift up the aluminum foil surrounding the chicken breasts and ingredients to make a small tent or enclosure for cooking. With this method, you’ll probably be able to decrease the cook time slightly, maybe down to 30-40 minutes depending on how well your oven works. Check for doneness by measuring the internal temperature of the breasts with a meat thermometer.
* In our experience, the flavor imparted to the chicken breasts from the ingredients is just as good with this aluminum foil tenting method as what we obtained by roasting a whole chicken.
While chicken is cooking, combine extra-virgin olive oil, parsley, capers, mint, red pepper flakes, anchovy fillets, garlic, lemon zest and juice, jalapeno, and shallots in a shallow bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Allow flavors to meld at least 15 minutes before serving with the chicken. If you prepare this more than an hour before serving, reserve the lemon juice and add to the mixture right before spooning over the chicken.
This recipe is delicious with a little arugula salad (4 cups baby arugula dressed with 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, and freshly ground black pepper), or for something more substantial, our recipe for Lemon Asparagus Risotto.
This recipe was adapted from Michael Symon, where it was first presented on his show Symon’s Suppers appearing on The Cooking Channel. The original recipe calls for the roasted chicken whole; we played around with the chicken breast idea ourselves. If you’d like the original version of this dish, you can find it here
Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde.