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Salt & Pepper Roast Chicken with Lemon Sauce (Salmoriglio)

Salt & Pepper Roast Chicken with Lemon Sauce (Salmoriglio)



  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 lb.)

  • Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Salmoriglio (Sicilian Lemon-Herb Sauce)

  • 2 lemons—1 zested (about 2 tsp.) and both halved

  • 1 cup EVOO

  • 1 large or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped

  • 3 large cloves garlic, grated or chopped

  • 1 cup (loosely packed) fresh flat-leaf parsley tops, finely chopped

  • ½ cup (a fat handful) fresh mint leaves

  • 2 full green sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped (about 2 tbsp.)

  • 1 ½ tsp. (about half a palmful) crushed red pepper

  • Salt and pepper

  • Crusty bread, for serving


  • Step 1

    On a rimmed baking sheet, liberally season the chicken inside and out with kosher salt and pepper. Place uncovered on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. 

  • Step 2

    Heat a medium cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high. Add the lemons, cut-side down, and cook until caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes; transfer to a plate.

  • Step 3

    Add 1/4 cup of the EVOO. Reduce heat a bit, add the shallot and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water and stir until absorbed. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a medium bowl. Squeeze in the juice from the caramelized lemons. Add the lemon zest, fresh herbs, and crushed red pepper. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup EVOO to form a thick sauce; season.

  • Step 4

    Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 425°. Arrange the chicken in the skillet lying on its side. Roast for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken onto the other side and roast 20 minutes more. Arrange the chicken breast-side up. Spoon any juices that have accumulated in the skillet over the chicken. Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 160° to 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and breast, 15 to 20 minutes more. 

  • Step 5

    Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest 10 minutes. While the chicken rests, turn off the oven and put the bread in the oven to warm. Carve the chicken. Serve with the sauce and bread.