My girlfriend Alison, who is of Greek ancestry, sparked the idea for this recipe. She asked me if I had a roasted chicken recipe that was lemony and garlicky and had oregano in it. Sicilians and Greeks are brothers in common for their love of lemon, garlic, and oregano. I immediately thought of my recipe for fish ammogghiu (grilling sauce), which I had leftover in my refrigerator. The basic recipe is made with lemon, olive oil, garlic, parsley, and oregano. I added some lemon zest and softened butter to it to make a pasty smear– and the rest is history.
Making this dish requires a large cast iron skillet. Cast iron retains heat and renders the fat from the chicken skin, making it extra-crispy. The result is delicious moist and tender chicken, fragrant with lemon, garlic, and oregano, with a crisp skin on the outside.
ROASTED LEMON GARLIC CHICKEN THIGHS
Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon sea salt
8 whole black peppercorns or 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 large skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a large cast iron skillet in the oven and heat for 10 minutes.
Put the parsley, fresh oregano, garlic, salt and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle and mash into a paste.
Stir in the butter, lemon zest, and dried oregano. Add the olive oil and stir until combined.
Place the chicken thighs skin side up on a plate and smear half of the garlic/herb butter on top.
Carefully place skin-side down into the hot skillet. Coat the top with the remaining garlic herb butter and bake for 20 minutes. Turn the chicken thighs over skin-side up, baste with the pan juices and continue baking for 20 minutes longer, until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees F. If the chicken fails to brown properly, you can place it under the broiler for about 5 minutes.