Doesn’t it sounds so much classier when I call them “hens”? They’re chickens. Whatever. This recipe represents one point on a epicurean function to which I’d like to introduce you. This function takes the form
Dinner = chicken + olive oil + salt + pepper + x
In this case, we’re solving for x = Herbs de Provençe.
Serves: 4 leisurely Frenchmen
Total kitchen time: the French don’t care, why should you?
- 1 large chicken (though you could just as well use cornish hens, a duck, pigeon, or my dad’s rooster Lucky)
- 3 tbsp good olive oil
- 2 tsp Herbs de Provençe (I could tell you what’s in it, but you’re gonna buy the pre-made stuff anyway. No harm done)
- Salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Side note: Since we don’t have a lot of ingredients working here, I thought I’d take a moment to comment on the importance of salt and pepper. Please, please, please don’t settle for table salt and pepper that looks like gunpowder. IMHO, they’re not the same. If you’re only going to buy one “specialty” salt, pick up a box of Kosher Salt. You don’t have to be Jewish to buy it and the checkout clerk won’t ask you about Passover. Then, get some fresh black pepper (it comes in bb-sized balls) and a grinder. Some spice isles even have a small grinder preloaded for like $6 bucks. Your tongue will thank you.
- Anyway… Preheat your oven to 425F. Set the rack to the middle position.
- Quarter the chicken. Season the pieces with olive oil, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provençe.
- Heat a large, heavy, oven-proof skillet (may I suggest cast iron) over high heat until it is pretty rocket-hot. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, making sure you have enough room to fit them all in. Cook over high heat for about a minute. This is our crisp skin insurance.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the fattest part of the breast registers 150F. Flip the pieces over so they are skin side up. Raise the heat to a broil and cook about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest several minutes before serving.
Not feeling completely French yet? Try adding some savory carrots, a fresh baguette and a bottle of wine. Viva la gastration!