Monday, August 30, 2021

Chicken Salmoriglio

From Christopher Kimball’s latest book, Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean, this is a delicious weeknight dinner. 

The book is broken up into three categories: fast, faster, fastest - which helps immensely when you are pressed for time and can’t figure out what to cook for dinner (again!). There are so many great recipes in this book that I have dozens of little post-it scraps stuck to the pages of fabulous sounding (and looking) recipes.

This one, in particular, caught my eye because a) I love chicken thighs, and b) the recipe originates in southern Italy, which holds a special place in my heart. You can’t beat the combination of chicken with garlic, lemon, and oregano roasted crisp in the oven! Served on a bed of arugula or watercress, it’s technically a salad, right? 

The recipe serves four and is from the “fast” section of the book (start to finish in 45 minutes). The name, “salmoriglio,” refers to the sauce/marinade, and you are definitely going to want some crusty Italian bread to sop it up with. I think a chilled Italian white would be perfect with this dish - the WSJ wine columnist has some good recommendations here and here.

Chicken Salmoriglio (Milk Street Tuesday Nights Mediterranean)


1 TB grated lemon zest, plus 2 lemons halved crosswise

2 medium garlic cloves, finely grated

1 t dried oregano, crumbled

Kosher salt and ground black pepper

5 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 lb bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed and patted dry

1 TB honey

1 bunch watercress, trimmed, or 5 oz container baby arugula

1 TB finely chopped fresh oregano


Don’t skip the step of cutting slashes into the chicken. The cuts allow the seasonings to get into the meat for better flavor throughout and also help speed the cooking.

  1. Heat oven to 475°F with a rack in the lower-middle position. Grate 1 TB zest from the lemons, then halve the lemons and trim off the pointed ends so the halves sit stably with cut sides facing up; set the lemon halves aside. In a small bowl, stir together the zest, garlic, dried oregano, 1-1/2 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper. Measure 1 TB of the lemon-garlic mixture into a large bowl. Stir 4 TB of oil into the remaining mixture and set aside.
  2. To the large bowl, add the remaining 1 TB oil, the honey, 2 t salt, and 1/2 t pepper, then stir to combine. Using a sharp knife, cut parallel slashes about 1” apart all the way to the bone on both sides of each chicken thigh. Add the things to the bowl and turn to coat on all sides, rubbing the seasoning mixture into the slashes.
  3. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, and the lemon halves, cut sides up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until the chicken is beginning to brown and the thickest part reaches 165°F to 170°F, about 20 minutes. Leaving the chicken in the oven, turn on the broiler. Continue to cook until the chicken is deep golden brown and the thickest part reaches about 175°F, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  4. Place the watercress on a serving platter, creating a bed for the chicken. Using tongs, place the chicken on top of the watercress. Squeeze 3 TB juice from 1 or 2 of the lemon halves, then stir the juice along with the fresh oregano into the lemon-garlic oil to make the salmoriglio. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and serve with the remaining lemon halves for squeezing.

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