What’s the secret to juicy chicken? It’s in the Top Five list of age-old questions.
We all want the answer to that one, along with:
What’s the secret to erasing wrinkles?
What’s the secret to inner peace?
What’s the secret to sweet old doggie breath?
I know I’ve only listed four of the top five. I’ll bet you can imagine what the other one is.
The secret to juicy chicken is……………………(long drumroll here):
Don’t overcook it.
That’s it! Well, just about. The other things are: cook chicken with skin (and bones, preferably) attached and season it well with salt in advance of cooking.
I’m happy to share this 4 ingredient recipe for juicy chicken. It’s such a simple method you might cook chicken like this forever until the end of time. But I hope you don’t, really, since there are probably other great ways to cook chicken.
I use skin-on, boneless breasts here because my offspring make annoying whining sounds whenever they find those dark, mysterious bits close to the bone that could signify poisonous chicken bloodletting. Whatever. The chicken turns out juicy and delicious nonetheless.
The roasted lemons get squeezed over the chicken to make a delicious pan sauce; they get all caramelized and marmaladey and the juices turn thick and sticky.
Serve the chicken on a platter over arugula greens.
- 4 skin-on boneless chicken breasts, about 6 ounces each
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- A few sprigs rosemary
- Put the chicken breasts on a rimmed baking sheet – I use a 13 x 9 inch quarter sheet pan - and drizzle with some olive oil. Turn the chicken over to coat on both sides with the oil.
- Season the chicken on both sides with the salt. Let the chicken sit at room temperature 25 minutes, skin-side up. Strip the rosemary leaves from their branches and chop finely; scatter over the top of the breasts and rub into the skin. Arrange the lemon halves flesh side down around the chicken.
- Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Roast chicken 12 minutes; baste with some of the pan juices. Crank up the oven temperature to 475 degrees and roast and additional 15 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and the pan juices are bubbling and dark brown. If your breasts are larger than 6 ounces they might need a few minutes more. Don’t overcook! (please).
- Let the chicken rest about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate and squeeze the lemons over the chicken (one half per breast). Add a teaspoon of water to the baking sheet if necessary and scrape up the pan juices. Pour over the chicken and serve.
If you don't have kosher salt, reduce the amount by half, to 3/4 teaspoon fine salt.