For my last birthday, a dear friend gifted me with a subscription to the New York Times “Cooking” website. Although I had been tempted to subscribe, given my ever-growing number of cookbooks, I doubt that I would have ever done so on my own. For the last few months, however, prompted by the site’s daily email updates, I’ve become a frequent visitor and have grown even more grateful for the gift.
One recent update titled “Do They Give Out Pulitzers for Chicken Recipes?” reeled me in, and the accompanying photo of golden chicken parts napped with a green-olive and parsley sauce clinched the deal. I had to make the recipe. Apparently, other readers felt the same way; in the post’s comments section, one contributor wittily wrote: “I award it the Pullet Surprise!” After making the dish last night, I must say that I concur. This simple approach to roasting chicken, using the increasingly popular sheet-pan, yielded an extremely flavorful and vividly colorful weeknight supper.
As with any first attempt at a recipe, I thought there were ways it could be improved to meet personal taste. Because we both enjoy the flavor of turmeric, I used the full amount called for and then some, even though I was halving the recipe. I did the same with the amounts of olives, parsley, and olive oil when making the sauce. I find that, especially with sauces, you have to use your eye to determine the measure of ingredients.
The recipe also called for adding two tablespoons of water to the sauce, which didn’t sit well with me. I substituted dry vermouth. Finally, upon tasting the finished dish, my better half and I were both looking for more vinegar flavor, which led to a few sprinkles of it at the table. In fact, in retrospect, I believe using a higher quality white vinegar or even a sherry vinegar would have added brightness to this already wonderful dish.
I served the chicken with a side of plain polenta, which soaked up the sauce and served as a perfect subtle complement to the rich flavors of the dish.
Vinegar Chicken with Crushed Olive Dressing (adapted for 2 servings from a recipe by Alison Roman on the New York Times “Cooking” Website)
4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs
1 generous teaspoon ground turmeric
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and ground pepper
¼ cup white wine vinegar, plus more for serving
1 cup green Castelvetrano olives, crushed and pitted
1 large garlic clove, finely grated
¾ cup parsley, tender leaves and stems, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons dry vermouth
1. Heat oven to 450°F.
2. Place chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and toss with turmeric and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Make sure chicken is skin-side up, then pour vinegar over and around chicken and place in the oven.
4. Bake chicken, without flipping, until cooked through and deeply browned all over, 25 to 35 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine olives, garlic, parsley, the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons dry vermouth in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper.
6. Once chicken is cooked, remove baking sheet from the oven and transfer chicken to a warmed serving plates, leaving behind any of the juices and bits stuck to the pan.
7. Place the baking sheet is on a sturdy surface (the stove top, a counter), then pour the olive mixture onto the sheet. Remember the pan will be hot so hold with potholders or their equivalent.
8. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, gently scrape up all the bits the chicken left behind, letting the olive mixture mingle with the rendered fat and get increasingly saucy. Pour olive mixture over the chicken, then serve. (Next time, I’ll forego the aluminum foil, which should allow for easier scraping and browner bits.)
Wine Pairing: Beaujolais-Villages