- One whole 4 to 4 ½ pound chicken, spatchcocked (see directions below)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 to 4 large sprigs each of fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme
- 3 lemons, halved
- 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, optional
Using your fingers, loosen the skin covering the breast and around the thighs of the chicken. Season under the skin with 1 ½ teaspoons of the salt and the garlic, rubbing them into the flesh of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to a large baking dish, skin side up, and refrigerate, uncovered, at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200°F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Rub the chicken on the skin side with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt and sprinkle with black pepper to taste. Scatter the halved lemons around the chicken and place the herb sprigs underneath and around the chicken so that they perfume the chicken as it roasts in the oven. Drizzle the lemons with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer to the oven and cook until the chicken registers 165°F when tested in the deepest part of the thigh joint (without touching the bone), 2 to 2 ½ hours.
Adjust the oven setting to broil and set the temperature on the highest setting, ideally 500°F.
Scatter the cherry tomatoes around the chicken and cook, checking frequently, until the skin is crispy and deep golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes (depending on your broiler). If the chicken browns too quickly in one area, cover it with a small piece of aluminum foil until the rest of the chicken is golden and crispy.
Remove the chicken from the oven and set it aside to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving into pieces and serving.
To spatchcock a chicken:
Place the whole chicken, breast-side down, on a cutting board. Using kitchen scissors or poultry shears, cut along both sides of the backbone from top to bottom and remove the backbone. (Save the backbone for stock, if desired.)
Turn the chicken breast-side up and, with the heel of your hand, press downward firmly where the breast halves meet in the center until you hear a crack and the chicken is able to lay flat.
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