Chicken and Figs go together with a Simple Rub of Rosemary and Lemon Zest for an easy-to-make Dinner
August is the Sunday of Summer. Like Sunday, it is bittersweet. There is still time for fun outside and summer eating but the quality of the light and lengthening shadows speak of Fall which will soon be upon us. Even the colors of August remind me of the coming cool weather. Gone are the vibrant reds, yellows and pinks of summer peaches and berries. The color of August is purple. Purple eggplant, blackberries, blueberries, plums and, one of my favorites, figs!
Someday in the future, my fig tree will give me an August harvest. But for now, I am buying my figs at the market.
Deeply purple Mission Figs are cheap and plentiful in the stores here in Asheville right now. I love to use them in salads or put them on a cheese and charcuterie board to eat with a salty cured ham or robust blue cheese. Then I saw this recipe in the New York Times and I have to share it with you because it is a winner.
Sheet pan dinners are all the rage right now. They are easy to prepare and easy to clean up. Add a green salad on the side and your dinner is ready.
Start with the chicken. The recipe calls for an easy to make marinade of salt, rosemary, garlic and lemon zest. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t seem like enough seasoning but it works. You will suspect this when you start to smell it cooking and be sure of it when you see the crispy skin and taste the well-developed flavor.
Toss the chicken in the salt and flavorings and rub it all over to make sure each piece is well covered. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours. I did mine the day before.
When you are ready to cook it, get out a big sheet pan and line it with foil.
Drain any liquid out of the bowl the chicken is in and add one or two tablespoons of olive oil. Toss the chicken in the oil to coat it and arrange it on the sheet pan. Don’t crowd the chicken. You want it to cook, not steam.
Cut your figs in halves or quarters and toss them in a little olive oil before adding them to the sheet pan. Again, make sure everything is well spaced.
Now do the same thing with the potatoes (if you are using them). And give them a good salting as well as tossing them in oil.
Finally, slice some jalapenos very thinly, with a mandolin if you have one. You can leave the seeds in if you like it really hot or remove them if you are not a fan of the heat. ( I always wear rubber gloves when I work with spicy peppers. Even with a good hand washing, there is sometimes hot oil left on my fingers as I learned to my regret when I touched my eyes after chopping jalapenos once!)
Put the sheet pan in hot oven and cook it until the chicken is done and the skin is browned.
The figs will caramelize into a rich bite of flavor, the chicken skin will become crisp and tasty while the chicken remains moist and the potatoes will be a nice complement to the meal.
And clean up should be easy!
Thank you Melissa Clark at the New York Times!
SHEET PAN CHICKEN WITH FIGS
- 2-3 lbs Chicken drumsticks wings and thighs
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves chopped
- 1 finely grated garlic clove
- Zest from ½ lemon
- ¼ tsp ground black pepper
- ½ lb fresh figs quartered
- 1 jalapeno sliced
- 4 medium potatoes cut into chunks optional
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Toss the chicken with the salt, rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper. Refrigerate at least two hours or overnight
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet tray with foil.
- Drain any water which may have accumulated with the chicken and toss the chicken in 2 tbsp olive oil. Arrange on the prepared sheet tray.
- Cut the figs into quarters and toss in a little olive oil. Arrange the figs on the sheet pan between the chicken pieces.
- If you are using the potatoes, cut them pieces the same size as the figs. Toss them in olive oil and season with salt. Add the potatoes to the sheet pan.
- Make sure everything on the sheet pan has space around it so the heat will roast it.
- Sprinkle everything with thinly sliced jalapeno.
- Bake until the chicken skin has browned and the chicken is cooked through, about 25-35 minutes.