TASTE | THE SECRET INGREDIENT

garlicky chicken with lemon anchovy sauce

I found this recipe by Melissa Clark on New York Times Cooking and it is now a major player in my rotation. Melissa is a genius and this recipe is so easy and so flavorful it's sure to become a staple for you, too. P.S. PLEASE don't be afraid of the anchovies here. Yes, they are necessary and no, they are not fishy. I promise, you won;t even be able to tell they're in there, but the flavor will be desperately sad without them.


There’s nothing wrong with a dinner of pan-seared chicken seasoned with salt and pepper. But there’s everything right about the same chicken when you add anchovies, capers, garlic and plenty of lemon to the pan. What was once timid and a little dull turns vibrant, tangy and impossible to stop eating. And the only real extra work is chopping the garlic and a little parsley for garnish. In this dish, the cut of chicken is less important than the pungent pan sauce. Most people will probably want to use the workhorse of all poultry dinners, the boneless, skinless breasts. But the thighs cook nearly as quickly, and have a greater margin of error in terms of doneness. Overcook your breasts by even a minute, and you’ll get dry, tough meat. Thighs are more forgiving. However, if your family insists on white meat, you can substitute breasts and subtract about 3 minutes from the cooking time. There is no need to mention the anchovies until after people have complimented you on the meal.

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WHAT YOU NEED

1 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
¼ cup extra­virgin olive oil
5 anchovy fillets
2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
1 large pinch chile flakes
1 lemon, halved
Fresh chopped parsley, for serving

WHAT YOU DO

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let rest while you prepare the anchovy-garlic oil. Mince one of the garlic cloves and set it aside for later. In a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the 5 smashed whole garlic cloves, the anchovies, capers and chile. Let cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up the anchovies, until the garlic browns around the edges and the anchovies dissolve, 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken thighs and cook until nicely browned on one side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the thighs, place the pan in the oven and cook another 5 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
3. When chicken is done, transfer thighs to a plate (be careful, as the pan handle will be hot). Place skillet back on the heat and add minced garlic and the juice of one lemon half. Cook for about 30 seconds, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Return chicken to the pan and cook it in the sauce for another 15 to 30 seconds.
4. Transfer everything to a serving platter. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve.