Sunday, January 23, 2011

Roast Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Tapenade

a dozen jumbo black olives, diced fine (about 4 Tbsp)
4 Tbsp diced garlic
pinch kosher salt
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp chili oil

In general I disdain prepared garlic; however lately I've found tubs of diced garlic in the deli section of the grocery. It's packed in a little oil. The flavor is very sharp and nutty, and the texture is soft. That makes it perfect for this application. You can certainly use fresh garlic if you want; if you do, mix it with just a few drops of olive oil to moisten it.

To make the tapenade, just combine all the ingredients, mix well, and let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or more. If your olives are anything but American-style mild black olives, you may wish to omit the pinch of extra salt.

Work your fingers gently between the skin of the chicken and the meat. Work carefully so as not to tear the skin. You should be able to free it from the breasts, except for along the keel centerline, and from the thighs and drumsticks.

Distribute the tapenade generously underneath the skin. This works best if you put a blob just under the edge and smooth your fingers along the outside to work the tapenade further in.

Roast the chicken in a 450F oven for an hour and a quarter or until the skin is browned and crisp and the thigh internal temperature has passed 165F.

Leftover tapenade can also be enjoyed as a spread on crackers or toast points, by itself or with cream cheese.

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