In an older recipe, I had stayed close to our Mediterranean traditions borrowing ideas from North Africa and the Middle East to propose the Rosemarry, Preserved Lemon, Garlic, and Orange Chicken.
Now I wend a long way east, taking inspiration from a very interesting recipe in Serious Eats.
“There’s a lot going on in the marinade, but one of the standouts—arguably even the key ingredient—is anchovy-based Vietnamese fish sauce, or nuoc mam,” write Emily and Matt Clifton. “Lime, ginger, and fish sauce add bold, bright, deep flavor to chicken,” they point out.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the particular fish sauce they mention, so I used the standard Thai fish sauce (nam pla) available at the Asian food stores in Greece. Limes are, again, an imported fruit that we can only get on Kea in the summer, when bars and the more sophisticated restaurants use it. I only had the local fragrant lemons, which, I must admit, are quite different in flavor; I decided to combine lemon and orange in my recipe.
I didn’t discard the very flavorful Vietnamese-inspired marinade but used it as the sauce to bake both the chicken as well as the accompanying vegetables, potatoes, some of our last garden peppers, and squash, drizzling with olive oil, as I usually do.
I think you will like this deep-flavored, easy chickenand vegetable dish as much as Costas and I did…
About 2 1/2 pounds (1 kilo 250 grams) chicken, spatchcocked
1/4 cup (60ml) soy sauce
1/4 cup (60ml) Asian fish sauce
1/4 (60ml) sunflower oil
2 packed tablespoons (7g) fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems, finely chopped (optional)
¼ cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup (60ml) fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon (5g) finely grated zest from 1 orange
3 tablespoon (30g) minced peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons smoked hot pepper, or Aleppo pepper flakes
4 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated (about 4 teaspoons)
The VEGETABLES etc.
3 medium baking potatoes peeled and cut into about 1 ½-inch pieces
1 pound peeled and seeded butternut squash cut into about 1 ½ -inch pieces
1 large red bell pepper seeded and thinly sliced
2 small, sliced oranges, plus 1 orange peeled, quartered and sliced
About 1/3 cup olive oil
Cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)
Lay the chicken on a parchment-lined plate or pan, or place in a large zipper-lock bag, if you plan to refrigerate it with the marinade.
In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, fish sauce, oil, cilantro, if using, lemon and orange juice and zest, ginger, smoked or hot pepper, and garlic. Pour half the marinade over the chicken, and massage to make sure it coats well the entire front and back. Cover with kitchen film, or seal the bag and let the chicken marinate for at least 45 minutes, and up to 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F (200°C) and set the oven rack in the middle position.
Line a rimmed baking dish with parchment paper and spread the potatoes, squash, and pepper pieces pouring the rest of the marinade over, and tossing well to make sure all vegetables are coated. Add the quartered orange slices and toss again.
Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the bag, and arrange over the vegetables, skin-side up, pouring any marinade drippings over, arrange the orange slices over the breast and thighs and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for about 45 min. then cover loosely with parchment paper and bake another 20 minutes or more, until done –the center of the thickest part of the thighs should register 155 to 160°F (68 to 71°C) on an instant-read thermometer.
If the chicken skin is not brown enough by the time the thighs are cooked through, set broiler to high and broil for 1 minute or until browned and crisp, but be very careful, because the skin can burn fast.
Let rest for 5 minutes before serving, transfering chicken and vegetables to a platter, if you like, and garnished with orange slices and cilantro.