Halving or spatchcocking the chicken enables it to cook faster—a plus on busy weeknights. To spatchcock a bird, place it breast-side down and remove the backbone with kitchen shears or a sharp knife. Flatten with the palm of your hand.
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- One 3 1/2- to 4-pound chicken, halved or spatchcocked
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 ounces thick-cut bacon, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
Toast the fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small plate and let cool. Finely grind in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle.
Pat the chicken dry and sprinkle with half of the fennel; season generously with salt and pepper; set aside.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook the bacon in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a medium bowl. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Increase the heat to medium-high and carefully place the chicken halves, skin side down, in the skillet, pressing down so skin makes good contact with the surface of the pan. Cook until the skin is golden brown and starting to crisp, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°F, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
While the chicken rests, add the garlic, parsley, oil, lemon zest, thyme, red pepper flakes, and remaining fennel to the bacon. Mix well; season with salt and pepper. Serve the chicken drizzled with the pan juices and topped with the bacon mixture.
Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2016