Learning to cook came later in my life. My mother was not a cook—as kids we had protein drinks for breakfast and carrot juice for lunch. My interest in cooking only started when I had my own family. One of the first dinners I made, my husband and I now refer to as ‘Fish in Bondage”. The idea was to wrap fish in fennel fronds and grill it— the recipe said it was an easy —throw it on the grill and dinner is served. I tied kitchen string around the fish to keep the fennel on it. Quite a lot of string as it turned out. By the time the coals were ready (a blow-dryer was involved), it was 10:30. When we finally sat down I couldn’t eat it because the eye of the fish was staring up at me. The recipe below really is easy and quick to prepare AND there is no string or eyeballs involved.
This garlicky chicken dish is addictive. You could make it two or three times a week and not get tired of it. Not only is it delicious, but it takes less than 30
minutes to make, and everyone will think you have slaved over it all afternoon. Tell them that you have; hopefully they will do the dishes!
Don't be put off by the anchovies. Just to be clear, I am very picky about fish (see above). Lucy has always loved this dish and had no idea there were anchovies in it until she was taking pictures for this blog. So believe me don't skip the anchovies. If you are still skeptical, try less to begin with. The anchovies enhance the flavor of the chicken and the combination of capers, garlic, lemon and anchovies is what makes this so tasty. It can be your secret (as it was mine until Lucy found out :-) ). In the original recipe, Melissa Clark uses red pepper flakes. You can add a pinch if you want, but I think the flavor is so great as is. The downside to making garlicky chicken is now that your reputation as a wonderful cook has been established you will be expected to make more weekday meals like this one.
Adapted from Melissa Clark
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (4 to 5 thighs)
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 anchovy fillets
- 2 tablespoons drained capers, patted dry
- 1 lemon, halved
- Fresh chopped parsley, for serving
Heat oven to 350°. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and let them 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 (I use cast iron) over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the 5 smashed whole garlic cloves, anchovies, and capers. 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.
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. When chicken is done, Using an oven mitt as the handle will be hot, take the chicken out of the oven and put on to a plate.
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. Squeeze the remaining lemon half over the chicken and garnish with chopped parsley and serve. Or just eat it out of the pan!