Try and find an organic, or at least a free-range chicken for this recipe. If you buy the whole chicken, you will have the carcass for making a stock or broth and you can reserve the wings for another recipe. Chicken breasts alone can be used here, but I like to grill the legs and thighs also as I prefer their flavour.
The chosen herb, marjoram, is my absolute favourite, however it can be replaced with thyme, rosemary or tarragon if you wish, all of which are great with chicken. The roasted almond sauce is also delicious served with grilled lamb.
If you are worried about jointing the chicken, either buy joints or ask your butcher to do it for you.
- The flavor, texture and appearance of a free-range chicken will be superior to that of an intensively reared bird
- Marjoram, chicken and lemon is a perfect combination of flavours
- 1 chicken, jointed into 8-12 pieces with bones removed from thighs and drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons of chopped marjoram
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Almond Sauce
- 100g un-skinned almonds
- 1 clove of garlic peeled
- small pinch Maldon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons of marjoram leaves
- 2 -4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 -3 tablespopons water
- lemon juice, a few drops as necessary
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
- Start by making the sauce.
- To peel the almonds, place them in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a bare simmer. Strain immediately and rinse under a cold tap. Slip the skins off the almonds.
- Place the almonds on an oven tray and roast in a moderate oven 180c / 350f / gas 4 until pale golden. Remove and cool.
- Place a pinch of sea salt in a mortar and add the garlic and marjoram leaves. Pound to a paste. Add the almonds gradually and again pound. They will start to break down and start to get creamy. Add a little olive oil and water as you go. When the ingredients have taken on a pesto type consistency, fold in the parmesan and taste.
- The almonds will be a little bit gritty and this is perfect. Correct seasoning and consistency adding a few drops of lemon juice and water as necessary. Cover and chill until needed.
- Place a cast iron grill pan on the heat. While the pan is heating, place the chicken joints in a bowl and rub with enough olive oil to glaze them.
- Add half the marjoram and a squeeze of lemon juice and mix well.
- When the pan is just smoking, place the joints of chicken, skin side down on to the hot grill. Allow them to colour well, adjusting the heat under the pan as necessary.
- When the skin is crispy and golden, turn and cook on the other side. Season the crisp skin with salt and pepper at this point.
- As soon as a crispy surface is achieved on both sides, turn the heat down to complete the cooking without burning the meat. If you wish you can transfer the pan to a moderate oven now to finish cooking.
- Serve the cooked chicken, sprinkled with the rest of the chopped marjoram, lemon wedges and a little extra olive oil if you think it needs it.
- If you are serving the roast almond and marjoram sauce, pass it separately.
- A salad of leaves and rustic roast potatoes make an excellent accompaniment to the grilled chicken, as do glazed carrots.