Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 1 hr
- 1 (3½-to 4-pound) whole chicken, spatchcocked
- Kosher salt
- 2 heads garlic
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 pounds mixed sweet peppers, seeded and cut into quarters or slices about 2 inches thick
- 1 cup whole pickled pepperoncini peppers
- 1 pound vine-ripened tomatoes, quartered
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 2 tablespoons lightly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 loaf crusty bread, warmed
- Set the chicken on a large baking sheet and season all over with salt (I use 1½ to 2 teaspoons). Let the chicken sit, uncovered, at room temperature for 1 hour or refrigerate for up to 6 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a sharp knife, slice off the tapered end from each head of garlic, exposing the little cloves. Set both heads of garlic on a sheet of foil, drizzle with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and season with salt. Wrap in the foil. Roast for 1 hour (perfect timing for the chicken to marinate). Remove the garlic from the oven and let cool.
- Increase the oven temperature to 450 F. Place a large cast-iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes to heat. In a large bowl, combine the peppers, pepperoncini, tomatoes, oregano, fennel seeds and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with a few generous pinches of salt and toss well. Carefully add the pepper mixture to the hot skillet in the oven. Cook for 15 minutes to let the peppers and tomatoes begin searing and roasting.
- Meanwhile, rub the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil into the chicken skin. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and place the chicken skin side up on top of the roasting peppers. Place back in the oven and roast for 30 minutes (you are forcing the peppers to break down while the drippings and juices from the chicken stew them).
- While the chicken roasts, squeeze the roasted garlic from the heads into a small bowl. Add the rosemary, parsley and lemon zest and juice. Remove the chicken from the oven. Carefully tilt the pan and, using a small ladle or spoon, collect 1/4 cup or so of the pan juices. Mix the pan juices with the roasted garlic–herb mixture, then carefully schmear it all over the chicken and around the pan. Place the skillet back in the oven for 15 minutes longer to allow the herb mixture to melt into the chicken skin. Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest in the skillet for 10 minutes.
- To serve, carefully transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, separate the leg quarters from the bird and split the thighs and legs. Carefully remove the chicken breast and wings from the bones and slice. Nestle the sliced chicken breast into the pan with the peppers and place the bone-in thighs, legs and wing pieces alongside the breast. Serve with warm crusty bread to soak up all the yumminess.