Like a lot of people my age, the Silver Palate Cookbook became my go-to cookbook when I first started cooking for friends and girlfriends. In fact, the first brunch I ever cooked for my wife featured two recipes from the Silver Palate. Julee Rosso's and Sheila Lukins's recipes are simultaneously sophisticated and down to earth, and—here's the best part—they always work.
Rosso and Lukins are known for their chicken recipes. The Lemon Chicken recipe that follows rocks, and I think it's much better than the duo's Chicken Marbella, which everyone I know who cooks has made at least once in their lives. The crust gets all crunchy and golden brown and is so good you might find yourself picking it off your piece of chicken with your hands.
- 2 chickens (2 1/2 pounds each), cut into quarters
- 2 cups fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup corn oil
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 2 lemons sliced paper-thin
Combine the chicken pieces and lemon juice in a bowl just lare enough to hold them comfortably. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally.
Drain the chicken thoroughly; pat dry. Fill a plastic bag with the flour, salt, paprika, and black pepper; shake well to mix. Put 2 pieces of chicken into the bag at a time; shake, coating completely. Shake off any excess flour.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Heat the corn oil in a frying pan or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Fry chicken pieces, a few at a time, until well browned and crisp, about 10 minutes per batch.
Arrange browned chicken in a single layer in a large shallow baking pan. Sprinkle evenly with the lemon zest and brown sugar. Pour chicken stock around chicken pieces. Set a thin lemon slice on top of each piece of chicken.
Bake chicken until tender, 50 minutes.