I adapted this crispy lemon chicken thigh recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. If you love lemon, this is for you. It’s full of lemon flavor from lemon juice, lemon pepper, and lemon zest. Even if you don’t love lots of lemon, don’t worry. The lemon is balanced by brown sugar for sweetness and a touch of paprika for a hint of bite.
It’s also quite versatile. Eat it hot right out of the oven, or make extra and have it cold for lunch the next day. It’s also good for picnics when the weather is good.
I cut the original recipe down to serve one (instead of six), but also made a few other small changes. The cookbook recipe called for lemon extract. It’s an ingredient I’m never going to use up (unless I make lots of lemon chicken). So, I increased the lemon juice a bit.
I then swapped the plain black pepper for lemon pepper. Lemon pepper is a bit exotic, but I do use it for other things (try it on string beans or broccoli). This way, I kept the lemony flavor without having to buy a special ingredient only to use a spoonful or two (which annoys me).
You end up with a crispy crust, almost like fried chicken, except there’s very little oil, and a lot less mess. You start it in a frying pan to get crispy and then finish by baking it in the toaster oven.
Incidentally, the recipe on the facing page of the cookbook is for Chicken Monterey, made with orange juice. I haven’t done it, but I bet orange juice and zest would work for this too. You might try a bit of orange juice concentrate, or upping the zest to substitute for lemon pepper/extract. I’d also reduce the brown sugar, since orange is sweeter than lemon.
For the best flavor, let the chicken marinate overnight (or all day) in the fridge. If you don’t have that much time, let it sit for at least half an hour.
If you can’t have flour (or gluten) substitute potato starch or rice flour instead. It might even be good with almond flour. That way it’s gluten-free (and Pesach-friendly).
More Chicken Thigh Recipes