Roasted Chicken With Fish-Sauce Butter
Roasting chicken thighs in a hot oven is a hands-off way to achieve two of life’s greatest pleasures: crispy skin and golden schmaltz. And you want that chicken fat because it will crisp hand-torn bread into croutons. This meal is made even more lovely thanks to a bold but balanced fish-sauce butter that you whip up on the stovetop while the rest of the meal takes care of itself in the oven. Be sure to start with cold butter; the gradual melting of the fat helps thicken the sauce without breaking it.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 4bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- ¾pound bread, crusts removed, bread torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups; see Tip)
- 1tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1tablespoon fish sauce
- 1tablespoon lemon juice
- 3tablespoons cold unsalted butter, kept whole
- Cilantro leaves with tender stems, for serving
Step 1Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. (The fish-sauce butter is plenty salty, so don’t overdo the salt here.) Arrange the chicken skin-side up on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil over the chicken skin, coating it evenly. Roast until the chicken is light gold and the sheet pan is pooling with hot, rendered chicken fat, about 25 minutes.
Step 2Take the sheet pan out of the oven, scatter the bread around the chicken and toss gently to coat in the chicken fat. Place the pan back in the oven and roast until the chicken is golden, crispy and sizzling (you’ll hear it), about 15 minutes.
Step 3While the chicken roasts, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan or stirring the sauce with a wooden spoon, until bubbling vigorously and the mixture has reduced by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. This part is fun: Turn off the heat and add the butter, constantly swirling the pan or stirring with a wooden spoon, until all of the butter has melted and incorporated into the fish sauce mixture.
Step 4To serve, scatter the cilantro all over the chicken and bread and spoon some of the fish-sauce butter over each chicken thigh, reserving some to add to each plate for dipping the chicken and croutons while eating (which is divine).