Recipe: Herb Grilled Organic Chicken w/Lemon Confit & Spicy Greens

A fresh take on organic chicken with lemon and herbs

• CHEF MATTHEW PIETSCH has been with Fennville’s Salt of the Earth since the farm-to-table restaurant near Saugatuck opened in a historic storefront in 2009. He gets as many of his ingredients as possible from within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant. Before moving to Western Michigan, Pietsch worked in Detroit for Opus One catering and for Roast at the Westin Book Cadillac. Now, he raises chickens at his home in the small country town. The Salt of the Earth cookbook, Cook Simply, Simply Cook, is scheduled to be published in late winter or early spring.

> Fresh Herb Grilled Organic Chicken with Lemon Confit and Spicy Greens

Photograph by J. Brown

1 whole organic roasting chicken, fresh
(We suggest brining the chicken 24 hours before cooking using your favorite all-purpose poultry brine and adding flavors, as you desire.)

6 lemons cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
Olive oil,  enough to cover (about 1-2 quarts)
Place sliced lemons in ovenproof container. Cover with olive oil and put in 325-degree oven. Cook ’til lemons are tender but not falling apart, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool. Strain lemons from oil, reserving oil.

6 green onions, oiled, seasoned, grilled, then minced
4 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
6 ounces of the reserved lemon-confit oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste

Preheat grill fully before adding chicken. (We suggest all-natural hardwood lump charcoal for grilling, but use what’s available to you.) Place the chicken on low heat to start, and move it to avoid flare-ups and excess browning. Place over higher heat to finish chicken through and cook to an internal temperature of 165. Meanwhile, place the drained lemon confit slices on the grill.  Don’t move the lemons too much. Allow them to caramelize with a nice char. Remove from grill and set aside.

Allow time for the chicken to rest once it has been removed from the grill. Tent foil over the chicken and let sit 5-10 minutes.

To serve, dress some organic greens lightly with the vinaigrette. Season well to taste with sea salt and fresh pepper. Place chicken over greens and drizzle with a bit more vinaigrette. Place grilled lemon confit throughout.