I was fllipping through a recent issue of SAVEUR in search of springtime recipes when a particular dish leapt out at me: “Roasted Morel-Rubbed Chicken with Charred Lemon, Asparagus, and Potatoes” from Chef John Fleer at Rhubarb in Asheville, NC.
Now I didn’t follow this recipe to the letter, after all I’m a girl on a budget and morels are expensive! (Also they were out at Whole Foods, though I coulda sworn I’ve gotten them at Fresh Market before…)
But yes, my budget. I opted for shiitakes, another woodsy ‘shroom, that I powdered up in my food processor once the spice grinder balked.
One sheet pan, sizzling merrily with dinner as you extract it from the oven, all the ingredients emerging from lock-up as chatterbox friends.
Synergy has its own air of decadence. Enjoy the moment—and the dish—while it’s here.
Shiitake-Crusted Chicken over Charred Lemon and Potatoes (adapted from Chef John Fleer)
1, 3–4 lb. chicken (note: my instructions below are for keeping chicken intact, not halving it)
1 oz. dried shiitakes, chopped and then ground into a powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed
8 oz. white button mushrooms
2 lemons, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds with seeds removed
Salt & pepper
1. Pat chicken dry, then salt liberally. In a small bowl, combine shiitake powder, thyme, mustard, and cayenne with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Rub over skin side of chicken, then leave at room temperature for 45 minutes or chill overnight.
2. While the chicken rests, preheat the oven to 375. In a 4-quart saucepan, bring potatoes covered by an inch of water to a boil. Reduce to medium-high and let cook for 15 minutes. Drain and cool, then halve and reserve in a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Spread lemon slices out in an even layer and cook, turning once, for 3–4 minutes until charred. Set half the lemons in the bowl with the potatoes and reserve the rest for garnish.
4. Add asparagus, button mushrooms, fenugreek, and salt & pepper to the potatoes and lemons. Toss, then spread out onto a foil-lined baking sheet.
5. Place chicken, skin side up, on top of vegetables and roast for 30–35 minutes. Flip chicken over and roast for another 20 minutes until chicken has reached 165 F internally at the thickest part.
6. Remove chicken from oven and heat broiler. Return chicken and vegetables and brown for 5 minutes, until chicken skin and potatoes grow crisp.
7. Let chicken rest for ten minutes before serving. Garnish with lemon slices.