Navel Orange Marinated Chicken
1 tablespoon fennel seeds (from Bulk)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (from Bulk)
1 teaspoon whole black pepper (from Bulk)
4 California navel oranges, zested and juiced
8 cloves garlic, finely minced into a paste
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided (plus more for brushing the chicken)
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 to 4 pounds)
1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half longways
1 medium fennel bulb with fronds attached
In a heavy bottomed pan, toast the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, and black pepper over medium heat, stirring often until fragrant, but not burnt or smoking. Grind the toasted spices in a mortar and pestle or in a spice grinder.
Prepare the chicken marinade: In a zip-top bag, combine the zest and juice of the Navel oranges, 1 tablespoon of the spice mix, the minced garlic paste, and 3 tablespoons olive oil.
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Turn the chicken breast-side down, and using a sharp pair of poultry shears, cut alongside one side of the spine to separate it from its ribs. Repeat on the other side of the spine to fully remove the spine. Flip your chicken breast-side up, and use the palm of your hand to press in the middle of the breast bone, flattening the chicken.
Coat the chicken generously with kosher salt until the chicken is fully covered, about 1 tablespoon per pound of chicken. Add your chicken to the marinade, squish it around, and allow to rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F. For the fennel, separate the fronds and stalks from the fennel bulb, reserving the fronds for garnishing later. Trim the bottom of the fennel bulb and split down the middle. Then cut each half into 3 wedges. On a rimmed sheet pan, dress your fingerling potatoes and fennel wedges with 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, a large pinch of kosher salt, and a pinch of the spice mix. Toss to coat.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Focus on making sure the skin side has as little moisture as possible. Place the chicken on the rimmed sheet pan and arrange the potatoes and fennel around it. Brush the skin with olive oil and place in the center of your oven, roasting until the chicken registers 150°F in the thickest part of the breast, about 45 minutes. Remove chicken from the oven and allow to rest on the sheet pan for 15 minutes. Top with navel orange zest, a pinch of the spice mix, and serve with navel orange wedges.
Yield: 6 servings