Serves: Makes 4 servings
- 1 (31⁄2- to 4-pound) whole chicken
- 21⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 small yellow onion, quartered
- 1 lemon, halved
- 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Rinse the chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry well inside and out with paper towels. Sprinkle 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt in the chicken's cavity. Add the onion, lemon halves, parsley sprigs, and 1 tablespoon of the butter to the cavity. Use kitchen string to tie together the leg ends, and then to tie around the opposite end of the bird, securing the wing tips against the side of the chicken. Stir the garlic into the remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the chicken breast and spread the garlic butter between the skin and flesh. Season the surface of the chicken with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt.
- Set the bird breast up on a rack set in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes. Decrease the temperature to 350°F. Turn the chicken onto one side and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over. Sprinkle with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the bird onto its other side. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and baste the bird with the pan juices. Sprinkle with another 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Roast for 15 minutes longer. Return the chicken to its back and sprinkle with the remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon salt. Roast, basting every 10 minutes, for 25 to 30 minutes longer. To check for doneness, the thigh juices should run clear when pierced with a knife or an instant read thermometer will register 175°F when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh. A larger chicken may require up to 20 minutes more cooking time.
- Use a carving fork or large tongs to tip the onion, lemon, parsley, and juices from the chicken cavity into the roasting pan (these juices should also be clear, not at all pink). Transfer the chicken to a platter, remove the strings, and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Use a wooden spoon to press on the lemon halves to extract the juice. Set the roasting pan over medium heat and reduce the juices for a few minutes, until thickened. Strain the juices through a fine sieve.
- Use poultry shears or a large knife to cut the chicken into pieces, arranging them on a serving platter or individual plates. Pour the strained cooking juices over the chicken and serve.