When your Italian mother nags you to no end for your recipes, you know you’re doing something right in the kitchen!
I called Retro Rose to come to dinner just to show off a little. You see, Retro Rose is the queen of southern fried chicken. She learned it from my Grandmother Grace (the one from the south, not Italy) and has been making it for over fifty years. I couldn’t wait to see what she thought of this non-fried chicken. And, as predicted, she was making it two days later. She gets just as excited about cooking something a new way as I do.
It may seem crazy to turn on the oven in a heat wave, but it’s too hot to stand outside, even for two minutes. So into the oven went six pieces of chicken on the bone, adorned with a dry rub.
When roasted at a very high temperature in a cast iron pan, (the way I roast whole chickens), the chicken resembles a fried chicken that is still tender and juicy inside, yet a much healthier choice.
It started with the rub: Fennel seed, coriander seed, red chili pepper, sea salt, black pepper.
It ended in a hot old fashioned cast iron pan in the oven at 450 degrees. And as long as the oven is hot, perfect side choices are roasted green beans with a roasted carrot garnish or roasted red corn on the cob.
The is the first time I’ve used coriander seed, and was inspired by the dipping oil spice mix at a recent eatery, Bria Bistro. I was thrilled when the food server shared the ingredients and after some experimentation, this became a rub that I have been using frequently. It is particularly nice with roasted carrots.
Fennel Coriander Spice Rub
- 1 tablespoon fennel seed, toasted
- 2 teaspoons coriander seed, toasted
- 1/2 teaspoon tellicherry peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons sea salt (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon red chile pepper (optional)
- Grind fennel seed, coriander seed, tellicherry peppercorns in magic bullet (or spice grinder)
- Add salt, and here you need to decide how much. You can even exclude the salt or add a little at a time to your own taste. If you want heat, add crushed red pepper.
Cast Iron Cooking: Oven-Fried Chicken with Aromatic Spice Rub
- 6-8 pieces of chicken with skin and bone I used breasts, wings, legs. You can use various and adjust cooking times)
- olive oil
- lime juice
- spice rub see recipe below
- cast iron frying pan
- One hour prior to preparing, rub chicken very lightly with olive olive oil, rub generously with rub, cover and bring to room temperature.
- minutes prior to cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you don’t have good ventilation, reduce heat to 400 degrees.
- minutes prior to cooking, put pan in oven to heat up. Rub with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
- Make sure chicken pieces have enough rub on them. You may need to add more.
- Place in hot pan, skin side down. Put in lower part of oven.
- If cooking larger pieces (breasts) turn after 30 minutes. Cook 30 minutes more.
- If only cooking legs and thighs turn at 20 minutes.I cooked all pieces at same time and legs and wings were able to brown more, which we liked.
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