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Always better with butter

  • PHOTOS COURTESY NEW YORK TIMES

This recipe is extremely delicious and does not take much work either. Take sheet-pan chicken, toast croutons in the schmaltz and — this is the brilliant moment — serve it with that sauce, made with fish sauce, brown sugar, lemon and butter. You could skip the croutons if you want, but they add a fun crunch.

Roasted chicken with fish-sauce butter

Ingredients:

• 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and black pepper
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 3/4 pound bread, crusts removed, bread torn into bite-size pieces (about 4 cups; see Tip)
• 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, kept whole
Cilantro leaves with tender stems, for serving

Directions:

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season lightly with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken skin-side up on a sheet pan and drizzle the oil over the chicken skin, coating it evenly. Roast until the chicken is light gold, about 25 minutes.

Take the sheet pan out of the oven, scatter the bread around the chicken and toss gently to coat in the chicken fat. Place the pan back in the oven and roast until the chicken is golden and sizzling, about 15 minutes.

While the chicken roasts, combine the brown sugar, fish sauce and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, occasionally swirling the pan or stirring the sauce with a wooden spoon, until bubbling vigorously and the mixture has reduced by about half, 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the butter, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, until all the butter has melted into the fish sauce mixture.

Scatter the cilantro all over the chicken and bread and spoon some of the fish-sauce butter over each chicken thigh, reserving some to add to each plate for dipping the chicken and croutons while eating (which is divine).

Total time: 45 minutes, serves 4.

Tip:

Many breads will work here, especially stale loaves that you’re trying to use up. Crusty sourdough lends pleasurable tang for instance, while chewy tender milk bread tastes comfortingly sweet.

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