Chicken thighs coated with a fresh herb paste.

Chicken thighs coated with a fresh herb paste. Credit: Marge Perry

Forgive the boast, but my herb garden exploded this summer. I have more oregano, thyme, basil, mint, cilantro, and parsley than I can possibly use—but I’m sure trying.

I make all kinds of pastes with the herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays. When making the dish below, you can double the herb mixture and do the same, which will give you instant summer flavor in the dead of winter. This herb blend can be used on pizza dough, spread on toasts and topped with beans and tomatoes for a simple appetizer, stirred into rice or pasta, or slathered on chicken or fish before roasting or grilling.

Feel free to play around with the herb combinations: try replacing the basil with a combination of fresh oregano and thyme, for example. In fact, whether or not you have an herb garden, this recipe is an excellent way to use up bits of fresh herbs you have in the refrigerator.

Herb Garden Chicken

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup fresh cilantro

¼ cup fresh parsley

¼ cup fresh basil

1 garlic clove

1 teaspoon lemon zest

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 ½ pounds bone-in, skin on chicken thighs

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

2. Combine the oil, cilantro, parsley, basil, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and purée until nearly smooth. The mixture should be a fairly thick, wet paste. If it is not spreadable, add a touch of water and mix again.

3. Spread the herb paste evenly over the surface of the chicken thighs. Place them on the sheet pan and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into the largest thigh (take care the thermometer does not hit the bone) registers 170-175 degrees, about 35 minutes.


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