Crispy Chicken with Peppery Pesto Pasta & Best Salmon Recipes

A one-dish wonder with some crispy chicken to boot. We highly recommend using a splatter screen for this one, as the time it takes to clean the kitchen is very often our biggest reason to want to skip out on cooking!

SERVES 6 TO 8 / PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 35 TO 40 MINUTES

3 pounds bone-in or boneless, skin-on chicken thighs

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons seasoning (we use Penzeys Berbere Seasoning, paprika, or anything else)

2 teaspoons fat (coconut oil, lard, tallow, or ghee)

FOR THE PESTO AND ZUCCHINI

1 cup firmly packed arugula

¼ cup Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

¼ cup fresh cilantro

¼ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup walnuts (optional)

3 zucchini, julienned or spiralized into pasta-like noodles

1. Pat the chicken thighs dry. Sprinkle the skin side with some of the salt and pepper. Flip over and season the meat side with the remaining salt and pepper and whatever seasoning you choose.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Heat a large ovenproof cast-iron or stainless steel skillet over high heat. Add the fat and when hot, add the chicken thighs, skin side down. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook the thighs for 10 minutes, until the skin is crispy and browned (the chicken pieces will give off a lot of juices, causing quite a lot of splatter. Now is a perfect time to use a splatter screen!). Turn the pieces over and cook for a few minutes on the skinless side, just until slightly browned. Remove the chicken to a plate.

4. Meanwhile, make the pesto: In a food processor, combine the arugula, parsley, cilantro, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and walnuts (if using) and process until well combined.

5. In the pan the chicken was cooked in, toss the zucchini noodles with pesto (see Note).

6. Place the chicken pieces on top of the zucchini, skin side up, and place the entire pan in the oven. Bake until the chicken pieces are cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes.

NOTE: If you prefer raw noodles to cooked, in step 5 simply toss the noodles with the pesto in a separate bowl and cook the chicken in the oven until cooked through.

One-Pan Roast Salmon and Asparagus

You may have picked up on the fact that we are huge fans of the put-a-bunch-of-stuff-in-a-pot-or-pan-and-that’s-dinner approach. Fish—since it cooks so quickly—makes for some of the quickest dinners out there, but you have to be cautious about what you cook it with and for how long. This one is perfect for spring when asparagus is in season at the farmers’ market. Feel free to swap the salmon for cod, halibut, or arctic char, and/or the asparagus for fresh green beans or artichoke hearts (frozen or canned in water). If you’re not a fan of capers, Try some of the sauces listed in Sauces and Spices instead.

SERVES 3 TO 4 / PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES / TOTAL TIME: 20 MINUTES

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound skin-on salmon fillet, cut into 4 even portions

1 lemon, sliced into rounds

1 pound asparagus, tough ends removed

3 tablespoons ghee, butter, or other fat

3 tablespoons capers, rinsed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

Salt and black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil (this makes cleanup a breeze) and drizzle with a little bit of the oil.

2. Place the salmon pieces skin-side down in the middle of the pan and top with 1 or 2 lemon rounds apiece. Place the asparagus around the salmon, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and stir to coat.

3. Bake until the salmon is just beginning to flake easily, about 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, melt the ghee in a microwave-safe bowl (or on the stovetop in a saucepan). Once melted, stir in the capers, garlic, and lemon juice.

5. Spoon the sauce over the salmon and asparagus, then sprinkle with the parsley and salt and pepper to taste.