Lemon-Thyme Roast Chicken
One 3 to 4 pound chicken
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt per pound of chicken
1 whole lemon, preferably organic, punctured all over with a fork
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, for serving
1. Rinse and dry the chicken thoroughly inside and out, then rub it with the salt inside and out. Stuff the lemon into the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under and tie the legs together with kitchen twine.
2. Place the chicken on a plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.
3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Twenty minutes before roasting, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and pat it dry (it will have released some liquid as it sat).
4. Place the chicken breast-side up in a shallow, flameproof roasting pan or heavy skillet. Set the pan over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the chicken begins to sizzle. Transfer the pan to the middle shelf of the oven and roast undisturbed for 55 minutes, until the chicken is crisp and well browned and the juices run clear when the thigh is poked.
5. Sprinkle the chicken all over with thyme leaves, season generously with black pepper and baste with the pan juices. Tip the chicken up and let the juices flow from the cavity into the roasting pan. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, and let rest for 15 minutes.
6. Remove the lemon from the cavity and cut it in half (the lemon will be very hot).
Transfer the lemon halves to a strainer and squeeze the juice into the roasting pan. Return the pan to the heat and bring the liquid to a simmer, scraping up all the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the pan juices into a clear measuring glass and skim the clear fat off the top (or use a gravy separator).
7. Untruss the chicken, separate and cut off the legs, and cut off the wings at the second joint. Cut the chicken in half lengthwise, on either side of the spine. Cut down the halves crosswise, through the bone, to quarter them. Arrange the chicken pieces on a platter and rub butter over all. Serve drizzled with the pan juices.