3 to 3-1/2 lb chicken
1-1/2 lbs tiny yellow potatoes, peeled
2 tbls melted butter or olive oil, for potatoes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon to finish
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme to finish
Preheat oven to 450 deg. Using poultry shears or a pair of sharp kitchen shears, remove the backbone of the chicken and discard. Season the cavity generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Lay the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan (a 12-oz cast-iron skillet works good for 3 lb birds) and gently pat the breast skin dry with a paper towel. Generously season the top of the bird with more salt and freshly ground black pepper. Nestle the potaoes around the chicken, and drizzle potatoes lightly with butter or olive oil. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt and pepper.
Roast the chicken for 30 to 45 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 165 degrees. Toss the potatoes after about 20 minutes, so that they cook evenly. When the chicken is finished, remove to platter and arrange potatoes around them. Squeeze juice of entire lemon over them and sprinkle with thyme. Serve.
Comments: Don't oil the chicken, keep the surface dry. The skin crisps much better if the skin is dry, NOT oiled. Be generous when sprinkling with salt, I use kosher. The lemon and thyme at the end are crucial. Also, I like to use the pan drippings to make gravy: sprinkle with three or four tbls flour and cook for a minute, stir in about 3 cups chicken stock, cook until thickened, add a little cream, couple lumps of butter, some of the lemon juice, and some thyme leaves. Season to taste.