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Grilled Chicken With Za’atar

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  • 2 heads garlic, top third cut off
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 3-4 pound chicken, cut in half lengthwise, backbone removed
  • 1/4 cup za’atar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 small Serrano chile, seeded, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F.
  2. Put garlic on a large sheet of foil.
  3. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. oil and wrap tightly with foil.
  4. Roast until tender and golden brown, 45-50 minutes.
  5. Let cool.
  6. Place chicken in a 13x9x2” glass baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle 2 ½ Tbsp. za’atar over chicken.
  8. Squeeze roasted garlic cloves out of skins and into a small bowl; mash into a paste with the back of a fork.
  9. Add 4 Tbsp. oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, chile, and marjoram; whisk to blend.
  10. Pour over chicken; turn to coat.
  11. Cover; chill overnight.
  12. Season chicken with salt and pepper; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high.
  14. Brush grill rack with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil.
  15. Grill chicken, turning occasionally, until skin is crisp and browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of thigh without touching bone reads 160° F, about 30 minutes.
  16. Transfer chicken to a cutting board, sprinkle with remaining 1 ½ Tbsp. za’atar, and let rest 10 minutes.
  17. Cut each half into 4 pieces and serve on a platter.

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