This recipe may be a little bit time consuming, but if you follow it step-by-step, it is very easy and makes the perfect 'Sunday Family Dinner' and is great for company.
1 whole chicken*
1 medium bunch fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
5 T softened (not melted) unsalted butter
2 lemons, zested (1 reserved)
5 garlic cloves, pressed or very thinly sliced
2 scallions, very thinly sliced
coarse sea salt and ground pepper
1 3/4 lbs medium fingerling potatoes*
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 bunch fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
1) Preheat oven to 450 with rack set in middle. Remove any excess fat around chicken cavities and discard. Rinse chicken and pat dry, inside and out. Make sure to remove liver and gizzards if it's packaged inside (some are and some not).
2) In a small bowl, combine basil, butter, lemon zest, garlic, and scallions.
3) Starting at chicken's neck, slide hands under skin, carefully loosening skin on breasts and thighs. Spread butter mixture between loosened skin and meat; be careful not to tear skin. Rub hands over skin to spread mixture into crevices.
4) Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with olive oil, 1/2 t salt, and enough pepper to coat well. Cut reserved lemon into quarters and set aside.
5) Heat roasting pan in oven for 10 minutes. Remove; then put potatoes and any oil left in bowl into pan, keeping potatoes pushed to edges to make room for chicken. Place chicken in pan, breast-side up.
6) Roast chicken for 20 minutes, then remove pan from oven and turn bird breast-side down. Continue to roast for 20 more minutes, then removed from oven and turn bird breast-side up again. Sprinkle parsley over potatoes, then stir to coat with pan drippings. Squeeze reserved lemon over chicken and put rinds into pan. Continue to roast until juices run clear when thigh is pierced with a fork, or an instant-read thermometer inserted in breast reached 160...20-30 minutes.
7) Remove pan from oven; let chicken rest for 15 minutes before transferring to a cutting board. Let rest for 5 more minutes, then carve. Spoon pan juices over chicken; serve with potatoes and roasted lemon.
*I like to buy my chicken from Homeland-they have a whole chicken in a brand called Smart Chicken. It's a little pricier than a whole chicken from Walmart, but it's nice because it's not packaged in slimy water and they trim off most fat.
*Fingerling potatoes I also buy at Homeland. They come in a package in the produce section and I use the whole package.