One-Pot Wonders

Sheet-Pan Chicken With Figs & Bread Salad

by:
August 14, 2018
30 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

Inspired by two recipes from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook, this sheet pan chicken dinner has several tricks up its sleeve that make it especially easy, inexpensive, and satisfying, such as making one scrappy vinaigrette that does triple-duty, jump-starting drumsticks under the broiler for the crispiest skin (and less hot oven time), and macerating dried figs in vinegar and hot water so they’ll stay nicely plump when roasted. It’s a combination of flavors and textures I can’t get enough of, and it’s filling enough to satisfy on its own, no sides needed.
EmilyC

Watch This Recipe
Sheet-Pan Chicken With Figs & Bread Salad
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided, plus more to taste (balsamic or other types of vinegar can be substituted)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (8 to 10)
  • Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 dried figs (Mission or Turkish), stems removed and halved
  • 4 cups torn bread chunks (from half a loaf of sourdough, ciabatta, or French bread)
  • 1 small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
  • A few large handfuls of arugula
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. To make vinaigrette: combine olive oil, 3 tablespoons vinegar, and honey in a small bowl. Whisk to combine until the honey dissolves. The vinaigrette should be more tart than sweet; adjust balance if needed. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the broiler. Place the drumsticks on a half sheet pan (for easy clean-up, line it with parchment), and blot them dry with a paper towel so they’ll crisp better. Toss them in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette until they’re evenly coated, then season well on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Broil drumsticks until the skin browns and crisps on the first side, then flip and repeat on the other side, about 6 minutes (note that total time will depend on the intensity of your broiler). Remove the pan from the broiler; set aside.
  4. Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine halved figs with 2 tablespoons vinegar and 3 tablespoons hot water; let macerate. (For efficiency, slice the onion and prep the bread now too.) When oven is ready, drain the figs.
  5. Add the bread, onion, and figs to the sheet pan, and toss with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette. (Place the chicken to one side to make this easier.) Arrange the contents of the sheet pan in an even layer.
  6. Roast until the drumsticks are browned and fully cooked through (about 20 to 25 minutes). The bread should be nicely browned and crispy at this point, but if it’s not, remove the chicken to a plate and roast the bread, onions, and figs for a few more minutes while the chicken rests.
  7. Let cool for about 5 minutes, then add the arugula to the sheet pan. Toss well to coat the arugula and bread in the chicken drippings. Add more vinaigrette if desired. (If you want additional vinaigrette for serving, mix up a little more.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Heather Hildebrand
    Heather Hildebrand
  • Tori Pintar
    Tori Pintar
  • CanCanEats
    CanCanEats
  • John McElroy
    John McElroy
EmilyC

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

    63 Reviews

    kd May 1, 2020
    Tried this today... definitely not a winner with me. The chicken was bland.
    I may try it again and actually marinate the chicken because with the figs and arugula this recipe really should work
     
    Emma L. November 5, 2019
    This just came out of the photo studio at the office and it's soooooo good! Can't wait to make at home for dinner soon.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC November 6, 2019
    Aw thank you, Emma -- so glad you liked it!!
     
    adavis September 24, 2019
    The family loved it. We used sherry vinegar. I suggest making a bit more vinaigrette for the end toss.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 25, 2019
    So glad this was a hit with your family! Thanks for your note!
     
    Heather H. January 29, 2019
    Made this for dinner last night, and i’ve gotta say, sherry vinegar is where it’s at! I doubled the vinaigrette and let the chicken sit in 6 Tbsp of it while the broiler heated. I used chicken thighs because we’re not leg fans. I tossed the arugula with the excess vinaigrette and a pinch of salt before adding to the pan. It was deeeelicious! Even the 5 yr old who claims not to like salads because “they’re for grownups” ate his whole plate.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC January 29, 2019
    Wonderful!! So glad you make and liked this, Heather. Love that your 5 y/o cleared his plate, too! : )
     
    Heather H. January 29, 2019
    Funny thing... I just told my son if he didn’t come to the table and eat the lunch I made him, I was gonna make him a salad for lunch instead... his response? “Ok, but I only like that salad we had last night...” lol
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC January 29, 2019
    Ok, this just made my day. Thank you! : )
     
    dharma C. January 8, 2019
    I just made this and it was great. Also perfect for variations and improvisations. I used boneless chicken thighs and marinated them for about 15 minutes. Also, I added the fig soaking liquid to the vinaigrette before tossing with the veggies. I will definitely make this again!
     
    Candaceelise November 7, 2018
    This is a wonderful template for a unique dinner that everyone loves. Myself, husband, 4 year old, and 2 year old all gobbled it up. I did make some changes to make it even more week-night ready. First, the moment I got back from the store, I tossed the chicken in some homemade salad dressing (diy good seasoning) and threw it in the freezer. The night before I planned to make it, I pulled it out to defrost. It was defrosted and perfectly marinated for broiling. I did wipe off some of the marinade so that the skin would still get crispy. Also the store did not have figs, but did have dried plums, which were a delicious substitute. I used a mix of thighs and legs, keeping the thighs on a separate pan. And to top it off, I accidentally did not purchase a plain loaf of french bread like I had planned, but purchased an "everything" french loaf. Everything really worked so well, it'll definitely be a common staple on our meal rotation. Thank you for such a versatile recipe! This is what cooking is all about.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC November 7, 2018
    Hi Candaceelise: Thanks so much for your sharing your tweaks and for your nice note! So happy that this is going into your meal rotation, too! ; )
     
    Tori P. November 1, 2018
    I made a riff off this using and really loved it. Following some of the other suggestions I did mix of ACV and Balsamic. I used skin on bone in chicken thighs that I cooked skin side up with out turning at 400F for about 35 mins. I did not have figs but I had red grapes so I roasted those and roasted large hunks of shallots too because no red onion. I guess what I'm saying is the premise of this recipe is wonderful and highly adaptable. :)
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC November 1, 2018
    Yay—that’s so great to hear! I cook exactly the same way (making subs based on what’s at hand) so I appreciate comments like this! Thanks so much for trying it and circling back.
     
    Francoise November 4, 2018
    Perfect-- I was going to browse the comments to find out if anyone used thighs instead of drumsticks!
     
    Nancy E. October 14, 2018
    I left a comment and question on October 6th but have not had a reply - any chance of having my questions answered soon? Thanks.
     
    Eric K. October 14, 2018
    Just responded! Thanks, Nancy.
     
    Nancy E. October 7, 2018
    This evening I made this dish following the recipe nearly exactly - instead of leg I used thighs otherwise it was as written. We were three for dinner and all thought this was a delicious dish. The flavors from the vinaigrette, onions and figs were a very tasty combination and I will make this again. There was one observation that the chicken was a little bland and I wonder what could be done to give it more flavor or if this is simply that thighs are bland. Anyway, many thanks for this very good recipe.
     
    Kate's K. October 14, 2018
    I sprinkled some smoked paprika on the drumettes before roasting - for me, that was a good addition.
     
    Eric K. October 14, 2018
    Hi Nancy, chicken thighs are a little bigger, thicker than drumsticks (usually), so maybe they needed more seasoning. Did you season them well on all sides with salt and pepper? Also, if 2 to 3 tablespoons of the vinaigrette wasn't enough, maybe you could try a little more next time. Hope that helps.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC October 14, 2018
    Sorry Nancy for the late response! I completely agree with Eric: Seasoning (esp with thighs and breasts) is key! When I season thighs right before cooking them (vs. when I’m doing so a few hours or a day in advance), I’m more generous with the s&p since it won’t have the chance to fully penetrate and season the meat. You can of course experiment with spice blends, too. And there’s no harm with salting to taste at the dinner table (a good sea salt would be nice) if the seasoning isn’t just right! Hope this helps, and thanks so much for trying the recipe!
     
    Nancy E. October 15, 2018
    Thank you both, you and Eric and I will do as suggested with salt & pepper, and possibly sprinkle with paprika as well. I'm planning another dinner with friends later this month and will make this again - the vinaigrette adds such a great taste to the entire dish. Many thanks again.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC October 15, 2018
    You’re welcome—so happy you’re making this again!
     
    CanCanEats September 26, 2018
    Really easy recipe. I pulled it together while chatting with my 3 month old. :)

    After reading the comments, I split the vinegar 1:1 AVC and balsamic and I doubled the vinaigrette amount though I ended up not needing to after using some big meaty drumsticks (lots of drippings but no splatter). I followed all of EmilyC's recommendations to other users about not using a broiler and using fresh figs instead of dried (tis the season). My husband came home and looked at the "salad" topped with drumsticks and fell in love with me even more. My friend's two year-old ate a bunch of chicken, figs, bread and sweet onion bits. A real success!

    Thanks for the recipe EmilyC!
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 26, 2018
    Ah, thanks for the sweet note! So happy to hear that both the kids and adults liked it (always a win when that happens!). Thanks so much for taking the time and extra effort to provide your notes—really appreciate it!
     
    John M. September 24, 2018
    Wow! Made this exactly to the recipe and it turned out great. Delicious combo of flavors and very easy to make for a full dinner from scratch! Thanks so much for the recipe!
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 25, 2018
    Wonderful! Thanks so much for trying this and circling back, John!
     
    Kate's K. September 23, 2018
    Delicious! and I would make it again. I read thru all the comments before making this and here is what I did: I used 1.5 lbs. drumettes, made the entire amount of vinaigrette (using balsamic vinegar) and 3 cups of torn ciabatta bread, sprinkled the drumettes with a little smoked paprika along with the s&p. It was just barely not too dry using all of the vinaigrette. Thank you Emily for a great addition to my recipe box.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 24, 2018
    So glad you enjoyed this dish, Kate! Thanks so much for trying it and for your note!
     
    VVV03 September 18, 2018
    This one was a miss for us. As another poster said, bland. Also too heavy on the figs. And if you want to give it a try, make sure you put down foil, it's a mess to clean up.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 18, 2018
    Ah, sorry to hear this! Did you use drumsticks or another type of chicken? I'll add a note about parchment/foil. I've never had an issue with anything sticking (because of enough chicken drippings and vinaigrette) but parchment would be nice insurance.
     
    Cardie K. September 18, 2018
    I took this to a Virgo birthday party and it was a huge hit! I did substitute balsamic vinegar and did not do the croutons bc I though they would get soggy since it was going on a buffet. The sauce was delicious though. Thanks, so many people asked for recipe...I said follow Food52
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 18, 2018
    Yay—so glad this was a hit! And good call on the balsamic...I love balsamic and figs together! Thanks for your note!
     
    Lindsay S. September 17, 2018
    I adored this recipe, even though I skipped bread part. Looking forward to making it again with the croutons, and on repeat all fall. The only thing I changed was to substitute part of the apple cider vinegar with fig balsamic (never not good) and I sprinkled some fresh chopped rosemary on everything when it came out of the oven, just because I had it. I would also try it with chicken thighs, which are my go-to, but might take longer to cook.
    Home run!!
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 17, 2018
    So happy to hear this, Lindsay! Thanks so much for trying this and your note!
     
    Peanut September 16, 2018
    This instruction in #5 is a little confusing: “Redistribute the chicken and salad so they’re in an even layer.” At this point, only the chicken is on one side of the sheet pan, and the other side is bread, onions, and figs (no arugula/salad greens). It might be clearer to say something like, “Arrange the contents of the sheet pan into an even layer.” I am planning to make this tomorrow night!
     
    pemmy September 17, 2018
    Just know, if you put the chicken on top of the bread cubes, those bread cubes will not crisp up.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 17, 2018
    Thanks Peanut. I updated Step #5 per your suggestion!
     
    Nancy E. September 16, 2018
    My oven doesn't have a broiler so I would have to skip that step. Any idea how much added time to roasting the legs? This sounds like a very delicious meal. thanks.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 16, 2018
    Hi Nancy: I’d roast the legs for 10 to 12 minutes on their own, then add the rest of the ingredients. The skin probably won’t get crispy, but it’ll still be delicious.

    If you are a fan of crispy skin, you can follow the method from another sheet pan chicken recipe of mine: heat an empty sheet pan in a 500 degree oven, add the chicken, lower heat to 425, and roast for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the other ingredients. The rocket-hot sheet pan will nicely brown and crisp the skin! Here’s the recipe: https://food52.com/recipes/74277-sheet-pan-chicken-with-broccoli-chickpeas-and-parmesan?from_feed=1
     
    Nancy E. September 16, 2018
    Thanks very much.
     
    pemmy September 17, 2018
    Great idea!! I made this last night and the original recipe for broiling for 6 mininutes did not do the trick. The chicken does need more seasoning/vinegrette and onions need to be in bigger pieces otherwise it charres and burns on the pan. Otherwise it's a great one pan dish that looks wonderful upon presentation.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 17, 2018
    Hi penny: I intended the 6 minutes to be a guide (broilers vary SO MUCH in their intensity) so I added a note to make this clearer. I think the trick with the chicken is tossing it with the vinaigrette plus plenty of salt and pepper (just as much as you'd use if not using any vinaigrette at all). Thanks for your feedback!
     
    Lindsay S. September 17, 2018
    You could also pan roast the chicken to get crispy skin and then finish it in the oven. I've made countless recipes that follow that pattern, albeit usually with thighs not drumsticks.
     
    Ann D. September 16, 2018
    I was wondering about spicing this up with some cayenne, paprika, or curry powder.
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 16, 2018
    Sure, go for it! I think smoked paprika or Aleppo would be nice, too!
     
    Jenny A. September 16, 2018
    Has anyone used chicken breast meat in this recipe? I can’t get my husband to like chicken thighs or legs...
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 16, 2018
    Hi Jenny, I’d advise using bone-in, skin-on breasts. The flavor and texture of the bread salad depends on the rendered chicken fat. And breasts will take a bit longer, so either broil them longer, or roast them for several minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. They should work well otherwise! Please report back if you try it this way!
     
    Jenny A. September 16, 2018
    Thanks Emily! I’m looking forward to trying this!
     
    draya3 September 16, 2018
    I'm wondering if you could make this with fresh figs?
     
    Author Comment
    EmilyC September 16, 2018
    Yes! They may get too soft if roasted for a full 20 minutes, so maybe add them about 5 minutes or so after the bread/onions.