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.
apple cider vinegar, divided, plus more to taste (balsamic or other types of vinegar can be substituted)
chicken drumsticks (8 to 10)
Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper
dried figs (Mission or Turkish), stems removed and halved
torn bread chunks (from half a loaf of sourdough, ciabatta, or French bread)
small yellow or red onion, thinly sliced
A few large handfuls of arugula
In This Recipe
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.