5 Ingredients or Fewer

Olive-Brined Chicken With Garlicky Croutons & Parsley

November 23, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom Prop Stylist: Gerri Williams Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 6 hours 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 2
Author Notes

You might think that salt water is the simplest wet brine—it’s just salt and water—but this one might be even easier: olive brine. While many wet brines rely on a slew of spices, herbs, and aromatics to become flavorful, olive brine is flavorful to begin with. It seasons the chicken throughout, helps the cooked meat retain moisture, and adds a deep savoriness.

Note: Because the brine itself is so salty, hold back on the salt throughout the recipe. Either season minimally or, if you’re sensitive to salt, brine for the shorter amount of time and skip the added salt entirely.

Pick a bread that you love—for me, that’s something sourdough and seedy—and leave the crusts on; these are naturally toasty and contribute bonus texture to the dish. And if you can’t find a premixed assortment of olives, feel free to swap in kalamatas. —Emma Laperruque

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Olive-Brined Chicken With Garlicky Croutons & Parsley
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup drained mixed (or kalamata) pitted olives, brine reserved
  • Kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups torn, bite-size bread chunks
  • 2 large (or 3 small) garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 bunch (about 2 1/2 ounces) parsley, leaves plucked and roughly chopped
  1. Combine the chicken thighs and enough olive brine to cover them (1/3 to 3/4 cup) in an airtight bag or container. Brine in the refrigerator for 6 to 12 hours.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Pat dry the brined chicken thighs. Add a drizzle of oil to the skillet (just enough to thinly coat the bottom), followed by the chicken thighs, skin side down. Sprinkle the top with the tiniest pinch of salt (or, if you're not feeling salty, skip this).
  3. Cook without moving until the fat has rendered and the skin is deeply golden brown and crisp, 15 to 25 minutes. You can rotate the pan and lower the heat if the skin begins to brown unevenly or too quickly.
  4. Flip the thighs and sprinkle the olives around them. Continue cooking until the other side of the chicken is deeply golden brown and the meat closest to the bone is cooked through (165°F), 15 to 20 minutes more. Once the chicken is done, transfer the thighs and olives to a plate.
  5. Still over medium heat, add the torn bread, toss in the fat, and spread into an even layer. Cook, barely stirring, until the bread is browned and toasty, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat and stir in the garlic and half the parsley. Nestle the chicken thighs back in the skillet and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley and a splash of olive brine.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Pam Pressley
    Pam Pressley
  • Michael Breitenstein
    Michael Breitenstein
  • Gail Cener
    Gail Cener
  • Margaret
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

16 Reviews

Allison M. June 26, 2022
I made this as written for the most part, though I might have overheated the skillet a bit and had to add more oil, so the chicken skin really got nice and crispy. My partner actually praised it as being the best home-cooked chicken he’d ever had (though I don’t think he realized what an indictment of previous efforts that sounded like).
Kw January 3, 2022
Just made, i didnt have skin on thighs, and used gluten free bread cubes, and it was still awesome. I will make again many times!!!
Laurie B. January 30, 2021
This is awful. Just awful. Like eating a bag of potato chips for dinner.
Pam P. December 21, 2020
I made this on Saturday night (12/19) and it was truly yummy. The cooking times were adjusted .. but that said, it turned out great. I’ll be making it again 🤩
(Used kalamata because that’s what I had)
Michael B. November 26, 2020
I’m a total dirty martini guy
Watched your video and I actually drooled - can’t wait to try this and drink a martini thank you for the recipe
Emma L. November 28, 2020
Dirty martinis forever!!!!
valerie J. November 25, 2020
I want to try this recipe but am a little worried about the amount of brine as I don't like a lot of salt. In the recipe instructions you write to add 3/4 cup to the raw chicken. However, in the video demonstration, you say you are adding 1/3 cup. The amount of the chicken seems to be the same. Could you clarify?
Emma L. November 25, 2020
Thanks for that catch, Valerie! Will update accordingly. You just need enough brine to cover the chicken thighs—so, that can vary based on the size of the thighs and how much brine comes in your jar of olives. If you're sensitive to salt, I'd recommend reducing the brining time (you can even go shorter than 6 hours—say, 2 to 4 hours—for something that's more mildly seasoned).
valerie J. November 25, 2020
Many thanks, Emma. Very helpful.
Gail C. November 25, 2020
For years I’ve made the thighs with Tuscan peppers for a little added kick. Might try to change it up with some olives, or a mix of both.
Margaret November 24, 2020
My kalamata or mixed olives come soaked in sparse olive oil. How do I find (or what key words do I look for on a label) brine-soaked olives? What are these olives called?
Emma L. November 25, 2020
Hey Margaret! If the jar of olives doesn't have enough brine to cover the chicken, you can do a couple things: supplement with salt water; or supplement with another brine you love (say, pickle brine or caper brine).
Laura O. November 24, 2020
Looks great! But it needs a fix. The ingredient list calls for 1/4 cup of brine and the directions call for 3/4 cup. Suspect it is the latter. Can’t wait to make it!
Emma L. November 24, 2020
Hi Laura! Actually the ingredient list calls for 1/4 cup olives, with the brine from the jar reserved. Hope you enjoy the recipe!
Louis November 24, 2020
The ingredient list called for 1/4 drained olives and does not include brine. It indeed looks tasty.
Laura O. November 24, 2020
I should know better than to correct the professionals! Thank you!!