This simple yet boldly flavored dinner celebrates spring in all its glory. It brings together mustardy bronzed chicken thighs, verdant crisp-tender asparagus, and a lightning-fast pan sauce that’s enriched with butter and miso—all in one skillet. Toasty, crunchy almonds crown the whole dish, much like the French style of serving various green vegetables and fish amandine (or "almondine," as it's commonly spelled in the U.S.). Served with couscous, pasta, or rice to soak up the velvety sauce, the whole thing ends up feeling special and a little fancy despite its ease of preparation—the type of meal that effortlessly goes from weeknight standby to weekend get-together.
A few notes: This recipe is versatile in the amount of asparagus you use. I like loading up and using two bunches (or about two pounds) when I make this for my family, but one bunch is totally fine.
It’s also good without the chicken! For a vegetarian version, begin with Step 4, starting with a little more fat in the pan for sautéing the red onion and asparagus, then adding more miso (about a 1/2 teaspoon at a time, tasting as you go) to the sauce to boost its umami.
Test Kitchen Notes
It's the end of the long workday (or the start of an extra-long week) and we're hungry. Like, "can't-think-straight" hungry. Luckily, Food52 contributor EmilyC wants to do all the thinking for us. In Dinner's Ready, her twice-a-month column on weeknight wonders, Emily shares simple, flavor-packed recipes that'll have a good meal on the table in no time. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 25 minutes
- Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds
boneless skinless chicken thighs
olive oil, divided
Kosher salt plus freshly ground black pepper
sliced untoasted almonds
large red onion, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 to 2 pounds
asparagus, woody ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces on the diagonal (see author note)
garlic cloves, minced
lemon, finely zested and juiced
miso (I use white, but any variety will work)
rosé, dry white wine, or dry vermouth (or substitute 1/4 cup chicken broth plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice)
A big handful of tarragon leaves, basil, or chopped parsley, for serving
Couscous, pasta, or rice, for serving
- In a large bowl, combine chicken thighs, mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Toss well with your hands, smearing the mustard and seasonings evenly over both sides. Set aside.
- Heat a 12-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds, and toast them for 2 to 3 minutes, shaking the pan several times, until they’re light brown and nutty in aroma. Pour them onto a plate or bowl and set aside, wiping the skillet clean, if needed.
- In the same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook until browned on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes. (Tip: A splatter screen or fry guard works well to minimize mess.) Flip; continue cooking until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes longer, or until 165F in the thickest parts. Turn down the heat if the fond on the bottom of the pan starts to burn. Transfer the thighs to a plate and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.
- Add the red onions to the skillet. Season with a big pinch of salt and pepper, and saute for about 4 minutes over medium heat, scraping up the fond.
- Add the asparagus, garlic, and lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, or until the asparagus is bright green and starting to soften (the time will depend on the thickness of your asparagus). Add the rosé and simmer until reduced by half (about 1 minute) then add the miso and butter, stirring until they’re completely dissolved and integrated. Add 1/2 cup water, stirring to form a nice sauce, and return chicken thighs to the skillet, along with any juices that accumulated on the plate. Simmer until the sauce slightly thickens and the chicken is just warmed through. Adjust acidity and seasoning with lemon juice and salt, to taste. Top with a handful of tarragon leaves and the toasted almonds. Serve warm over couscous, pasta, or rice.