On Thursday, I was driving home on Interstate 690 listening to The Dan LeBatard Show when it occurred to me that I didn’t have anything planned for dinner. As I got closer and closer to my house, I decided that Wegmans would be cooking dinner. After veering into the lane for Route 5 and Fairmount, which dumps right into the Wegmans parking lot, it occurred to me that I had chicken thighs and asparagus in the fridge, though with no real plan.
Instead of going straight at the off ramp, I made a right and headed home.
Once I prowled through the fridge, I also found a bottle of reconstituted lemon juice, a jar of emergency garlic (Emergency is defined as not having any whole garlic cloves in the house) and a bottle of Poland Spring lime-flavored sparkling water. The latter of this group had little to do with dinner and more with, well, me.
Time was also of the essence so roasting was out of the question. Stovetop prep is the easy way out, but probably the best way to bring the flavor out of the asparagus without it tasting like whatever else is in the pan.
Now, just for fun, I made all of this and tossed it together with a microwavable rice mix. Again, cheating but dinner got on the table in less than 30 minutes and The Wife approved. So, I win.
WHAT WORKED: That this went together in one pan. The asparagus cooked, moved to the side to make way for the chicken, and then all came back together at the end. It was a lesson in sharing for inanimate objects.
WHAT DIDN’T: If I had a little extra time, I could have let the chicken sit in the lemon juice longer.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “I noticed that you didn’t take anything out for dinner tonight. This is good.”
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Likely on a night when I drive home with absolutely no plan for dinner in mind.
Lemon Chicken Thighs and Asparagus
By Jared Paventi
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- Juice of one fresh lemon or 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
- 1 medium to large bunch asparagus spears, cut into 1-inch segments
- 1 garlic clove, minced
Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, trimming any exposed fat or remaining skin.
Whisk together 1 tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt and a splash of water until well combined. Add the chicken to the bowl and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until it shimmers. Add garlic clove and cook until it gets fragrant. Add the asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat in the garlic and oil, reduce heat to medium-high and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
Using a wooden spoon, push the asparagus to the edges of the pan. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to the skillet. Cook chicken until the meat is cooked completely through.
Toss the chicken and asparagus together in the pan and serve over rice or other grain.