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My adaptation of Rao’s Lemon Chicken

Serves 2

A CookTale

Of the many outstanding dishes served at Rao’s on East 114th Street in New York, I would venture a guess that Lemon Chicken stands out in people’s minds as the one most associated with the restaurant. Yet the one time Cathie and I had dinner there, I remember ordering Broccoli Rabe with Orchiette and Veal Marsala. At home in New York City I occasionally attempted to cook Lemon Chicken, generally unsuccessfully. Last evening with an organic, free range bird from Heather Ridge Farm, I finally rated one star from Cathie, my most critical critic and taster.


1 3 Pound Chicken, halved
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper (I also used smoked salt)
Lemon sauce (recipe follows)

METHOD For the Chicken

1. Preheat broiler at least 15 minutes. Broil Chicken halves, turning once, for about 25 minutes or until skin is golden-brown & the juices run clear when pierced with a fork. (Do not over broil; the broiled Chicken goes back in the broiler for 3 minutes more.)

2. Remove the Chicken from the broiler (leaving the broiler on). Using a very sharp knife, cut each half into 6 pieces (legs, thighs, wings & breast pieces).

3. Place the broiled Chicken parts in a large bowl & pour 2 TB of Lemon Sauce over the Chicken. Gently toss to coat. They can be left to marinate until you’re ready to complete the dish.

4. Add the Chicken parts to a deep sided baking sheet, return the Chicken to the broiler & broil for 2 minutes. Turn each piece and broil for an additional minute.

5. Remove from broiler & divide the Chicken onto 2 plates. Pour the Lemon Sauce into a heavy saucepan. Heat gently. Stir in the Butter & the Parsley. Pour an equal amount of the enriched Sauce over each plate & serve

2 cups fresh Lemon Juice
1 cup Olive Oil
2 TB of Butter (for the final addition to the sauce)
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons minced Garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano
1/4 Cup chopped Parsley
Salt & Pepper, to taste


Whisk together Juice, Oil, Vinegar, Garlic, Oregano, and Salt & Pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Whisk or shake vigorously before using.


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