February 7, 2023

Blackened Chicken with Caramel and Clementine Dressing

Recipe: Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi

“Don’t be afraid to really char the chicken thighs here (making sure to ventilate your kitchen well!)—this’ll add an intense flavor alongside the vibrant dressing and make for a very punchy eating experience. That said, you can also grill the chicken thighs in the oven, or swap them out for chicken breasts, if you prefer. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to help you easily remove the bones from the thighs, or ask your butcher to do this for you, making sure to keep the skins intact. Feel free to swap out the clementines for orange segments in the dressing; it’ll work just as well.” — Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things


  • 6 large chicken thighs (2 lb. 2 oz.), bones removed and skin on (1 lb. 14 oz.)
  • 1½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp chile flakes
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 12 green onions, trimmed, rinsed well, and dried (6 1/3 oz)
  • salt
  • 6 tbsp water

Caramel and Clementine Dressing

  • 7 tbsp sugar
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 2 Fresno chiles, seeded, halved crosswise, and julienned (2 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3–4 limes: 1 halved, to serve, and the rest juiced to get
  • 3 tbsp
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2–3 clementines (7 oz.), peeled (5 oz.)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped, to serve


Yield: Serves 4

  1. Put chicken thighs, turmeric, chile flakes, fish sauce, oil, and 1 tsp of salt into large bowl and mix well to combine. Let marinate for 60 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for longer (up to overnight). If the latter, remove chicken thighs from fridge about 45 minutes before cooking.
  2. Place large cast-iron sauté pan on medium-high heat and ventilate kitchen well. Once hot, add half chicken thighs, skin side down. Weigh down thighs with large saucepan around same size, so they are well pressed into pan. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until skin is charred and blackened. Remove top pan and set chicken thighs aside, then repeat with remaining thighs. The second batch might blacken faster, so check them at 5-minute mark. Remove all chicken, setting it aside, and let pan cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. If needed, drain off all but 1½ tablespoons of fat collected in pan and return to medium-high heat. Add green onions, using pair of tongs to coat in fat, then put back chicken thighs, skin side up, and any of their juices, nestling them into green onions, along with water. Cook for 8 minutes, or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing each thigh into 3/4-inch-wide strips.
  4. While chicken is cooking, make caramel and clementine dressing. Heat medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Once hot, turn heat down to medium and sprinkle in sugar to coat base—it should immediately start to melt and color around sides. Swirl pan, without stirring, so that all sugar melts and turns deeply golden, 1 1/2–2 minutes. Add ginger and chiles, and stir continuously for 45 seconds, just to take off spicy edge. Quickly add vinegar, lime juice, and fish sauce, stirring to combine. Cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Use small serrated knife to slice clementines into 1/2-inch-thick rounds, then pull at them gently to halve (don’t worry if break apart further). Stir these into cooled sauce.
  6. To serve, transfer green onions to large platter and top with chicken and any pan juices, using spatula to keep each thigh together. Pour dressing all over, then sprinkle with cilantro. Lastly, squeeze lime halves over top.

Caramel and clementine dressing

  • Keep in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Pour this dressing over a roasted chicken, panseared salmon, or tofu.

Elena Heatherwick


Excerpted from Ottolenghi Test Kitchen: Extra Good Things by Noor Murad and Yotam Ottolenghi. © 2022 Yotam Ottolenghi LLP. Photographs © 2022 by Elena Heatherwick. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.