1 3½- to 3¼-lb. roasting chicken
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 lemon, quartered
2 large sprigs fresh sage (or 4 sprigs fresh rosemary)
8 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground dried sage
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. lemon pepper, or to taste
• Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
• Remove the giblets from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse the chicken, inside and outside, with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Season the cavity with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from 2 lemon quarters into the cavity and then stuff the cavity with the 2 remaining lemon quarters, sage (or rosemary) sprigs and garlic cloves.
• Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan and tuck the wing tips underneath the bird. Trim the tail, as desired. Truss the legs by tying the ends tightly together with a piece of butcher’s twine.
• Rub the olive oil evenly over the surface of the chicken. Combine the dried sage, garlic salt and lemon pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken, then rub the spices into the skin to uniformly distribute them. Season the skin with more pepper and salt, as desired. (Don’t be afraid to generously season, as a salty-spicy skin is a wonderful contrast to delicately flavored chicken meat.)
• Place the pan in the oven so that the thighs are positioned toward the back and bake 15 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and continue to roast another 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate the chicken so that the breast now faces toward the back of the oven. Continue to roast until the thigh meat registers about 170 degrees on a meat thermometer, rotating as needed to ensure even browning (about 1 hour and 15 minutes total roasting time for a 3½-pound bird.)
• Remove the chicken from the oven and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes on a cutting board before removing the twine and carving.
• In the meantime, remove the fat from the pan juices. Remove a lemon wedge (or 2) from the cavity and squeeze the juice into the defatted pan juices. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, as needed, and spoon over the sliced chicken while the juices are still hot.