A mixture of kosher salt and water with the consistency of wet sand is packed onto Cornish hen halves to form a hard crust that is chipped off once cooked. The resulting bird is moist, tender, and flavorful. Garnish with extra herbs and lemon slices.
1 (1 1/2-pound) Cornish hen
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup water
1 (3-pound) box kosher salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 375°.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from hen. Split hen in half lengthwise. Trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat. Combine juice, oregano, thyme, oil, pepper, and garlic; rub herb mixture under loosened skin and rub over breast and drumsticks.
Line a jelly-roll pan with foil; coat foil with cooking spray. Combine 1 cup water and salt. For each hen half, pat 1 cup salt mixture into a 1/2-inch-thick oval shape on pan. Coat each salt oval with cooking spray; top each with 1 hen half, breast side up. Lightly coat hen halves with cooking spray; pack remaining 3 1/2 cups salt mixture evenly over hen halves.
Bake at 375° for 35 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165°. Tap salt to loosen; discard salt mixture. Discard skin.