Real Simple FEBRUARY 2006
Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Heat oven to 450° F.
Place a rack in a large ovenproof skillet or small roasting pan.
Rinse the chicken inside and out and pat dry. Place in pan. Tuck the wings beneath the chicken, as if it were placing its arms behind its head. Rub the oil over the skin. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Toss the remaining salt into the cavity. Roast for 20 minutes. Add 1 cup water and roast until the chicken is cooked through and the thigh meat registers 180° F on a meat thermometer, about 40 minutes more.
Use a spatula to loosen the chicken. With a wad of paper towels in each hand, transfer it to a cutting board. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before carving. If making a pan sauce, reserve the drippings.
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