Saturday, November 9, 2019


I get it—sheet pan cooking is easy. No wonder so many variations on this cooking method appear in the food media—from chicken to meat to vegetables to fish and in various combinations. Because the foods are spread in a single layer, they cook relatively rapidly. And, because several foods can be cooked on the same pan, it saves clean-up of many cooking utensils.

Sheet pan cooking is not so different from what in Spain is called cooking “en lata” (a lata is a baker’s rimmed oven pan) or “en rustidera” (a large shallow roasting pan). The pan needs to have a rim high enough (minimum 1 inch) to contain the main ingredients and any liquids. I found the broiler pan that came with my electric oven to be perfect.

Pieces of rabbit and chunks of potatoes and eggplant roast in a sheet pan with olive oil, whole cloves of garlic and Sherry.

I’ve adapted the sheet-pan technique to an old tapa bar favorite, food cooked al ajillo, with just a “little” garlic (meaning lots of garlic).  The cooking medium—olive oil—becomes the sauce, flavored with garlic and Sherry, plus a scattering of herbs. It’s often served with patatas fritas—fries—as well as bread for sopping up the juices. Here, the potatoes roast with the meat. I added chunks of eggplant to the rendition with rabbit. It soaked up the flavorful oil beautifully.

After roasting, heap the rabbit, potatoes and eggplant on a platter and spoon some of the flavorful juices over all.

A meal in one pan--just add salad. Serve Sherry with the meal--here a medium amontillado. (It's still International Sherry Week!)

Rabbit roasted in oil is tender and succulent.

Sheet Pan Rabbit with Garlic and Eggplant
Conejo al Ajillo en Lata

Serves 2-3.

1 ¼ pounds rabbit, cut in serving pieces (½  rabbit)
Freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of rosemary or thyme
Chopped parsley
6 cloves garlic, 1 clove chopped, 5 cloves whole
½ cup olive oil
1 medium eggplant (about 14 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 medium potatoes (about 10 ounces)
¼ cup medium Sherry (such as amontillado or oloroso seco)
Alioli of roasted garlic, to serve (recipe follows)

Sprinkle the rabbit pieces with salt, pepper, sprigs of rosemary or thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley and 1 clove chopped garlic. Allow to stand 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Rabbit pieces first macerate with herbs and chopped garlic. Whole cloves of garlic roast with the meat and vegetables.

Add ½ of the oil to a sheet pan. Spread the pieces of rabbit in a single layer in the pan.

Cut the eggplant in 1-inch cubes. Place in a bowl and sprinkle with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Spread them in the pan with the rabbit.

Peel potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle them with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon oil. Add to the sheet pan.

Lightly crush garlic cloves.
Use the flat side of a knife to lightly crush the remaining 5 cloves of garlic. Scatter over the rabbit.

Pour Sherry over the rabbit and vegetables. Add all of the remaining oil to the pan. Place a few sprigs of rosemary or thyme on top.

Roast the rabbit 15 minutes. Turn the pieces of rabbit and, if possible, the potatoes and eggplant too. Roast 15 minutes longer, until rabbit and potatoes are done.

Serve sprinkled with chopped parsley and accompanied by alioli of roasted garlic.

Chunks of potatoes get crisp, eggplant turns soft and soaks up the oil.

Sheet Pan Chicken with Garlic
Pollo al Ajillo en Lata

I prefer drumettes, the thick wing joints, for this recipe.

Serves 4 as a main course.

2 pounds chicken wing joints
Freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon smoked pimentón (paprika)
Sprigs of fresh thyme
8 cloves garlic (2 chopped, 6 whole)
¾ cup olive oil
1 pound frying potatoes
8 ounces portobello mushrooms
Red chile (optional)
½ cup medium Sherry (such as amontillado or oloroso seco)
Chopped parsley
Alioli with roasted garlic (see recipe), as an accompaniment

Place wings in a bowl and sprinkle them with salt, pepper, pimentón, thyme and 2 cloves of chopped garlic. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a rimmed sheet pan. Spread the wings in the pan in a single layer.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in strips as for fries. Toss them in a bowl with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil. Spread the potatoes on the pan with the chicken.

Clean the mushrooms and cut them in quarters. Toss them in a bowl with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the mushrooms to the sheet pan. Cut the chile, if using, in pieces and add to the pan.

Wings, potatoes and mushrooms, ready to roast.
Lightly crush the whole garlic cloves, using the flat side of a knife. Leave the skins on them. Scatter the garlic among the chicken pieces and potatoes. Scatter sprigs of thyme over the wings and vegetables.  Pour all the remaining oil over the wings and vegetables.

Roast the wings 15 minutes. Carefully turn the wings, potatoes and mushrooms. Add the Sherry and return to the oven until chicken and potatoes are done, 15 minutes.

If desired, place the sheet pan under the broiler for 5 minutes to brown the tops of the wings.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and accompanied by alioli with roasted garlic. 

Alioli of Roasted Garlic
Alioli con Ajos Asados

Alioli sauce is made with mayonnaise from a jar and roasted garlic.

Use the cloves of garlic that roasted with the chicken wings or rabbit to make this sauce. If desired, the excess flavorful oil from the sheet pan can be incorporated in the sauce too. Serve the sauce with the wings, rabbit or with any meat or vegetables.

5-10 cloves of roasted garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup mayonnaise from a jar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Salt, to taste

Crush garlic with a fork.
Discard garlic skins. Place the garlic in a small bowl and mash them with a fork. Stir in the olive oil. Whisk in the mayonnaise, lemon juice and parsley until the sauce is fairly smooth. Add salt to taste. 

Sauce keeps, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

More sheet pan recipes:

More al ajillo recipes:


  1. Thank you for these recipes, Janet. They all sound delicious and the ingredients are easy to find here in Malaga. We're staying in an apartment with minimal cooking pots but we do have a flat pan and I love rabbit!