Recipe: Cornish Hens with Lemon and Herbs

You have to hand it to Martha Stewart. She sure knows how to make things fancy.

I subscribe to her magazine, which mostly ends up making me feel extremely inadequate.

But I can't give it up, especially when I find recipes like this that are fancy, easy and fairly quick.

So go ahead. Pull a Martha, impress your friends and save the TV dinner for tomorrow night.

Yield: 4 servings

2 Cornish hens, room temperature, rinsed well and patted dry

1 bunch fresh thyme

2 lemons, halved, plus wedges for serving

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Place hens in a roasting pan, breast sides up. Place 2 thyme sprigs and 1 lemon half in cavity of each hen.

Loosen skin from breast, and place remaining thyme and the parsley underneath. Squeeze remaining lemon halves over hens. Rub butter all over hens. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Roast hens, rotating pan halfway through, until skin turns golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Let stand 10 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise. Garnish with thyme sprigs, and serve with lemon wedges.