Position racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 400°F.
Arrange the chicken in a shallow, flameproof roasting pan, rub each breast with olive oil, and season both sides generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the thyme on top of the chicken breasts. Roast skin-side up in the oven on the upper rack until the juices run clear (an instant-read thermometer should register 165°F), 35 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the asparagus in a medium baking dish (9x13- inch, or one in which they’ll fit in a single, uncrowded layer). Drizzle on enough olive oil to coat, season with salt and pepper, and toss. Arrange in a single layer. In a separate dish, do the same with the carrots. Roast the vegetables on the lower rack along with the chicken until they’re tender, 12 to 16 minutes for the asparagus and 20 to 30 minutes for the carrots. The carrots can be roasted very deeply, but take care not to overroast the asparagus or they’ll turn mushy. When the vegetables are done, set them aside.
Make the dressing:
When the chicken is done, transfer the breasts to a platter and tent with foil. Pour any juices and fat from the roasting pan into a small bowl (don’t worry if there isn’t much). Put the roasting pan on a burner over medium heat. Add 3 Tbs. of the lemon juice to the pan and, using a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly scrape up all the browned juices, dissolving them in the lemon. Pour this into the bowl with the cooking juices. Once the chicken has rested for about 10 minutes, uncover and add any accumulated juices to the bowl. Whisk in the lemon zest, mustard, and enough olive oil to balance the acidity of the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You should have about 1/2 cup dressing.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle but still quite warm, slide your fingers between the meat and the bones and pull the meat and skin away in one piece (the tenderloin may come off in a separate piece). Cut each breast (and tenderloin) into about 6 slices on the diagonal, keeping them intact so you can fan them out on the salad later.
Put the greens, fennel, and fresh herb sprigs into a large bowl. Toss with the remaining 1 Tbs. of lemon juice and about 2 Tbs. of olive oil, adding more if needed to lightly coat the salad. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
On six large plates or in six large shallow bowls, arrange a bed of the greens. On each plate lay a fan of chicken meat on one side, a few spears of asparagus on another side, and some carrots on another. Drizzle about a tablespoon of the dressing over the meat and vegetables. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and top with a few Parmigiano shavings. Serve immediately.
Turn dinner into a dinner party with an easy Herbed Goat Cheese Spread appetizer, crusty Garlic-Parmesan Bread on the side, and Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies & Cream for dessert. Get the shopping list for the whole menu.
nutrition information (per serving):
based on six servings;
Photo: Scott Phillips