I taught a wonderful private cooking class in Los Angeles two weeks ago at a regular clients home in West Hollywood. We have been cooking together for many years and she often wants to learn techniques more than recipes. She was very curious about how to grill a whole chicken under a brick known as Chicken Al Mattone and have it come out moist and tender with a crispy skin. We produced this fine recipe together with little effort. All you need is a grill or cast iron pan and a pair of kitchen scissors. Or you can have the butcher butterfly (also know as spatchcock) the chicken for you, in which case marinating is the only step.
To butterfly a bird you simply cut down the side of the backbone with a pair of kitchen scissors and cut the chicken in half so it lies flat like a book. Then you cut out the backbone, quite easily done, by cutting along each side of the bone and then removing it, (this step is optional). I cut the wing tips off as well to make it look nice.
Grilling is a wonderful way of cooking as you have a slightly smoky finished product, little to no clean-up and almost any food can be grilled. Animal protein of course is a no-brainer, who doesn’t like grilled steak, burgers, chicken or ribs? Grilling is especially delicious for my vegan dishes and lends itself well to tofu, portobello mushrooms, tempeh, all manner of vegetables and plant based “burgers”.
This recipe requires marinating overnight if possible (longer is better) and then you press the chicken down with a brick or heavy pan ( I use cast iron) to keep it in contact with the grill and insure a crispy skin. Try this in a hot oven ( 400 degrees), outdoor grill or indoor grilling pan and enjoy.
Grilled Butterflied Chicken
1 – 3 1/2 to 4 pound chicken, butterflied and backbone removed, rinsed, patted dry
3 Tb. lemon or lime juice
3 Tb. olive oil, divided
1 Tb. rosemary, chopped, plus whole sprigs for garnish
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Open the chicken up like a book and place on a rimmed baking sheet, skin side down. Combine the lemon, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl and mix. Pour over the chicken and turn the the chicken over so the marinade is coating both sides. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to two days.
Heat the grill over high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place chicken skin side down on the grill and lower the heat to medium. Place a foil-wrapped brick (or cast-iron skillet) crosswise on top of the chicken and cook for about 7 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook another 20 minutes. Remove the brick and turn chicken over; return the brick to the chicken and continue to roast until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 15 minutes longer. Remove the brick and transfer the chicken to a serving platter. Drizzle the chicken with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and squeeze half a lemon over the top. Sprinkle with the red pepper flakes and garnish with the rosemary.