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Chicken Under a Brick
(trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves or
- 1 whole (3- to 4-pound) chicken
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, plus 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, quartered
Remove the backbone and split the chicken. Mix together the
rosemary leaves, salt, garlic, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and
rub this all over the chicken. Tuck some of it under the skin as well.
Allow to marinate, if time permits, for up to a day, refrigerated.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 450°F. Preheat a large
ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Press the rosemary
sprigs if you are using them into the skin of the chicken. Put the remaining olive
oil in the pan and wait a minute for it to heat up. Place the chicken in the pan,
skin side down, along with any pieces of rosemary and garlic. Weight the chicken
with another skillet or use a flat pot cover and a couple of bricks or rocks. The
basic idea is to flatten the chicken by applying a fair amount of weight evenly
over its surface.
Cook over medium-high to high heat for 10 minutes; transfer, still weighted, to the
oven. Roast for 15 minutes more. Take the chicken from the oven and remove the weight;
turn the chicken over (it will now be skin side up) and roast 10 minutes more. To check
for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh;
it should read 160°F to 165°F. Serve hot or at room temperature (refrigerate it if you
will not be serving it within the hour), with lemon wedges.
Serves 6. Zero carbs.
c o m m e n t s :
The great dish of Lucca, Italy, should always be made with the best olive oil available. I
weight the chickens with a cast-iron pan and a couple of big rocks. The only problem
is that handling the hot, heavy pan takes a steady, strong wrist, so use two hands. The
effort is well worth it: This is the simplest and best method for producing a beautiful,
crisp-skinned bird. I specify rosemary here, which is delicious. But most herbs are
equally wonderful. Try savory (in similar quantity); parsley, basil, chervil,
chives (use twice as much); or tarragon, marjoram, or thyme (use half as much).