Chicken Under a Brick
A little chicken, a little garlic, a little muscle…Using weights to compressed marinated foods is not new (pressed duck ring a bell?). Chef Joseph Verde (formerly of Oscar’s in New York City’s Waldorf Astoria, now with the Millennium Hilton in New York) uses a little heft in this outstanding, unique grilled chicken dish that is becoming a trend that I adapted for the grill. When I spoke with Chef Verde recently and he said that methods similar to this approach have been used in Italy for generations. Try this recipe once, and it will likely be a favorite for generations of your own family. Some recipe call for Cornish hens but regular sized kosher fryers, chickens, split in two, is perfect. All you need to add to the chicken are some fresh herbs, a touch of wine and garlic, and like the infamous Three Stone Soup folktale recipe, two foil wrapped bricks for an outstanding, crowd pleasing grilled chicken. I serve this on top of huge slabs of grilled garlic bread.
1 chicken (2 or 3 pounds) – cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary – chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley – minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme – chopped
2 tablespoons chives – minced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
6 large cloves garlic – peeled and smashed
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Remove cartilage under each chicken half. Pry out most of fine rib cage.
In a large bowl, whisk together everything but the salt and pepper. Place chicken in a plastic bag and pour marinade over it. Refrigerate for at least four hours or overnight.
Preheat the grill to high (about 450 F). Place a little marinade in a cast iron skillet that fits the chickens. Place skillet on the grill for ten minutes.
Place chicken halves in skillet (skin side down). Discard marinade.
Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Place foil-wrapped bricks on top of chicken. Place skillet on a burner over medium heat for 20 minutes, then remove to oven and roast for another 15 minutes or so. If chicken is well browned, turn it over, put the bricks back on and continue roasting until done (10 to 20 minutes – depending on size of chicken).
Place on platter to serve. Serves 2 –3