chicken cooked under a brick
enjoyed this an italian restaurant in sf awhile back and it has always intrigued to make this at home. was thinking of a marinade of EVOO and some acid (lemon juice/wine) and some sliced garlic. any other ideas? should i debone the chicken or will it flatten under the weight of the "brick"? should i cook in a hot oven or on the stove top using a cast iron skillet? should i save this for the grill instead? has anyone bothered to try out different techniques? thanks ch's!!!!!
I saw the tail end of Tyler Florence making that on, I think, Food 911 yesterday - check it out on foodtv.
I make this frequently with small chickens (they are getting harder and harder to find) that are about 3 lbs. first turn the chicken breas side down on a cutting board and, usug poultry or other shears, cut the back bone out from neck to tail. Then open the chicken flat (butterfly it) and then turn it breastside up and tuck the wing tips (the first joint on the wing) back to rest on the sides of the back. They should hold their place and stay there with out skewers or pins. At this point I loosen the skin and rub the flesh thoroughly with unsalted butter and tuck in slivers of peeled garlic, and what fresh herbs I have in the garden on hand. Thyme, rosemary, fresh sage etc.
I place the chicken in a skillet (I use non-stick) butterflied, open side down first and then take a flat skillet lid that is smaller in diameter than the skillet I am cooking in (12" skillet + 8" or 10" lid) cover the bottom of the lid in non-stick foil and rest it on the chicken. The brick goes on top of the lid. I often use 2 bricks for more weight. The lid gives more even pressure on the chicken so it cooks more uniformly. After 15- 20 minutes, I turn the chicken over and replace the lid and bricks and lower the heat to low and let that skin carmelize. This produces a moist, flavorful and tender chicken. You will want to just stand there and rip the skin off and eat it, hoarding all for yourself.
My wife had this in "brick" chicken in Rome at a place called La Campagna and it was amazing. We were in Italy for 14 days and she had chicken for 12 of those evenings! All of them were different..This was one of the top two versions.
We tried making it at home, but it was a disaster. Thanks for the recipe ideas. This time, we will finish it in the oven! We just did it on the gas outdoor grill and the exterior just burnt and the interior was dry.
I have made it successfully by deboning a breast, or taking a small chicken, cutting in half and removing the backbone, drumsticks, and first two joints of the wings, then deboning the rest except for the little drumette. Salt, pepper, herb of choice (rosemary is my favorite, but thyme or sage is good too), EVOO and thin slices of lemon (all on the flesh side, kind of pressed in) and let marinate awhile, even all day in fridge. Preheat oven to 450. Heat a little oil (I use grapeseed for high smoke point) until very hot in a cast iron pan, add chicken pieces skin side down, and brown for about 5 minutes. Weight with foil-wrapped bricks and put in oven for 15-20 minutes depending on size of chicken pieces. Remove bricks, pour off fat and turn skin side up to roast for about 5 more minutes (crisps up skin and browns lemon slices).
You can make a nice sauce by deglazing the pan with a little white wine, adding some rich chicken stock and reducing, and finishing with a little butter. More often I roast some whole cloves of garlic and serve them with the chicken and the browned lemon slices -- no sauce.
Just made this last week and it was as tasty as ever.
Just cut the backbone out of a frying chicken (3 or 4 lbs.) and lean on it and it will flatten out (called spatchcocking). Your merinade sounds perfect. I put it on a very hot Weber and place a heavy, foil wrapped (cast iron) skillet on top. That sucker is done in about twenty minutes.
Yet another variation.
I don't bone, but do remove the keel bone and breast cartiledge so it lies flatter and cuts into servings more easily.
I live in Manhattan and have never been able to find any bricks, so I use two cast iron skillets, the larger one for the chicken and the smaller one on top. Never bothered to wrap it with foil. Just slap it on.
And I start the chicken on top of the stove for about 5 or 10 minutes, and then finish it in a 500 degree oven for about half an hour, turning it halfway through.