Okay, I try to do different things every week and I just realized that I did chicken last week...and the week before! Oh well, last Tuesday seems like literally a lifetime ago. It really does. I promise a chicken-free week next week. How about some dessert for a nice change?
Several years ago I was very blessed to have the opportunity to travel to Italy. I was so inspired by everything Italian....from the fashion, to the architecture, from the beautiful scenery, to the food. I remember eating "chicken under a brick" at this little hole-in-the-wall in Venice and it was just sublime. I vowed to learn how to make it.
Really, basic Tuscan cooking is all about simplicity and good ingredients like good olive oil and fresh herbs. Here is my Chicken Under a Brick. I use my trusty cast iron skillet, a large landscape rock (that I set aside and cleaned well for cooking), and fresh rosemary (which I grow all year-round).
Chicken Under a Brick
1 whole (3- to 4-pound) chicken
(trimmed of excess fat, then rinsed and patted dry with paper towels)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves or
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, plus 2 sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)
2 teaspoons kosher 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 skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes. Press the rosemary sprigs if you are using them under 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 weightn (be careful, it's HEAVY!); 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 (but I usually don't bother to check!). Serve hot or at room temperature (refrigerate it if you will not be serving it within the hour), with lemon wedges.
I saw a discussion on line yesterday about saving money in these days when gas prices and food prices keep going up. I'm making a real effort to be more thrifty lately, are you? Tomorrow I'll talk about what I'm trying to do to pinch pennies and you can tell me what you're doing. I have been notoriously BAD about being thrifty in my life, so I can use any advice that you can give me. But that's tomorrow's discussion.
As for next week, what kind of healthy recipe would you like me to post? What am I missing?
Have a great day!