My version of Polla alla Diavola
Make chile oil by chopping the jalapeno and serrano chiles, and putting them in a small saucepan with 3/4 cup of olive oil. Add a couple of tablespoons of hot paprika. Grind a fair amount of black pepper into the pot and steep over medium heat for about 15 minutes. Let it sit overnight (or all day). I prefer making my own, but if you’re in a hurry you can simply buy a bottle of chile oil.
Put a strainer over a large bowl and strain the chile oil. Slice a couple of lemons and add them to the bowl. Season with salt. Submerge a small, quartered chicken in the oil and let it sit for at least 4 hours (and up to a day).
Heat a cast iron skillet until it’s quite hot (about 5 minutes). Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Meanwhile remove the chicken from the chile oil and pat it dry. Sprinkle it with salt and shower it with freshly ground pepper; you need a lot. Slick the bottom of the pan with olive oil and put the chicken, skin side down, in the hot skillet. Cook until the skin is crisp and golden, which should take 8 to 10 minutes. Turn the chicken over so it’s skin-side up.
Put the skillet in a pre-heated 500 degree oven and roast about 20 minutes, or until a thermometer registers 170 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh.
Sprinkle with lemon juice, grind more pepper over the chicken and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving.
Excerpted from My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life by Ruth Reichl. Copyright © 2015 by Ruth Reichl. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Ruth Reichl is a writer, editor and author. She was the editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine for 10 years until its closing, a restaurant critic for The New York Times, and restaurant critic for and food editor of the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of several books including Garlic and Sapphires. She is the recipient of six James Beard Awards and several awards from the Association of American Food Journalists.