Author and regular contributor Sally Schneider is a crack cook with an easy way in the kitchen. She sees classic dishes through modern eyes, preserving the recipe's essentials but streamlining it for today's cooks.
This recipe is an example. Sally could see a fast weeknight meal in this traditional Italian technique of cooking a whole chicken under a brick. You need only a large skillet and some weights.
As Sally says, "The result is succulent chicken -- both white meat and dark -- with a delectable crisp skin, and with much more flavor than the ubiquitous boneless breast; loss of bones always means loss of flavor."
The dish takes about 10 minutes of actual work and about 30 minutes unattended cooking time, during which time, Sally says, "You can have a cocktail and put the rest of your meal together, as your home fills with a lovely fragrance."
One 3-pound chicken (organic, if possible), rinsed, dried, and butterflied
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Fresh-ground black pepper
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary or thyme
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
8 garlic cloves, unpeeled, lightly smashed
1. Tuck the bird's wings back and under themselves so that they lie flat against the breast. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with the kosher salt and pepper. Rub, and then press, the rosemary into both sides so it remains in contact with the meat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Put the chicken in the skillet, skin side up. Place one or two foil-wrapped bricks on top of the chicken; or use a heavy skillet, about 2 inches smaller in diameter than the skillet you are cooking in. (If you don't have a heavy enough pan -- 4 to 5 pounds - use another smooth bottomed item, such as a saucepan. Balance it on the bird and add heavy objects to weight the pan down, such as a can or two, or a 5-pound bag of sugar, or a rock.)
3. Cook the chicken for 10 minutes, or until the underside is brown. Remove the weights, and with tongs, turn the chicken over; replace the weights. Nestle the garlic cloves around the bird, and continue cooking until the skin is crisp and brown, about 12 minutes. The bird is done when an instant-reading thermometer reads 170 F in the thigh. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes. If desired, pour the pan juices over the bird when serving.
From The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift, Clarkson Potter, 2008.
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