Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brick-Grilled Garlic Chicken with Green Olives

Tuscany is credited with developing this style of grilling chicken, called pollo al mattone in Italian. Flattening the bird with the weight of bricks allows for quicker, more even cooking throughout. And the results are delicious.

You don’t need much adornment for this dish because the marinated, juicy, tender meat spells succulent flavor all by itself. I simply mixed up some olives and olive oil with fresh lemon juice and chopped herbs leftover from the marinade. Spoon it on top and serve.

Tip: Kitchen shears are your best friend when it’s time to butterfly a chicken. Lay the bird breast-side down on a cutting board, and clip off the tail. Slowly cut along one side of the backbone from the bottom up to the neck cavity. Repeat on the other side and remove the backbone. Push the sides of the chicken out (like opening a book) and flatten slightly. Turn it breast-side up and press on the breastbone to flatten more, then let the bricks do the rest while grilling.

Cut along 1 side of the backbone

Cut along the other side and remove
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, basil, and chives, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-lb chicken, butterflied
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped green olives
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
  1. Combine the garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, and half the herbs in a small bowl and season generously with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a baking dish large enough to hold it butterflied.
  2. Gently lift the skin without tearing or loosening too much (just enough to slide your fingers underneath). Rub some of the marinade over the flesh and rub the remainder all over the outside, front and back. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).

Rub Mixture

Ready to Chill
  1. Prepare a grill for off-heat cooking. (For a charcoal grill, bank the coals on one side.) Wrap 2 bricks in a double layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Remove the chicken from the dish and gently blot any excess oil from the skin. Place breast-side down on the off-heat side of the grill and place the bricks on top, positioning to cover and flatten as much of the chicken as possible.
  3. Grill 10 minutes, undisturbed. Use heavy tongs or oven mitts to move the bricks to the side. Turn the chicken over then replace the bricks.
  4. Continue grilling, turning 2 or 3 times, until the chicken is browned and cooked through, about 1 hour, depending on size. (Note: About halfway through, turn the bricks over so that the first sides that touched the raw chicken are now turned up, away from skin and flesh.)
  5. Meanwhile, combine the olives, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, and remaining chopped herbs in a bowl.

Beginning to Grill

After 1st Turn

Grilled Chicken

Olive Mixture
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes. Carve into 4 pieces and place on a platter. Spoon the olive mixture overtop and serve.

Brick-Grilled Garlic Chicken with Green Olives


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