Pollo al Mattone – Chicken Under a Brick
This traditional Tuscan cooking method results in incredibly crispy skin and intensely flavorful meat. Weighting the chicken ensures that each part of the chicken is approximately the same thickness, so it cooks quickly and evenly. The weight also causes the fat under the skin to render and melt out, leaving the skin deliciously crisp.
By by Academia Barilla, adapted by the Sur La Table kitchen
Serves Makes 4 servings
- 1 (2- or 3-pound) chicken, split down backbone or halved
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Sapori Italiani Academia Barilla, to taste
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Toscano IGP Academia Barilla
- ½ teaspoon Sicilian Sea Salt with Black Olives Academia Barilla
- Pepper, to taste
- Split the chicken: with kitchen shears, cut along the backbone (if you like, remove the backbone completely by also cutting on the other side). Then open the chicken, like a book. Turn it bone-side down and press down on the breastbone with your hands. Pull each leg hard, until they are pulled out of their sockets, and then continue to press down until the chicken is flat.
- Press the chicken with your hands to a uniform thickness. In a bowl large enough to fit the chicken, mix together the garlic, Sapori seasoning, lemon juice, olive oil, Sicilian Sea Salt and pepper to form a marinade. Place the chicken in the marinade and allow to marinate for 2 to 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425°F degrees. Remove the chicken from the marinade. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the base of the mattone over medium heat. Let cook When it is hot, add the chicken skin side down, place the weighted lid on top of the chicken and place in the oven. Cook for approximately 45 minutes, turning 3 or 4 times and basting with pan juices. Cut the cooked chicken into four pieces and serve immediately.
- Note you can use a cast-iron skillet, in place of the mattone and then weigh it down with another skillet or 2 foil-covered bricks on top, pressing down to flatten the chicken.
- Garnish with lemon slices and serve.