Tuesday 24 February 2015

Dino Joannides’s grilled spatchcocked chicken

The key to a successful sauce is to use a sharp knife rather than a food processor. A mezzaluna is the perfect implement.
To spatchcock a chicken, place it on a board breast side down, with the legs towards you. Using poultry shears or a strong pair of scissors, cut right along the backbone and through the ribs on either side of the parson’s nose. Lift out the backbone, open out the chicken and turn it over. Now press down with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness. Insert two skewers diagonally through the breast and thigh meat to secure the legs and keep the bird flat.
Serves 4
spatchcocked chicken 1 medium-large
extra virgin olive oil 6 tbsp
Trapani sea salt 2 tsp
For the salsa verde
fresh flat leaf parsley 1 large bunch
Nola or Cetara anchovy fillets 4
garlic cloves 2, crushed
sea salt 1 tsp
capers 2 tbsp
red wine vinegar 1 tbsp
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil 150ml
Coat the chicken with the olive oil, sprinkle with the sea salt, then allow it to rest for 30 minutes.
The meat can be cooked on a barbecue, under a grill or in a griddle pan, so preheat as necessary. Cook the chicken, skin-side down first, for 15-20 minutes, depending on its size, then repeat on the other side. When it is ready, you should be able to easily pull it apart with your hands into 4–6 pieces.
While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa verde. Cut off and discard three-quarters of the parsley stalks. Place the remaining parsley on a wooden board and chop it using a mezzaluna. The texture is up to you, depending how you like your salsa verde. I opt for a rough chop if it’s going to accompany roast or grilled chicken, but I prefer an almost paste-like version for serving with bollito misto. Add the anchovy fillets, garlic and salt to the parsley and continue chopping until they are combined.
For a loose, rough-textured salsa, put the chopped ingredients into a large bowl, add some pepper and pour in the oil slowly whilst stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The finished salsa should look like very wet chopped parsley with specks of anchovy and garlic still being visible. For a paste-like consistency, put the parsley mixture into a marble mortar, add the chopped capers and vinegar, and pound together, using a light circular movement of the pestle against the sides. When the parsley drips bright green liquid, add the pepper and a thin layer of olive oil, and mix very lightly. Keep drizzling in the oil and pounding until you have used all the oil and achieved a paste-like consistency.
Both versions are best prepared just before you plan to eat. I do not recommend keeping it in the fridge. Instead, make as much as you need and eat it all. Place the chicken pieces in a serving dish and dress with the salsa.


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