As summer takes hold of the Western hemisphere, we begin to think twice about turning on the oven and filling our homes with more hot air. Instead the masses take to the outdoors, firing up grills in yards across America.
There are times, however, you might find yourself in a position where grilling isn’t an option. You don’t have all the necessary tools, you’re in an area that restricts grills, or maybe you’re all alone but can’t stop dreaming about of grilled food.
I’m holding down the fort here while he makes his way back up from Texas with the trailer, and was struck yesterday with a longing for bricked chicken Would all the hassle be worth it for just one person? Buy charcoal, find a brick to wrap in foil, pounce on the picnic area grill before the hordes of hungry vacationers, sit there by myself as it cooks. It seemed silly.
Maybe you already thought of an answer to my dilemma, but for me the lower-maintenance alternative was a last minute revelation — the broiler. (A true aha! moment.)
Cooking the chicken this way provides crispy, charred skin quite similar to grilling. Because you butterfly and marinate the meat, it can cook all the way through in a shorter amount of time, meaning juicy, moist and flavorful meat. Of course if you really have your heart set on that smoky grill flavor, this might fall short. Though I highly doubt it could disappoint anyone.
So with a little ingenuity and adaptability, having limited (or no) access to certain tools shouldn’t keep you from enjoying the food you crave. And this recipe is perfect for when you’re home alone, cooking for two or the whole family.
Broiled Butterflied Chicken with Lemon, Garlic and Caper Gremolata [serves 2 to 4]
1/2 c olive (or canola) oil
2 T finely chopped fresh oregano (or rosemary) leaves
2 T lemon zest + 2 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 T, plus 1 t minced fresh garlic
1 (3 to 3 1/4 lb) chicken, butterflied
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
4 thin slices of lemon, any seeds removed
1 T capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 T flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Position an oven rack about 8 to 10″ from the broiler and preheat.
Whisk together the oil, 2 T oregano (or rosemary), 1 T lemon zest and the lemon juice in a large baking dish. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the 2 T minced garlic, then mash into a paste with the side of your knife. Add garlic paste to the pan and whisk again. Add the chicken and turn to coat completely. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the marinade, blot off excess oil, and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken skin-side up on a broiler pan (or a rack on a baking sheet). Position the halves about 2″ apart with the thick parts of the legs facing the center.
Broil the chicken until the skin is light brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. If the chicken browns too quickly, lower the oven rack. Flip the chicken and the lemons and continue to broil until almost cooked through (a thermometer inserted into the thickest part will register 160° F), about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken again and carefully top with the lemon slices; broil until the skin is brown and crisp and the thermometer registers 165° F, 2 to 4 more minutes. Remove from the broiler.
While the chicken rests a moment, mix together the remaining garlic and 1 T lemon zest with the capers and parsley. Sprinkle the mixture over the chicken. Serve immediately.
Loosely adapted from Ina Garten