Crispy outside and juicy tender meat inside, this Tuscany inspired chicken recipe will amaze you.
A few years ago, at a birthday party, I was sitting with a fellow parent that is executive chef in the best Italian restaurant in the city. I remember he and I agreed on how Italian cooking is based on the quality of the ingredients . “Think about Caprese” he told me “Fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and good olive oil, and you have a wonderful dish”. How to disagree? You pour some olive oil and even mediocre dish become a masterpiece. But it was only when I read Samin Nosrat “Salt Fat Acid Heat” that I made full sense of the conversation I had with Chef Giuseppe. According chef Nosrat those four elements are the very base of every cooking and once you master them, you are a good cook. Italian cooking is probably based on fat, olive oil in central and southern Italy, butter in the North. But reading this book I made sense also of a Tuscan recipe: pollo al mattone, chicken under the brick. Where in the world could I find a brick, here in Istanbul? And more important, why? But here what chef Nosrat says: “As she drove us home, I told her we’d bone out the thighs and season them with salt. Then we’d cook them in a little olive oil, in a preheated cast iron pan over medium-low heat, skin side down, with another cast iron pan (or foil-wrapped can of tomatoes) weighing them down. Combining moderate heat with the weight encourages the fat to render, leaving behind crisp skin and tender meat. It’s dark meat that cooks up as quickly and easily as white meat.” Excerpt From: Nosrat, Samin. “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.”
So that’s it, if you have iron cast pans and casseroles you can do the trick, and it is worthy. So here another of our family recipes
Serve 3-4 persons
Half a chicken ( I suggest you free range organic, it has better flavor and texture)
For the marinade:
The juice of a lemon
1 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper
Lay the chicken in a large bowl and pour the mixture over the marinade ingredients, Marinate for at least an hour, or as long as overnight.
Heat your cast iron pan until it’s hot and grease with oil. Place the chicken on the grill, skin with the skin down. Weigh the chicken down with the large lid of cast iron casserole,
Grill the chicken until golden brown (about half an hour).
Cut it into pieces and serve with vinegar or lemon juice dressed salad (it makes a nice contrast according chef Nosrat.