Food & Drink

Chicken Under A Brick

In his series The Italian Kitchen with Marco Canora, chef and cookbook author Marco Canora prepares classic Italian recipes that are simple and straightforward, but yield a surprising depth of flavor.

In this video, Marco makes a chicken dish cooked beneath a brick for even and quick cooking. First he cuts the back of a whole chicken to flatten it, exposing both breasts. He removes the keel bone and trims off excess fat, and then separates the skin from the breasts to make room for salt and herbs. Marco marinates the bird by rubbing salt, pepper and roughly chopped sage and rosemary leaves beneath the skin -- these spices and herbs will penetrate the meat during cooking. Marco then transfers the chicken to a large piece of plastic wrap, and scatters sliced garlic, sprigs of sage and rosemary, and lemon zest over the top of the chicken. He sprinkles a little more salt and pepper, drizzles some olive oil, and wraps the chicken in the plastic wrap. He then leaves the chicken in the fridge for at least an hour, but up to 8 (overnight).

Next comes the brick. Marco heats a large pan until it's very hot, discards the lemon, herbs and garlic from the chicken, and salts its skin one last time. He adds the chicken to the pan, and then places a foil-wrapped brick on top of the chicken. He leaves it over the high heat for 30 to 45 seconds, and then pops it in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes. How do you tell if the chicken's done? Poke a knife into the thickest part of the chicken leg (which takes the longest to cook) to make sure that the juices are running clear. And before you dump out the juices from the pan, return the pan to the stove with some fresh garlic slices, and add in blanched rapini (or broccoli rabe) to sautée it with these strong flavors. Plate the greens with your whole chicken...and dinner is served.