We are being blessed with glorious weather here in Montreal. Temperatures have been in the low 20’s (50’s in F), with some days as high as 25 degrees C. Unbelievable! Our windows are open all day long, I go out wearing just a T-shirt and jeans or shorts, and we’ve been sleeping with our window open at night. Oh, and we’ve been barbecuing quite a bit. We love to use the barbie and being able to stretch out the season is wonderful. This is a long weekend for us as we celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. And as they’re calling for brilliant weather all weekend long, we’ll be sure to grill our way through to Thanksgiving Monday.
Olive oil, lemon, garlic and rosemary are the quintessential flavours of Tuscany. I use this mix of seasonings on my beef roasts, as in this Sunday Roast, when grilling lamb, and even on my pork kebabs. But my ultimate favourite is when grilling chicken. A whole chicken, butterflied, adapted from an Ina Garten recipe. Or spatchcock chicken, as our friends over in the U.K. call it. Don’t you just love that word? Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends.
1 whole chicken
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 3 lemons
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves minced
1 lemon, cut in half
You can ask the butcher to butterfly the chicken, or you can do so yourself. I’ve gotten pretty good at it. With good kitchen shears and a good sharp boning knife, it is pretty easy. Cut the backbone out with shears, then lay the chicken open, skin side down, and remove the breast bone with a sharp boning knife.
In a dish big enough to lay down the open chicken, combine the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, rosemary and pepper. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with salt and add the chicken to the marinade, turning to coat. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 to 8 hours, or overnight, turning the chicken over a few times and spooning some marinade over it.
Prepare your charcoal fire by piling the coals over on one side of the grill. When they’re ready, spread some of the coals, about 1/4 of them, over to the other side of the grill. If using a gas barbie, grill over low heat. Place the chicken down on the grill over the smaller amount of coals, skin side up. Weigh down the chicken with a heavy pot, bricks or a stone, covered in foil paper. This method allows for the chicken to cook evenly.
Grill for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown. Turn the chicken over, weigh it down again, and grill for another 15 minutes, until it is cooked through and the skin is golden brown. Grill the lemon halves, cut side down, during the last 10 minutes of grilling. If your coals are too hot, the skin might be a little darker than it should, as happened with my chicken. Nonetheless, it was quite delicious. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Squeeze the grilled lemons over the chicken and then cut into single serving pieces. Buon appetito!