’Tis the season! I might be grasping at straws, but last weekend found me rejoicing, because it is grilling season. The hot, splattery world of cooking is moving outdoors. And while we are not singing around the campfire just yet, it feels like we have turned a little corner in our Covid-narrowed world. Maybe there is some relief ahead of us. I’ll wave to you over the back fence.
A year ago we became a Farm Family, buying a subscription to a small local poultry farm, which provided us with a whole chicken and 2 dozen gorgeous eggs every month. It’s not that we knew these chickens personally, but we feel a closer connection, and take more care when thinking about preparing them. Roasted chicken is my go-to meal – I could be happy with roasted chicken and rice every night of the week. But during the warmer months, when I happily cede cooking rights and privileges to Mr. Friday, we experiment.
Last Saturday night we spatchcocked that chicken. Spatchcocking makes it easier to grill a chicken in one layer, without overcooking or undercooking. Spatchcock is said to be shorthand for “dispatching the cock” – which means to open and flatten the chicken in order to cook it. I had to avert my eyes for the final, bone-crunching crack of its back, coward that I am. Julia Child would be disappointed in me, I know. But she would have poured Mr. Friday another glass of wine, and marched him off to the grill. This is a handy-dandy video: https://www.saveur.com/how-spatchcock-chicken/
I suspect that Mr. Friday chose this Grilled Spatchcocked Greek Chicken recipe because it came up first in his Google search, but it was quite deelish. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/grilled-spatchcocked-greek-chicken-3364920 It took more time to hunt and gather the ingredients than the time spent actually grilling. We had to take two masked trips to the market because dried oregano is just not the same as fresh. Nor is dried dill acceptable when you can fill the air with roughly chopped dill aroma as you whip up the marinade. Note: be careful not to grate your fingertips along with the 3 cloves of garlic.
After spatchcocking the bird we poured half of the marinade mixture (and the chicken) into a large plastic bag, and popped the bag into the fridge for an hour. Assiduously, Mr. Friday set the timer. And when the bird came out of the fridge, it sat, patted dry, at room temp, for half an hour. During the timed intervals we washed the asparagus, made a green salad, and whipped the cream for a chocolate cream pie for dessert. Remember, I warned you last week that everyone is going to gain 5 pounds during this quarantine period.
Mr. Friday prefers a gas grill, and used a meat thermometer to be sure he was following directions. I was busy adding green onions and the dill to the remaining marinade, which drizzled nicely over the well-cooked, and rested, spatchcocked chicken. We added the asparagus, candles, wine and Red Granger Radio. And then there was pie. Welcome summer grilling!
The folks at Bon Appétit have the added flourish of cooking a spatchcocked chicken using 2 bricks to keep the chicken flattened. This seems excessive to me, but you might enjoy yourself. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/chicken-under-a-brick
“One can follow the sun, of course, but I have always thought that it is best to know some winter, too, so that the summer, when it arrives, is the more gratefully received.”
― Beatriz Williams