Chicken al Mattone

he brick presses the chicken onto the pan so that it comes out moist and juicy, with lovely golden skin. And it doesn't require much seasoning—just a simple marinade. For ease of preparation, ask the butcher to cut out the backbone of the chicken. Start preparing this dish one day ahead; the chicken needs to marinate overnight.


September 2009


  • 1 4-pound whole chicken, backbone cut away and discarded, rinsed, patted dry
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus additional sprigs for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • Chopped fresh Italian parsley


  • Brick wrapped in aluminum foil or heavy cast-iron skillet


  • Open chicken flat like book; place butterflied chicken, skin side down, on rimmed baking sheet. Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, and garlic in small bowl. Rub mixture all over both sides of chicken. Cover and chill overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Sprinkle chicken with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes (do not turn chicken over). Place foil-wrapped brick (or cast-iron skillet) crosswise atop chicken; roast in oven 30 minutes. Remove brick and turn chicken over; return brick to chicken and continue to roast until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 15 minutes longer. Remove brick and transfer chicken to platter. Drizzle chicken with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and parsley. Garnish with rosemary sprigs.