Pollo al Mattone, or chicken cooked under bricks, is the juiciest, crispiest, most delicious chicken ever. Seriously, it is divine and easy as can be. If you have a couple of bricks or even 2 barbells laying around, you can make this!
The weight of the bricks keeps the chicken flat and lets it get super juicy and crispy as it cooks. This is such an easy yet impressive recipe that’s full of robust flavor. Everyone at your table will be happy! I found the recipe in Williams-Sonoma’s beautiful coffee table book, Williams-Sonoma Savoring Tuscany: Recipes and Reflections on Tuscan Cooking.
This recipe is wonderful any time of year but it particularly lends itself to the grill. It’s a great recipe when company is coming because you can do 2 chickens just as easily as one. Each chicken will feed 4 people.
Ingredients for marinade: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.
Tuscan Chicken Under a Brick
- 1 organic chicken, 4 pounds
- 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 dried hot chile, crumbled or 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Lay the chicken on its back. Separate the breast into halves by cutting down the center of the breastbone.
- Turn the chicken, flatten it and, using the heel of your hand, crack the backbone.
- Turn the wings back and fold the tips under the breast. Make small slits on either side of the breast tips, then insert the ends of the drumsticks into each opening.
- Pour the 1⁄4 cup olive oil into a dish large enough to hold the flattened chicken, then add the garlic, chili, salt and pepper. Lay the chicken in the marinade and turn to coat with the mixture.
- Cover and marinate at room temperature for 1 hour, turning the chicken from time to time.
- In a large, heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 3 Tbs. olive oil. When the oil is hot, remove the chicken from the marinade and lay it, skin side up, in the pan.
- Top with a heavy cast-iron pan and fill the pan with 2 stacked bricks or other weights. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove the weights, then transfer the chicken to a plate and drain off all but 1 Tbs. of the fat from the pan.
- Return the chicken, skin side down, to the pan and weight it down again. Continue to cook until the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, cut into serving pieces and divide among warmed individual plates. Serves 4.
- You can make this recipe either on the stove top or on the grill. On your grill, put chicken, skin side up, on the grill and lay a heavy, weighted iron skillet on top. Grill about 15 minutes and gently flip it over and grill it skin side down, about 15 minutes more, until done.
- I didn’t have a dried chile pepper so I used crushed red pepper and it worked perfectly.
- I sprinkled the chicken with some chopped fresh parsley from my garden.
- This would be lovely with roast potatoes, a big green salad and some crusty Italian bread.
The grill master hard at work:)