Roast Chicken with Gremolata

Thursday 13 July 2017

I think one of our favourite meals has to be Roast Chicken.  That sweet moist meat . . .  the crisp and moreish skin . . . so tasty.  One might think that in the summer it is just too hot to roast a chicken, and most days that would probably be so, but what if I told you that you could roast a chicken in a fraction of the time that it normally takes and that you would end up with succulent meat and crisp skin?   Here's my secret . . .

Its called Spatchcocking, and it really isn't much of a secret.  Good cooks have been applying this cooking method to chicken and other birds for a very long time.  And it is such a simple thing to do.  All you need is a whole chicken and a good set of kitchen shears!

Spatchcocking involves removing the backbone of the chicken and then flattening it out, exposing more of the chicken to direct heat and ensuing that both the dark and white meat cook in approximately the same time and that the skin all over the chicken gets nice and crispy!

Removing the backbone is a relatively easy thing to do.  You just cut down the backbone of the chicken on both sides of it.  You can save the backbone for making stock later on down the road, so nothing is really wasted.  Once the bone is removed . . .

You make a little snip in the white cartilage at the tip of the breast and then the bird quite simply loses all of its resistance and you can flatten it out just like a butterfly . . .

The chicken cooks much quicker, with a smaller bird, in as little amount of time as half an hour, but in a larger bird, about an hour tops.  Its a simple thing but it works well.

Today I chose to slash my chicken all over by making cuts in the legs, thighs and breast with my kitchen scissors . . .

After that I rubbed it all over with a mix of olive oil and oregano leaves and a healthy sprinkling of seasalt and coarse black pepper.

Once it was done and resting, I roasted halved plum tomatoes in the pan juices for a further 15 minutes . . .  so good . . .  tomatoes roasted in chicken juices, until they are slightly soft and sticky . . . but the flavour doesn't stop there.  The finished dish gets accented by mix of lemon zest, chopped parsley and fresh garlic . . .  in other words . . . a gremolata.

 There is no gravy needed with all of that.  The sticky sweet roasted tomatoes . . .  that oregano rub which roasts right into that chicken and those cuts . . . that tangy, herby, spicy gremolata . . .  this is sooooooo good.  You won't want to miss out on this one!

I don't slice the chicken when I go to serve it.  I simply tear off pieces with a couple of forks.  So tender and so tasty.  Potatoes go well, but today I chose to serve it with some brown and wild rice and of course a tasty green salad on the side.


*Roast Chicken with Gremolata*
Serves 4

Tender, moist and flavourful.  Serve with potatoes and a green salad on the side. 

2 KG whole chicken, spatchcocked (see note) (4 1/2 pounds)
a small handful of fresh oregano leaves, loosely packed (1/4 cup)
1 TBS olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 medium plum tomatoes
1 TBS finely grated lemon zest
a large handful of fresh flat leaf parsley, choped (1/2 cup)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.   

Place the spatchcocked chicken on a large baking tray with sides.  Cut some slashes in the top of the legs, thighs and breasts with some kitchen scissors.   Mix together the oregano and olive oil.  Rub this all over the chicken.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roast, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.  Remove from pan, cover and set aside to rest. 

Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and place cut side up in the same dish.  Season with some salt and pepper.  Return to the oven and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.   

Make the gremolata.  Combine the lemon zest with the parsley and garlic.  Sprinkle over the tomatoes and chicken and serve. 

Note - To spatchcock a chicken, place the chicken breast side down with the bottom of the bird facing up. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, and beginning at the neck end, cut down along one side of the back bone.  Repeat on the other side.  Discard the back bone, or freeze for future use in making stock. Open the chicken and slice through the cartilage at the tip of the breastbone.  Turn cut side down and give the bird a firm push with the flat of your hand to flatten it out.  Your chicken is now spatchcocked. A spatchcocked chicken exposes more chicken to heat, resulting in a bird which will cook slightly quicker, with both the dark and white meat cooking in approximately the same amount of time.  It also results in lovely crisp skin.

Today this went down a real treat and I have plenty of tender juicy chicken leftover to make another meal with tomorrow . . . I can't wait!  Bon Appetit!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Monique! Sometimes the God's are with me! xo

  2. Never heard of spatchcocking a chicken. Great idea. Have you tried doing that and then grilling instead of roasting? Wonder how it would do?

    1. I have never done it myself Pat, but others do. It works very well. xo

    2. And Martha tells you how:


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