In My Life, I've Loved Them All

Fine Dining Wrap Up: Chicken al Mattone

I was determined to actually make something out of the food magazines I love to read. My sights were set on bon appetit’s September issue cover art: Chicken al Mottone from Sfogila. (Yes, I realize this just means “chicken under a brick”, but that’s not exactly something a restaurant would want to list on the menu).

The only cost to this dish was the chicken itself (88 cents a pound, so about $3.75) and 2 lemons (20 cents each). All the other ingredients were your basic pantry staples like olive oil and garlic and red pepper flakes. Luckily I was able to save some more $$ by using some fresh rosemary from the garden (which was somewhat of an adventure to find).

rosemary from the garden

The marinade was easy to make. I did end up adding the zest from the lemon too. Figured it couldn’t hurt anything and lemony chicken is yummy.

In fact, the most time consuming part of the whole process was me butterflying the chicken. This would have gone a lot faster if I had kitchen sheers… and if I didn’t have such an aversion to animal bones. I was using a combo of scissors, a chefs knife, a paring knife and some tongs to attempt the operation without getting too freaked out. Sorry, no photos, didn’t want unsanitary chicken juice all over my camera :| Since me and the families were out an about the next day later than planned, the little chicken got to marinate over 2 nights…

Instructions for this recipe are HERE, but basically you just need to brown the chicken skin-side-down on the stove, top with a foil wrapped brick/cast iron skillet, and transfer to the oven. Again, all pretty easy tasks.

And here is the masterpiece! Looks good, maybe not quite as scrumptious as the cover art, but good.

A couple notes:

  • Flipping the whole chicken over is not easy when it is piping hot and so is the pan. I was using a hamburger-flipper spatula and an oven-mitted hand, and it was less then graceful.

  • Even though I sprayed the foil on the cast iron skillet with Pam, it still stuck to the chicken skin when I finally pulled it out of the oven. I had to peel off the foil very carefully in a band-aid like fashion… and lots some browned skin along the way :(

  • My family agreed that the skin did not get as crispy as we would have liked. This could be cause my wonky butterflying job meant not enough skin hit the surface of the pan, or maybe my pan was not the right size (and I used a non-stick pan), or perhaps the cast iron skillet didn’t allow enough air to circulate around the chicken as it was cooking.

On the bright side, the chicken was cooked all the way through, and still pretty juicy. It was also just the right amount of food for 4 people (coupled with southern-style green beans and biscuit). All in all, we enjoyed the meal. And it is something I’d try again. Though my parents think we could just spend a couple extra dollars and buy a rotisserie chicken already cooked at the store. But where’s the fun in that ;)

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  1. [...] see, my family doesnt particurlarly like the taste of rosemary (on chicken, in soups, etc). This may be a big reason we have so much growing in the backyard (little plants [...]

    Pingback by » Blog Archive » Playing In The Kitchen: Romano’s Macaroni Grill Bread — 3/25/2011 @ 4:55 pm

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