Herbed Spatchcocked Chicken
A smaller bird is recommended. Organic birds tend to be smaller; the meat is tenderer and it cooks faster when flat. Ask the butcher (even at the supermarket) to cut out the backbone. (Take it home and use it for broth.) Or cut it out yourself with kitchen shears. Set the chicken breast down on a cutting board or a towel, and cut all the way down on either side of the backbone. Spatchcocking means the bird has had its backbone removed so it opens like a book. All that surface contact with the pan means faster cooking and more surface available for seasoning.
A classic combination is chicken with potatoes, onions, and carrots with lemon and garlic and either rosemary or oregano. If you use fresh rosemary, chopping is unnecessary. Simply rub the herb all over the chicken, and then add the sprigs to the bowl with the veggies.
1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds. if available
1 large lemon, ends trimmed, cut in half
3 medium to large yellow potatoes, washed and cut into 4-6 pieces, depending on size
1 large onion, peeled, cut in half and sliced
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 bulb of garlic, root end sliced and cloves separated but unpeeled
2 large or 3 small fresh rosemary sprigs or 1-2 tablespoons fresh Greek oregano
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Diamond Crystal kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
After you remove the backbone turn the chicken so the skin side is up and press down hard on the breast bone to flatten the bird.
Cut the lemon in half vertically. Squeeze the juice from half over the chicken, rubbing the lemon on the flesh and skin side. Cut both halves of the lemon (included the one squeezed) into slices. If you are using rosemary rub it all over the bird. If using oregano, rub a teaspoon or so over it. Drizzle a bit of olive oil all over the bird and rub it in, plus salt and pepper.
Put the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic cloves and lemon slices in a bowl. Salt and pepper to taste and add a healthy drizzle of olive oil. Toss to mix.
Lay the seasoned vegetables on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Lay the seasoned bird on top of the vegetables skin side up. You can arrange the veggies around the bird so more get browned. Veggies cooked in chicken juices are extra flavorful.
Bake in the oven until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when you pierce a thigh, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let the chicken rest 10 minutes before carving. Serve the chicken and vegetables on a platter bathed in the extra juices. Serves 4.