Monday, September 12, 2011

The best roast chicken marinade

Summer is almost over and grilling season is ending. So in spite of the looming fall and impending winter, I decided to grill this weekend. It was probably one of the last weekends of nice grilling weather so I fired up the electric grill (I can't own a propane grill in NYC and my building disallows charcoal) on the terrace. 

For the marinade, I was inspired by a roast chicken that I recently had at Locanda Verde, an amazing Italian place in Tribeca. The restaurant is run by Andrew Carmellini, a wizard at Italian cuisine and excellent restauranteur. Locanda is definitely one of my favorite brunch spots in the city, as well as an amazing deal for dinner (get the blue crab crostini!). 

I combined thinly sliced lemon, salt, pepper, sugar, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, corn oil, rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes, and roasted garlic puree and mixed well. I had purchased two whole chickens which I cut apart myself using the technique I learned here: I saved the two chicken backs and used them for stock (one onion halved, two carrots chopped, bay leaf, and parsley) which I made while the chicken pieces were marinating.

Once the chicken was done marinating, I cooked the chicken pieces on high on each side for about two minutes. I also grilled rosemary corn while these were cooking.

When I bit into the chicken, I was immediately reminded of the intensely juicy and flavorful chicken I had at Locanda. Even though I don't have a wood-fired grill, it was still comparable, sans the woody flavor that is oh so good. It was a perfect weekend to herald the coming of autumn.

Marinated Chicken Alla Griglia
Adapted from Andrew Carmellini (Locanda Verde)
An overnight marinade, plus about ½ hour of cooking time.

For the marinade:
¼ cup roasted garlic purée ( made by roasting whole garlic cloves covered in olive oil in the oven at 300 degrees for an hour)
½ cup rice vinegar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ grape seed oil or corn oil
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1 lemon, thinly slices
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
For the chicken:
2 whole chickens, cut into pieces (thighs, drumsticks, wings and drumettes, and breasts)
½ teaspoon each of salt and course-ground black pepper

1. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Place the chicken halves in a large container and pour the marinade over the top. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
3. Fire up the grill or preheat the broiler.
4. Remove the chicken's from the marinade (but don't wipe the herbs off; they're delicious charred with on the skin). Season with more salt and pepper.
5. If you're using a grill: Place the chicken's skin-side down and grill them on high. After 2 minutes, turn the halves 45°. After another 2 minutes, turn the halves 45° again. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the chicken until the juice runs clear when you stick a leg with a knife, about 20 minutes, depending on your grill.
6. If you're using the broiler: Place the chickens on a roasting rack and broil them until the skins are crisp, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to 425° and bake the chicken until the juice runs clear when you stick the leg with a knife, about 20 minutes.
7. Serve immediately, with the vegetables and accompaniments of your choice.

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