If you’re intimidated by butterflying the chickens (spatchcocking), simply buy chicken halves for this recipe. They’ll cook faster than whole chickens. The chicken can be roasted in an oven (even a pizza oven) or grilled.
- 2 roasting chickens, each 3 1/2 to 4 pounds
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated or minced
- 2 teaspoons Aleppo pepper, or more to taste (see Note)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 cup olive oil, divided use
- 1 cup Castelvetrano, Cerignola, or other green olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra leaves for serving
The night before you plan to grill or roast the chickens, spatchcock them by placing on a work surface and removing the backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Turn the chickens over, breast side up, and open them up, pushing against the countertop, as much as possible. Using your palms, press
firmly on the breastbone to flatten the breast. You may hear a crack. This means you’re doing it right. Set the chickens, breast sides up, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Season generously on both sides with salt and black pepper. Chill, uncovered, at least 8 hours. (This step gives you crisper skin.)
Set the chickens (still on the baking sheet) on your counter. Combine the garlic, Aleppo pepper, rosemary, and 1/4 cup of olive oil in a small bowl. Rub the chickens all over with the mixture and return to the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.
Set up your grill for indirect grilling and heat to medium-high. (Alternatively, roast the chickens on a wire rack set over a rimmed sheet pan in an oven preheated to 425°F.) Set the chickens, skin sides down, on the grate away from direct heat. Cover the grill. Grill, rotating the chickens as needed so that they color evenly, until the skins are lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Turn the chickens and continue to cook, covered, until the skins are a deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of breasts registers 160°F, 20 to 25 minutes more. Transfer the chickens to a cutting board and let them rest at least 10 minutes before carving.
Mix the olives, orange juice, oregano, chopped parsley, the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, and any accumulated juices from chicken on the cutting board in a medium bowl. Season with salt. Mix the olives, orange juice, oregano, chopped parsley, the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil, and any accumulated juices from chicken on the cutting board in a medium bowl. Season with salt.
To serve, arrange the carved chickens on a platter and top with the olive mixture and parsley leaves.
Note: Aleppo pepper is widely used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Sweet Hungarian pepper with a pinch of cayenne can be substituted.
Serves 6 — Recipe adapted from bonappetit.com