Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken With Sicilian Salsa

Spatchcocked Grilled Chicken With Sicilian Salsa

Spatchcocking is a great technique to use when you’re short on time; it can be used on chickens, turkeys, game hens, etc. If grilling isn’t an option, place a cooling rack in a rimmed sheet pan, put the bird on the rack, and roast in the oven. This recipe comes from master griller Steven Raichlen, a longtime member of the Club, whose TV show “Project Fire” airs on American Public Television.


  • 1 roasting chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea)
  • 1 teaspoon cracked or coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or tarragon
  • Juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for serving
  • 1 bunch fresh arugula, washed and dried, for serving
    Sicilian Salsa, for serving (recipe follows)


  1. Spatchcock the chicken by removing the backbone with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Turn the chicken over (breast side up) and gently flatten it with the palms of your hands. (Remove the cartilaginous breast bone, if you’d like, by running a sharp knife down both sides and popping it out.) Arrange the chicken in a large nonreactive baking dish.
  2. Combine the salt, pepper, hot red pepper flakes, rosemary, garlic, and lemon zest in a small bowl and mix with your fingers. Sprinkle this mixture over the chicken on all sides, rubbing it into the meat.
  3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken, followed by the 1/4 cup of olive oil. Turn the chicken a couple times to coat it well. Refrigerate the chicken for at least 30 minutes (or even overnight).
  4. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium. In the best of all worlds, you’d build your fire with oak chunks. Alternatively, you can toss some wood chips or chunks on the coals.
  5. Brush and oil the grill grate. Arrange the chicken on the grate, skin side down. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the skin’s nicely browned. Carefully turn the chicken. Grill 15 to 20 minutes more, or until done. The internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh should be 165°F. Arrange on a bed of arugula that’s been tossed with a tablespoon of olive oil. Serve with the salsa.

Sicilian Salsa Ingredients

  • 2 large ripe red tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
  • 1 small white onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced hothouse cucumber
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 16 kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons small brined capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or basil
  • 1/4 cup best quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (or more to taste)
  • Coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper

Sicilian Salsa Directions

  1. In a small mixing bowl, gently mix—a rubber spatula works well for this—the tomato, onion, cucumber, garlic, olives, and capers. Stir in the tarragon, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add salt (remember, the capers and olives are salty) and pepper to taste.

Serves 4Recipe from Food and Wine, June 2007