Spring is arriving, and with it barbecues. Since grilled chicken is a perennial favorite you may think there's really no reason for yet another recipe. However this, which Vittorio uses when he grills chickens for the Misericordia Di Fiesole's cookouts, is a cut above most: Simple, delicately flavored, and mild enough that you won't need to chase your drumstick with a quart of beer.
- A chicken
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (Kosher salt will work fine)
- 3-4 leaves of fresh sage
- 2 cloves garlic
- A 10-inch sprig of rosemary
- Pepper to taste (go easy)
- A quarter cup of olive oil
- Split the chicken up the breastbone, squash it flat, and fold the wings up behind its back.
- Strip the leaves from 6 inches of the sprig of rosemary (reserve the rest to serve as a brush) and mince them with the sage, salt and garlic. Once the mixture is reduced to a paste, add a little bit of ground pepper to it, stir half the oil into it, and rub it into the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for an hour or so. In the mean time, build a hot fire in your barbecue.
- Place the chicken on a rack about 6 inches above the coals and grill it, turning it often and basting it with the remaining olive oil. Don't be surprised if the grease from the bird catches fire -- merely lift it out of the way until the flames subside. The chicken will take an hour or slightly more to cook; it will be done when the meat begins to pull up along the drumsticks and the juices run clear if you insert a skewer into the hip joint.
- Grilled chicken goes wonderfully with grilled sausages (use sweet Italian sausages, and prick the skins before you put them on the grill) and grilled vegetables.