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Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary Gremolata

Yah, I know gremolata is traditionally made with parsley and is used raw as a condiment, but since I was going to be cooking it, I wanted something more pungent.

Using REALLY local ingredients, I snipped a few sizeable pieces of rosemary from our backyard. The rosemary bush is growing out of control – but it is one of the only plants that has survived the onslaught of the evil snails, so I love it. (Die, snails, die! And no, unfortunately they are not of the escargot variety.)

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All the ladies should be growing hedges of Rosemarinus officinalis, according to a supposedly old saying noted in this Encyclopedia Britannica entry:  “where rosemary thrives the mistress is master.” Hm.

Butterflying the chicken is key to helping it cook faster (30 minutes!), and you can put it on a grill pan in the oven like I did, or bring it out to the grill so that you get delicious crispy skin.  If you don’t have a grill pan or a grill, I guess you could put it on a roasting rack or a metal cooling rack in a roasting pan – just raise it up so it’s not sitting in the fat on the bottom of the pan.

Marinating the chicken ahead of time gives it great flavor – so prep it and stick it in the fridge in the morning or early afternoon on a Sunday, go about your business, and then pop it in the oven when you get home for an easy dinner.

Butterflied Chicken with Rosemary Gremolata

4-lb. whole chicken
1 T coarse kosher salt
3 large cloves garlic
12-inch sprig of rosemary
Zest of 1 lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Olive oil

At least two to three hours before you want to start cooking, rinse and dry the chicken. Split the chicken up the breastbone and push it flat. Pull the leaves off the rosemary sprig and chop together with garlic, salt, a few grinds of pepper and lemon zest until you get pretty fine bits. The salt should help break down the garlic and rosemary. It should be smelling pretty good!

Put the chicken in a glass or ceramic baking dish and spread the rosemary garlic paste under and/or over the skin of the chicken. Rub on some olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge to marinate for at least two to three hours.

To cook the chicken:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place chicken on a lightly greased grill pan, breast/skin side up. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until juices run clear when you puncture a meaty part with a fork. Check chicken every 15 minutes to baste with juices and cover with tin foil if it’s getting too brown too fast. Let rest 10 minutes before carving.

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