- 3 1/2 lb. chicken, cut into eight (8) parts
- 1-inch fresh rosemary (or 1/3 teaspoon dried)
- One (1) small clove garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Two (2) tablespoons lemon juice, divided in half
- Six (6) tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup water
- Rosemary for garnish
Season and marinate the chicken overnight, preferably eighteen (18) to twenty-four (24) hours. Cook the chicken about two (2) hours before dining, keep at room temperature and the reheat as described below.
Make the Marinade:
- In a food processor or mortar and pestle, blend the rosemary, garlic, pepper, salt and 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice.
- Rub it all over the chicken and refrigerate overnight or up to twenty-four (24) hours.
The timing of this is pretty specific, so take care to follow to the minute.
- Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch pan over medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken skin side down and sear for two (2) or three (3) minutes until lightly browned.
- Turn the pieces over to coat them with the oil.
- Set a 9-inch cake pan on top of the chicken and weigh it down with three (3) or four (4) heavy cans.
- After eight (8) minutes, remove the weights and turn the breast pieces.
- After ten (10) minutes, turn the leg and thigh pieces.
- Sprinkle the chicken with the other tablespoon of lemon juice.
- Put the weight back on and cook the breasts another eight (8) minutes and legs/thighs ten (10) minutes.
- Then crisp the chicken to a rich dark brown by reducing the heat to medium-low and arranging all the pieces back in the pan, skin side up.
- Cook under the weighted pan for another two (2) minutes.
- With a slotted spoon or tongs, immediately remove the pieces to a platter. Let the chicken cool, about ten (10) minutes, then lightly cover with foil, then set aside for 2 hours but don’t refrigerate before the second cooking.
- Pour out all the fat and replace the pan over high heat.
- Pour in the 1/2 cup water. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and boil the liquid down by half for about three (3) minutes.
- Turn the pan juices into a small bowl and put in the freezer for two (2) hours, then lift off the hardened fat on top.
- When you’re fifteen (15) minutes from wanting to eat, heat the skillet to medium and put the chicken pieces in, skin side down.
- Top with the weight one more time and warm for five (5) minutes.
- Set the weight aside and turn the chicken pieces, moistening each piece with the reserved pan juices (which should be slightly gelatinous).
- Cover lightly with foil and heat for another eight (8) minutes.
- Pile the chicken on a platter, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and garnish with a couple sprigs of rosemary.
Enjoy hot or at room temperature with pasta and/or salads.
This simple, elegant preparation is especially useful for company since it can be prepared mostly ahead of time and needs little last-minute attention.