Home Page
Cooking Tips
Healthy Cooking
Menu Favorites
Thom's Chili Bowl
Contact Us
Photo Gallery
About Us

Message Box




A Cooking Adventure with Thom

Maroon Printer Friendly Copy      

Chicken Under a Brick

Bon Appetit Magazine

Recipe by Sfoglia

Photograph by Lisa Hubbard

September 2009

Servings: 4



Chef Ron Suhanosky of Sfoglia roasts his chicken al mattone ("with a brick"). Use our Test Kitchen's tip link, How to Prepare Chicken Under a Brick for help. This old Italian technique is typically associated with grilling, but Suhanosky proves it's just as successful in the oven. The brick presses the chicken onto the pan so that it comes out moist and juicy, with lovely golden skin. And it doesn't require much seasoning—just a simple marinade. For ease of preparation, ask the butcher to cut out the backbone of the chicken. Start preparing this dish one day ahead; the chicken needs to marinate overnight.



1 4-pound whole chicken, backbone cut away and discarded, rinsed, patted dry

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil or olive oil, divided

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary plus additional sprigs for garnish

2 garlic cloves, pressed

Coarse Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Chopped fresh Italian parsley


Special Equipment:

Brick wrapped in aluminum foil or heavy cast-iron skillet

Cooking Method

To Prepare Chicken:

Text by Amy Albert and Illustrations by Arthur Mount

How to Prepare Chicken Under a Brick


1. Set the chicken, breast side down, on a work surface. Starting at the tail end, cut down 1 side of the backbone, staying as close to the bone as you can. Cut along the other side of the backbone, removing it. (Save the bone for making soup or stock.)

How to Prepare Chicken Under a Brick


2. Open the chicken and flatten it with the heels of both hands. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet. Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, and 2 pressed garlic cloves in a small bowl. Rub the mixture all over the chicken; cover and chill it overnight.

How to Prepare Chicken Under a Brick


3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, to the skillet; cook until golden, about 7 minutes (don't turn the chicken).

How to Prepare Chicken Under a Brick


4. Set a foil-wrapped brick across the chicken in the skillet and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the chicken 30 minutes. Remove the brick; turn the chicken over. Put the brick back on the chicken; roast until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes longer.

To Cook Chicken:


Open chicken flat like book; place butterflied chicken, skin side down, on rimmed baking sheet.

Mix 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, and garlic in small bowl.  Rub mixture all over both sides of chicken. Cover and chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

 Sprinkle chicken with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1.      Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

2.      Add chicken, skin side down, to skillet and cook until golden brown, about 7 minutes (do not turn chicken over).

3.      Place foil-wrapped brick (or cast-iron skillet) crosswise atop chicken.

4.      Roast in oven 30 minutes.

 Remove brick and turn chicken over.

·         Return brick to chicken and continue to roast until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced, about 15 minutes longer.

 Remove brick and transfer chicken to platter.

 Drizzle chicken with remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and sprinkle with crushed red pepper and parsley.

·         Garnish with rosemary sprigs

819 Mountshire Terrace, Chester, Virginia 23836 Phone: (804) 530-1183