The day before grocery shopping can be pretty touch and go around here. Many beans have been eaten. However, this time I still had a whole chicken hanging around in the fridge. Originally, I bought it to roast in the oven, which I do almost every Sunday evening because it is super easy and somehow rejuvenating after a long weekend of whatever. The only problem is roasting a chicken puts out a lot of heat into my small, already hot kitchen. No a/c here, thank you! Yesterday was hot and sticky, and the last thing I wanted to do was add to that feeling with a hot and sticky roasted bird. I vaguely thought about what we could do – order out, order out, order out! – but ultimately decided to try to keep it together and actually cook something.
Cue suddenly remembering that I have always wanted to spatchcock a bird and grill it like Nigella Lawson in her book, Forever Summer. I’ve had that book for years, and truly always dreamed of getting to cut a bird down the middle and throwing it on the grill. According to her it only takes about 35 minutes or so to cook an entire chicken that way, which was the detail that sealed the deal for me. I figured we would try it (Brandon is in charge of the grill), and then just order pizza when the bird was raw, the coals were cold, and we were angry with each other. Only it didn’t happen that way. The chicken really did cook fast – 40 or so minutes, which was not enough time to get mad at each other despite the heat – and it tasted amazing. And the potato salad I put together from odds and ends in the fridge was pretty great too!
Nigella suggests marinating the chicken for 24 hours or however long you have. I had about 4 hours when I finally started it. So I cut the bird up the back with an enormous bread knife (it was the only one clean and sharp enough at this point). It was pretty gruesome and turned my stomach somewhat – not a great start to the project. I stuffed it and the marinade I concocted into a gallon ziploc bag and left it in the fridge until the grill was hot. I did feel accomplished seeing the chicken soaking up the marinade in the no nonsense bag – it reminded me of the big walk in coolers in my restaurant days, organized and prepared by chefs and cooks who knew what they were doing!
While the marinade worked and Margot scattered an entire deck of trivial pursuit cards on the dining room floor, I made the vinaigrette for the potato, goat cheese, and herb salad. Potato salads can be good, but are often majorly disappointing and flavorless. Even though it looks fairly bland this one is really yummy with lots of flavor. I like my potatoes definitely done (a.k.a. a little smooshy).
Anyway, dinner was good.
Marinade for Chicken adapted from Joy of Cooking:
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons soy sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper
Couple Handfuls: basil, oregano
Splash of white wine vinegar
Splash of Red Hot
Mix together, right in the container you are going to use to marinate. Add meat, marinate.
Potato, Goat Cheese, and Herb Salad adapted from Food and Wine
2 lbs Potatoes (I used golden potatoes)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2-3 ounces goat cheese (or as much as you want because it’s delish.)
1 garlic clove minced
2 Tablespoons oregano (fresh)
1 cup basil (fresh)
Boil potatoes until they are tender. Mine went around 30 minutes. Mix together oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Cut up potatoes when cool enough to handle, and add them to the viniagarette. When ready to serve mix in the cheese and herbs.
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