Tuscan Devil Chicken
In Italian, this chicken is called pollo alla diavolo because of the addition of crushed red pepperoncini chiles, the same kind that is sprinkled on pizzas to liven them up. Traditionally the chickens are split before grilling, but you can use a rotisserie if you wish–it just takes longer to cook. Adding rosemary branches to the fire makes a very aromatic smoke. Make this a true meal off the grill and serve the devil chicken with Grilled Panzananella Salad and Grilled Jalapeño Polenta.
The Chicken 1 4-pound chicken
2/3 cup dry red wine such as Chianti
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice, fresh preferred
11/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary or 11/2 teaspoons dried
11/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage or 11/2 teaspoons dried
2 teaspoons crushed red chile, pequin for hot, New Mexican for mild
2 cloves garlic 1/4 teaspoon salt
Using poultry shears, or a heavy knife, cut down both sides of the backbone to cut the chicken in half. Remove the backbone and place the chicken on a cutting board skin side up. Press hard on the breastbone to break it and flatten the bird.
In a bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients. Coat the chicken with the marinade, place in a plastic bag, and marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Lightly oil a clean grill surface. Remove the chicken and place the remaining marinade in a small saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Place chicken on the grill, skin side down and weight down with a cast iron skillet so the chicken remains flat. Grill for 15 to 20 minutes per side, basting frequently with the marinade until the juices run clear when pierced with a fork, or when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. To serve, use a cleaver to chop the split chicken halves into quarters.
Yield: 4 servings
Heat Scale: Medium
Photo courtesy GailloZafferano.