Simple, Rustic Chicken

February 25, 2010
Simple, Rustic Chicken

Author Notes: This recipe was developed out of necessity. Once, in Tuscany, in a rented villa with an inadequately supplied kitchen (how DO those Italians cook with so few accoutrements), we had a chicken that needed to be cooked. We had a villa-supplied, small, cheap charcoal grill, the type you can buy at a gas station. The grill had no lid so we had to figure out how to grill a whole chicken. We butterflied it, or rather, we split the chicken down the middle and gilled it until it looked done. The only flavorings in the villa were olive oil, salt and pepper, but there was rosemary growing all around, in huge, silvery bushes. The chicken was delicious, memorable, enchanced, no doubt, by the fact that we had had to improvise, and that we were out of doors on a beautiful evening in Tuscany. But I've made this simple, rustic preparation may times since and it is always delicious. Rosie DeQuattro

Serves: 4


  • 4 pounds young, organic chicken
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper
In This Recipe


  1. Have chicken at room temperature. Remove the giblets and neck and any extra fat from around the cavity openings. On a board, using a knife and/or kitchen shears, split chicken down the middle and lay flat. There are online directions for butterflying a chicken---you might want to google "spatchcocking" or "butterflying chicken."
  2. Rub chicken all over with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with scissor-snipped fresh rosemary, salt and pepper.
  3. Place chicken on a medium hot grill and cook for about 20 minutes per side. Watch chicken and check for even browning. Chicken is done when juices run clear and legs wiggle freely.

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