The Barcelona Cookbook by Sasa Mahr-Batuz and Andy Pforzheimer with Mary Goodbody, includes recipes like Almejas con Chorizo Clams with Sausage; Mussels al Diablo Mussels with Hot Pepper; Calamari a la Plancha Pan-cooked Squid; and Pollo al Pimentos Chicken with Pimentos.
This is one of our signature dishes. Chef Bill Rosenberg's wife is Sicilian, and one day she came in for lunch with her mother. Bill threw together some chunks of chicken, hot cherry peppers, and lemon and served them over pasta. Andy tried some and remembers asking, "What is that?" "Oh, that's some Chicken Scarpiello for my Sicilian mother-in-law," Bill answered. Andy asked if he could run it as a special, minus the pasta, and it hasn't been off the menu since.
Hundreds of customers come in just for this chicken—some of them have it for dinner three or four times a week. It isn't a difficult recipe, but be sure to use high-quality chicken, such as Bell & Evans or a free-range or organic bird, and be careful not to overcook it.
1. On a cutting board, turn a chicken upside down and, using a sharp knife, remove the legs where they meet the thighs. Reserve the legs for another use. Cut the wings at the second joint, leaving the third of the wing closest to the body intact. Reserve the wing tips.
2. Find the breastbone with your finger and put the blade of the knife along one side of the bone and work downward to release the meat from the ribs. Work the knife farther downward and into the joint to release the wing from the body.
3. Run the blade toward you, bend the thigh back at the joint, and cut through the thigh joint into the back, until the half chicken is freed from the bones. Turn the meat skin side down.
4. Find the thighbone and follow it with the blade of the knife. Make an incision along the bone from end to end. With your fingers, pull around the bone so that you can grab the back side of it. Pull up to free the bone further before cutting it free from one end. Scrape the bone with the knife blade to clean it of any meat. Hold the bone vertically and with a twisting motion pull it from the thigh.
5. Repeat this process with both sides of the chicken and with the second one until the chickens are boned and in two halves. Alternatively, you can ask the butcher to bone the chicken except for the wings.
6. Wrap the chicken in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
7. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
8. In a deep sauté pan, heat 1-1/2 cups of the olive oil over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, or until it registers 425 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer, or until the oil bubbles when a cube of bread is dropped in it and the bread moves slightly in the oil.
9. Working in batches, fry the potatoes in the hot oil for 6 to 8 minutes, or until browned on each side. Using a slotted spoon, lift the potatoes from the pan, drain on paper towels, and season with salt while still warm. Set aside, covered to keep them warm. Repeat, letting the oil regain its temperature between batches.
10. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
11. In a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken, skin side down, for about 6 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of the pan.
12. When the skin is completely brown, put the whole pan in the oven, with skin side down.
13. Meanwhile, put 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauté pan and set the pan over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Add the cherry peppers, chicken stock, wine, and lemon juice.
14. Bring the liquid to a boil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until reduced by two-thirds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pan and deglaze with the sauce, scraping the pan to remove any browned bits. Add the butter to the sauce, and return the roasted chicken, skin side up, and any accumulated juices to the sauté pan. Maneuver the chicken in the pan to keep as much of the skin as possible out of the sauce to keep it crispy and cook for about 2 minutes longer. Taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.
15. Put 4 potato slices on each of 4 serving plates. Put a half chicken next to the potatoes and then spoon about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the chicken, with 4 cherry pepper halves in each serving. Serve immediately.
This page created September 2009
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