Saturday, June 6, 2009

Recipe: Pollo al Mattone (Chicken under a Brick)/Calamari "Noodles"

i like to watch the chef anne burrell on the "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef" show on an early saturday morning. she as a good approach to rustic, tasty fine dining. and i like the show because it seems perfect for that person somewhere between a "beginner" home cook and a trained accomplished cook/chef. this morning she had a particuarly fetching menu with marinated cornish hen cooked under a brick, and calimari "noodles". definitely will try the hen recipe, but i might opt for a small chicken over a largish cornish hen. i just don't really like the bone-to-meat ratio of cornish hens...

Pollo al Mattone

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell/Food Network

Prep Time: 20 min

Inactive Prep Time: 24 hr 0 min

Cook Time: 30 min


4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 lemon, zested and juiced

3 sprigs rosemary, leaves finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon pimento (spanish “smoked/mild” paprika)

1 teaspoon toasted ground cumin

Extra-virgin olive oil

2 Cornish game hens, butterflied, backbone and wing tips removed, legs tied with kitchen string

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

3/4 cup chicken stock


Special equipment: weights such as foil covered bricks or cast iron saute pan

In a small bowl combine the garlic, crushed red pepper, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, pimenton, and cumin. Drizzle in olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Place the chicken into a large bowl and massage with the spice mixture. Let marinate for 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator or 2 hours at room temperature.

* If refrigerating the chicken, remove from the refrigerator 45 minutes to 1 hour before cooking to let the chicken come to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and bring to a high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay the marinated chicken in the pan, skin side down. Oil the bottom of another large saute pan, lay it on top of the chickens and place bricks or weights in the second saute pan. Place the whole shootin' match in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes.

Remove the pans from the oven and remove the weights and the top pan. At this point the skin should be lovely and dark brown. Check the chicken for doneness, it should be cooked through but still succulent and juicy. Remove the chickens from the pan and reserve on a large platter.

Remove the excess fat from the saute pan and add the white wine. Cook over high heat until the wine has reduced by more than half. Add the chicken stock, season with salt and reduce by half.

Arrange chicken on serving plates or a platter. Spoon the juices over. Tastes like chicken!

Calamari "Noodles" with Black Olives and Arugula

Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 15 min

4 appetizer servings


3/4 pound clean calamari, tubes and tentacles (or only tubes, if you prefer)

Extra-virgin olive oil

3 to 4 cloves garlic, smashed, plus 1 for rubbing bread

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes


1 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup kalamata or gaeta olives, slivered

4 slices rustic Italian bread

2 cups washed baby arugula

2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish


Cut each calamari tube in strips lengthwise that are about 1/4-inch wide. If using the tentacles, cut in segments.

Coat a large saute pan generously with olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and crushed red pepper and bring to a high heat. When the garlic is golden brown and very aromatic remove the garlic and discard. Carefully add the calamari and quickly toss or stir in the hot oil. Season with salt and saute for 1 to 2 minutes or until the calamari turn from translucent to opaque. Add the wine and the olives and cook until the wine has reduced by about half. Taste to see if the seasoning is correct.

While the calamari is cooking, toast or grill the bread. Rub the bread with the remaining garlic clove and drizzle generously with olive oil.

Divide the arugula between 4 serving bowls. Spoon the calamari and juices over the greens. Cut each piece of bread in half on the bias and arrange on the calamari. Garnish with chives and serve.

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