Photograph by Stephen Kent Johnson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Amy Wilson


Butterflied Chicken Diorama

Mains from Issue 8 – Winter 2016 – Origin

Dispatch the cock! The 18th-century command that a bird be split down its back, halves spread flat before cooking (it became spatchcocking). That it resembles a butterfly in flight is only part of the appeal; the chicken also cooks more evenly. With a green cauliflower heap, it is a beauty worthy of diorama-like display.

serves 4

For Chicken
  • 1 organic Meyer lemon, zested and juiced
  • 4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 ½ lb whole chicken, backbone and chest bones removed (you can ask your butcher to do this for you), and patted dry
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil

For Cauliflower
  • 1 large cauliflower with stem and leaves
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp smoked salt, (we like La Boîte à Epice)

  • 1

    Combine lemon zest with salt and pepper and massage over chicken. Place on a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet and chill, uncovered, at least one hour.

  • 2

    Preheat oven to 475°F. Fill a heavy pot ¾ full with warm water (pot should fit in a 10-inch skillet) and set aside. Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken in skillet skin side down, tucking wings beneath breast. Reduce heat to medium low and set a similar sized skillet on top of chicken, then set the pot of water inside to weigh down the skillet. Cook for about 20 minutes. Remove weights and transfer to the oven until chicken is cooked through, 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully loosen skin from pan. Serve with juice squeezed over.

  • 3

    Meanwhile, prepare and roast cauliflower. With stem end on work surface, cut cauliflower into ½-inch-thick slices. Arrange in a single layer, along with any extraneous florettes, on a lightly oiled, rimmed baking pan. Drizzle with oil and season with ½ tsp plain salt. Roast until underside is browned, then flip and roast until tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Sprinkle with smoked salt just before serving.