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Pollo alla mattone, or “chicken under a brick,” is a Tuscan dish in which a chicken (pollo) is spatchcocked, marinated and grilled or roasted under a brick (mattone). The weight presses the chicken down, ensuring the bird makes good contact with the cooking surface, rendering fat and ensuring beautiful browning and crisping. We start the bird breast side down in a skillet on the stovetop, then weight it and slide the skillet into the oven to finish cooking. As a “brick” we use a second heavy skillet or a large, heavy pot (such as a cast-iron Dutch oven). However, if you happen to have a couple clean bricks on hand, you could wrap them in heavy-duty foil for use as weights. The flavorful drippings in the skillet after roasting are not to be missed. We use them to wilt some lacinato kale to serve as a side (lacinato kale sometimes is sold as dinosaur or Tuscan kale). A halved lemon tucked into the pan alongside the chicken becomes juicy and mellow with roasting and is perfect for squeezing at the table to lift and brighten the flavors.
tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
medium garlic cloves, finely grated
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