Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Cooking Lessons from Mom


What’s a newlywed kitchen without a few lessons from Mom?  Michael was in New Orleans for the weekend, so I invited my Mom over on Sunday to teach me how to butterfly a chicken.  She of course, learned it from Ina.  I intended to take pictures while she did it, but I was too busy trying to pay attention to the lesson at hand.  I watched as she nipped off the little tail so it would sit up straight, and then made a large cut down each side of the backbone to remove it.  Then she laid it down flat and removed the center breast bone with a little knife.  I was pretty surprised how easy she made it look, so hopefully I can duplicate her efforts next time.  Here’s a little video in case you’ve never done it before either.


For the marinade, we used another one of her favorites from Ina.  Really simple, and really delicious as usual.  I was shocked she didn’t want to join us for dinner to get to enjoy all of her hard work, but she had pressing plans with the Tanglewood Garden Club, so we were left to ourselves on Sunday night.  Michael got home from New Orleans just in time to run a few errands with me and settle in for a nice evening at home.  He even gave me a few grilling lessons and let me pretend I was the one in charge of the Green Egg for the evening.  Turned out really tasty, and butterflying the chicken makes it cook so much faster.  This could easily become a Sunday staple.


Tuscan Lemon Chicken (Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa)

1 3 lb whole chicken, butterflied
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of one large lemon
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
1 lemon, halved

Butterfly the chicken and sprinkle both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Lay the chicken flat in a large baking dish.  Combine the olive oil, lemon zest, juice, garlic closes, and rosemary and pour over the chicken.  Allow to marinate for about 4 hours or overnight.

Prepare the grill, lighting the coals and allowing the temperature to rise to about 350 degrees.  Lay the chicken on the grill skin side up and cover with something heavy to weigh it down.  We used a cast iron skillet, but you could use  a bacon press or a brick wrapped in foil too.  Grill for about 12 minutes and then turn skin side down for another 12 to 15 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  While the chicken is cooking, place the lemon halves cut side down on the grill for about 10 minutes.  Allow chicken to rest for 10 minutes, carve, and squeeze the grilled lemon halves over the top.  We served ours with rosemary and whole-grain mustard roasted potatoes and braised mustard greens.


One thought on “Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Cooking Lessons from Mom

  1. Looks delicious as usual. It has so much flavor for such a simple recipe. I think the grilled lemon at the end makes it extra Yummy! Sorry I missed it. MOM

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