Pollo al mattone, or brick chicken, is a traditional Tuscan method for cooking chicken on an open grill, weighted down with a brick or a stone. Flattening the chicken allows for greater dispersal of heat and faster cooking time, and weighting it guarantees crisp, grill-marked skin and juicy, smoky meat. This works equally well on the barbie, in the oven, and even in a fry-pan. Just remember that even wrapped in foil, that brick gets pretty hot, so handle with care.
4 poussin, around 200g each
100ml olive oil
2 garlic cloves, grated
2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
sea salt and pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1. Rinse and wipe dry the poussin. Using strong kitchen scissors, cut along one side of the backbone, then the other and remove the spine. Place each poussin on a bench skin-side up and push down with the heel of your hand to flatten the breastbone. Mix the oil, garlic, rosemary, oregano and chilli, and slather over each poussin. Season generously with sea salt and pepper.
2. Heat the barbecue to medium. Wrap four clean house bricks with kitchen foil. Place the poussin skin-side down on the grill, place a brick on top of each one, and grill for 10 minutes until golden and grill-marked. Turn the poussin, replace the brick and grill for a further five to 10 minutes until cooked through.
3. Serve with extra rosemary, olive oil and lemon wedges.