A slightly spicy favorite from Emilia-Romagna, pollo alla diavola approximates the juiciness of a spit-roasted chicken by splitting the bird and cooking it on the grill, where the skin and bones keep the chicken from drying out, and the marinade ingredients—red pepper flakes, garlic, lemon, and herbs—come alive in the heat of the fire.
For a cooling companion to the chicken, serve the Shaved Fennel Salad.
Note that the chicken must marinate for at least 4 hours.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 chickens, 3 pounds each
- 6 large garlic cloves, smashed with the side of a chef’s knife and
- 4 rosemary sprigs, bruised with the back of a chef’s knife
- 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
- 2 large lemons, juiced and cut into quarters, plus freshly squeezed
- lemon juice for serving
- ½ cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
- Working with 1 chicken at a time, use a pair of kitchen shears to cut along both sides of the backbone to remove it, then discard the backbone. Flatten the chicken by pressing down on it and flatten each chicken in its own large resealable plastic bag. Divide the garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, lemon quarters, and olive oil between the bags, then seal the bags and turn a few times to distribute the marinade. Place the bags on a plate and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or overnight, turning the bags occasionally.
- When ready to grill the chicken, remove from the refrigerator and let come to room temperature.
- Preheat a grill to high; if using charcoal, let the coals burn until covered with white ash.
- Remove the chicken halves from the bags, brush off the solids, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Put the chicken halves on the grill, skin side down, and grill, turning the chicken every 10 to 12 minutes with tongs and brushing the halves with a rosemary brush, if desired (see Herb Brushes), until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear when pierced to the bone, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the chicken halves to a platter, tent loosely with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Drizzle the chicken with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil and serve warm.