From Tuscany comes this simple chicken dish, flavored with a few herbs and fennel. It's great fun to make because the technique — cooking the chicken under bricks — is so unusual. Be sure to cook the chicken over low heat.
2 pounds chicken breasts, split
Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 shallots, quartered
1 small bulb fennel, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips
If you have them wrap three clean bricks in aluminum foil and set aside.
Wash the chicken and dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and rosemary and, with a wooden spoon, swirl them in the oil, pressing on them to release their flavor. When the garlic is golden brown, discard the garlic and rosemary. Reduce the heat to low, add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and scatter the shallots and fennel around them. Place the bricks or a cast-iron skillet on top of the chicken and cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is browned on the underside.
Remove the bricks and turn the chicken pieces over. Replace the bricks and cook until the chicken is fork-tender, about 20 minutes longer.
Transfer the chicken to a platter, spoon the pan juices and fennel over, and serve immediately.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.
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