Claire’s Recipes: Smashed Chicken with Garlic and Black Pepper

A good recipe for days when you are agitated, especially if you crave food with lots of taste and flavor, but can’t handle anything complicated.

Serves 4, or 2 rather hungry people


2 whole chicken breasts with skin and bones, about 1-3/4 pounds each

Garlic, finely chopped
Rosemary, finely chopped
Tellicherry peppercorns, coarsely ground
Sea salt
Olive oil

1 lemon


1. Place a whole chicken breast, skin side up, on a heavy chopping block. Press down on the breastbone, full force, until it cracks and the breast lies flat. If it won’t crack, pound it with the heel of your hand. Eventually it will give way and you will have released some of your frustration. Repeat with the second breast.

2. Mix as much—or as little—garlic, rosemary, pepper and sea salt as you like in a small bowl. Add enough olive oil to make a fairly liquid paste. Gently (for now you are feeling calmer) loosen the skin and
put half the garlic and pepper mixture between the skin and the flesh. Rub the rest of the mixture on the underside of the breasts and over the skin so that they are well-coated with flavorings. Squeeze the juice of the lemon over the chicken. Set aside.

3. Prepare a fire on one side of your grill using plenty of hardwood charcoal—oak, hickory or mesquite. When the flames are low, but the coals are still red hot, place the chicken breasts bone side down on the side of the grill away from the coals. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken skin side down, cover, and cook for another 15 minutes. Turn again, cover, and cook for a final 12 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove the chicken and let it rest for a few minutes, covered with aluminum foil. Before serving, you may wish to cut the breasts in half with kitchen shears. The chicken will be succulent, golden brown, and irresistibly redolent of garlic and rosemary with the occasional explosion of black pepper. Serve it with a salad of radicchio, endive and hearts of palm in a white balsamic vinaigrette.

Leave a Reply