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  • Letitia Clark

A Kind of Italian Roast Chicken



Chicken with Anchovy, Lemon and Garlic Butter


Every Sunday of my life in England we had a roast.


When I moved here, I realised that the Sardinians do not do roasts in the same way. Yes, there is roasted meat, and occasionally roasted potatoes, but both are roasted in olive oil and have a very different flavour. Most significantly, there is no gravy. Ever. Gravy does not exist in Italian culture.


This recipe is a kind of Britalian hybrid, in which the chicken creates its own sort-of sauce/gravy, which is really better than gravy anyway, because it needs a large fistful of crusty bread to scoop it up, in true Italian 'scarpetta' style.


The juices from this chicken are so precious I think I would forego the chicken's flesh entirely as long as I was allowed all of the juices and half a loaf of good bread to eat them with.


Don't be put off if you think you don't like anchovies - trust me, you'll never even know they were there.


1 chicken, roughly 1.6 kg (3 lb or 8 oz)

sea salt freshly ground black pepper

For the rosemary, anchovy, garlic and lemon butter


1 small tin anchovies (or 12–14 fillets)

1 small lemon, zest and juice 2 garlic cloves

200 g (7 oz) butter

2 tablespoons chopped rosemary


Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF/Gas 4).

Season the chicken lightly all over, inside and out.

Put all the butter ingredients into a blender and blitz until smooth. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Stuff some of the butter inside the cavity, under the skin and all over the breast. Smear the rest all over the chicken with your hands.

Place the bird breast-side down in a roasting tin and cook for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, baste the bird all over with the juices, and then turn it breast-side up. Turn up the oven to 200ºC (400ºF/Gas 6) and roast for another 20 minutes. Insert a skewer into the fattest part of the thigh and press; if the juices run clear, the bird is done. If not, then put back in the oven for a little

longer. Once cooked, leave to rest for a few minutes before carving and serving with all of its delicious juices and a bitter leaf salad.



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