Show off your Italian cooking skill with this deliciously tender and famously crispy-skinned chicken recipe.
Place the chicken on a flat surface, breast-side down, with the tail nearest to you. Using a pair of kitchen scissors, cut along both sides of the backbone, snipping through the rib bones as you go. Remove the backbone.
Turn the chicken over and open it out. Using the heel of your hand, flatten down the meat so that it is all one thickness (don’t be alarmed if you can hear the ribs breaking – that’s fine).
If the chicken is not sitting completely flat, secure the legs with skewers, running them diagonally through the thigh and then the breast and wing.
Place in a shallow glass baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl combine the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, chilli and half the parsley. Zest the lemons and then thinly slice one half and set aside. Juice the remaining 1½ lemons and add the juice to the oil mixture, along with 1 tbsp of the zest. Mix the marinade and pour over the chicken. Refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour or overnight if you like.
Preheat a barbecue and use indirect heat (ie the flames towards the outside, not in the centre). If using a charcoal grill then place a drip pan under the chicken with the hot coals surrounding it. Place the chicken skin-side down on the barbecue and weight it down with a heavy frying pan or, as the Italians would do, a foil-covered brick. This will help the skin to crisp. Cook for 15 minutes with lid/hood down until the skin is nicely crisp.
Turn the chicken, cover the skin on the crispy side with lemon slices, and cook for 10 minutes more (keeping the crisp side uppermost) until completely cooked and the juices run clear when a skewer is inserted. Mix together the remaining parsley and lemon zest and sprinkle over the chicken. Serve with salad and, if you like, some roast potatoes.
For top tips on protecting you and your family when preparing raw meat and poultry, visit Food Safety in the Home and view the full Food safety at home video.