From Peter Salerno’s Kitchen: Pollo al Mattone Recipe

“Chicken under a brick” doesn’t sound all that appetizing – but it’s just proof that sometimes, you need to taste things before you judge! Pollo al Mattone is a classic southern Italian dish that you have to try, not only for its delicious flavor but its unique preparation.

Like many southern Italian meat dishes, Pollo al Mattone begins with a simple marinade based around olive oil. What sets this chicken dish apart is its preparation – it is literally cooked underneath a brick wrapped in foil!

Pollo al Mattone, or "chicken under a brick", is a delicious southern Italian dish. (Photo credit: Greg, aka BlackIronDude)
Pollo al Mattone, or “chicken under a brick”, is a delicious southern Italian dish. (Photo credit: Greg, aka BlackIronDude)

Of all the preparations we’ve found online, we find that the recipe and preparation for Pollo al Mattone is at its best from our friends at Epicurious, who have created a simplistic, traditional approach to the dish. Try it out with your friends, family, loved ones and guests – it’s sure to be a flavorful hit, not to mention a conversation starter!

Recipe (courtesy of Epicurious): 


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 handful of parsley
  • Zest from 1 orange
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 chicken, 3 to 4 pounds


  • Vinegar, White Wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Mince the garlic and parsley and combine with the zest, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and salt and pepper. Set aside.
  • Wash the chicken under cold running water and dry. With poultry shears, remove the wing tips, any excess fat, and cut out the backbone. Put them aside for stock. You may want to remove the ribs and breastbone, too.
  • Mix together the marinade ingredients. Lay the chicken flat, skin side up. Stuff the garlic mixture under the skin, place in the marinade, then cover and marinate for a few hours or, even better, overnight. Turn two or three times.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a cast-iron pan large enough to hold the chicken (I use a 12-inch cast-iron skillet). Place the chicken skin side down and weigh it down with the two clean bricks wrapped in foil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, then place the skillet and bricks in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, after which you’ll remove the weights and turn the chicken over, cooking another 10 minutes or so, until done.
  • Cut into serving-sized pieces.

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