Grilled Chicken with lemony Sicilian Salmoriglio Sauce is an iconic summer dish to me. It has been part of my barbecues for as long as I can remember. Not only is it simply the best grilled chicken but making it evokes such great memories from the past: Cookouts in my parents backyard. Visiting my Uncle Vinny’s on a Sunday afternoon and seeing my Aunt Maria using a tied together bunch of basil to baste the chicken on the grill. My brother Tom dramatically holding a bottle of the sauce over his head and shaking it up before pouring it in a pan with the chicken.
Speaking of pouring the sauce in a pan, this is a technique that evolved in my family over the years. I think that anybody who has grilled chicken in the past has had to deal with flareups and basting with an olive oil based mixture doesn’t help. So we season the chicken with salt and pepper, grill it and then finish it in a hot pan with the sauce. It really works out great, especially if your grill has a side burner. I like to reserve some of the salmoriglio before cooking and put it on the table for drizzling.
- 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 4 lemons, should come out to about ⅓ cup
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 whole chicken, 3½ to 4 pounds, cut up or chicken parts of your choosing; thighs, legs, etc.
- Start a fire in a charcoal grill, or pre-heat a gas grill.
- Combine garlic, oregano, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and wisk together well to make Salmoriglio mixture.
- Season chicken with salt & pepper and cook on a medium-hot grill turning occasionally until done, about 25 minutes.
- When chicken is close to being done, heat up a large sauté pan, either on the other side of the grill, the side burner of the grill, or on the stove.
- Reserve ¼ cup of the salmoriglio.
- When chicken is cooked transfer to hot sauté pan. Stir the remaining salmoriglio up well and pour over the chicken and cook on top of hot grill (or side burner), turning the chicken in the pan for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to serving bowl, pour sauce from pan on top and serve with reserved salmoriglio on the side for drizzling.