Recipe for Ask the Splendid Table, July 31, 2008

BUTTERFLIED GRILLED CHICKEN WITH LUSH ALEPPO CHILE

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: This is a dish for lovers of distinctive chiles. The heat is only moderate, but the Aleppo chile from Turkey or Syria is distinctively fruity and tart. (On a heat scale of 1 to 10, Aleppo is usually a 3 to 4.) Orange, garlic and coriander tease out all of Aleppo's nuances. If you like your supper even tamer, or can't get Aleppo, use a rich-tasting sweet paprika (and go for 1/4 cup). Or come closer to Aleppo in taste with the velvety medium-hot and easier-to-find Ancho chile. You can mail-order good-quality Aleppo and other specialty chiles from two sources I can personally vouch for: www.savoryspiceshop.com and www.penzeys.com. Store ground chiles in the refrigerator (holds for two months) or freezer (holds for six months). This is a splendid recipe for cold chicken to eat on its own or in chicken salad.

• 1/3 c. sherry or wine vinegar

• 1/2 c. good-tasting extra-virgin olive oil

• 5 large garlic cloves

• 2 to 3 tbsp. (or more to taste) crushed dried Aleppo chile (available in many markets and at specialty spice shops. See mail-order sources in Note.)

• Grated zest of 1/2 orange

• 1 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 tbsp. coarse salt

• One 3- to 4-lb. whole chicken, butterflied (see story)

Directions

Purée vinegar, olive oil, garlic, chile, orange, cumin and salt together in a food processor or blender. Put the chicken in a heavy plastic bag or close-fitting shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour in the marinade to thoroughly coat the bird and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.

Preheat a gas grill to medium. For a charcoal grill, use wood charcoal, piling the lighted coals to one side of the grill. They are at proper heat when you can hold your hand about 5 inches from the grill for only 5 seconds.

Place the chicken (drained but not patted dry) on the grill over the coals skin side down. Close the cover and grill 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes. If chicken is browning too quickly, move it away from the coals, cover and continue cooking.

With tongs, turn the chicken over. Cover the grill and cook for another 20 minutes, or until an instant-reading thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 165 degrees. Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm, or chill for later.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 415 Fat 27 g Sodium 420 mg

Carbohydrates 1 g Saturated fat 6 g Calcium 27 mg

Protein 40 g Cholesterol 130 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 51/2medium-fat meat.

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