Spatchcock those spring chickens, says chef Danny Ye

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Chef Danny Ye. (Photo by Ariel Ip)

Even if you’re no spring chicken, you can make tender, delicious chicken at home. Bearing in mind, of course, that the wrong recipe and improper technique will render even the choicest of birds tasteless and dry.

At Terra Cotta in Koreatown, chef Danny Ye spatchcocks his organic, free-range birds before roasting them to perfection in hot cast-iron skillets. Ye starts by brining his birds overnight. After that, the trick to achieving a crisp, crackly blistering skin is to pat down your chicken and air-dry it completely before searing it in a well-oiled skillet. Keep in mind that more skin-to-skillet contact will maximize the Maillard reaction, so place a heavy weight on your poultry to flatten it, then transfer it to the oven. The chicken shouldn’t take more than an hour to roast. Ye says the beauty of this butterflied bird is it will come right off the pan when cooked all the way through.

Note: Terra Cotta closes this Sunday but is expected to reopen later this month under a new name. Danny Ye will stay on as chef, so you should still be able to enjoy his butterflied chicken. In the meantime, try your hand at his recipe for spatchcocked chicken with crispy potatoes and habanero coleslaw below.

Chef Danny Ye serves his spatchcock chicken with crispy potatoes and habanero slaw at Terra Cotta in Koreatown. (Photo courtesy of Terra Cotta)

Photo of hens (top), courtesy of Autonomy Farms