Monday, June 6, 2011

RECIPE - Spring Chicken (Galeto al Primo Canto)

This recipe comes from a restaurant in Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, called Don Nicola. It is one of the most traditional of the many, many restaurants in the city that specialize in Galeto al primo canto. The dish is so popular at Don Nicola that there is only one dish on the menu - Galeto al primo canto. It comes served with either spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce, or with olive oil and garlic sauce or with butter sauce. That's the extent of the choice. As they say at Don Nicola - take it or leave it.

Apparently most people chose to take it, as the restaurant estimates that they've served more than two million portions since opening over 40 years ago. The owner, Luigi Magno, is an Italian immigrant to Brazil, and brought his recipe with him when he left Calabria for South America. It was created by his aunt, sometime in the 1920s.

Galeto al primo canto can be grilled over charcoal or on a rotisserie, but the most traditional way to cook the small bird is between two hot griddles, pressing the chicken as it cooks. (The mechanism is something like those double griddles in which Italian panini are made, only much larger.) The recipe below is adaptable to any of the cooking methods.
RECIPE - Spring Chicken (Galeto al Primo Canto)
Serves 6

6 small frying chickens (may be substituted with cornish game hens)
2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic
1 bottle (750 ml) dry white wine
2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp green onions, green part only, finely chopped
3 sprigs fresh marjoram (optional)
pinch nutmeg
salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
The night before serving, prepare the chickens. Remove the skin, then spatchcock each chicken (Click here for a good demonstration of spatchcocking.) Put all the remaining ingredients in a large blender, and blend until you have a homogenous marinade. Correct the marinade for salt.

In a glass or metal roasting pan or lasagne pan, lay out the chickens, then pour the marinade over them. Turn the chickens in the marinade to assure they are well covered with it. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Once or twice during that time, turn the chickens in the marinade.

The following day, take the chickens out of the refrigerator about one hour before cooking. Grill the chickens on a gas or charcoal barbeque, with or without a rotisserie attachment. If not using a rotisserie, turn the chickens over only once. Grill until the chickens are nicely browned, and the juices run clear. Do not overcook.

Serve immediately with a simple tomato and lettuce salad, and a side of spaghetti with sauce of your choice.

Recipe translated and adapted from Viagem Gastronômico através do Brasil by Caloca Fernandes.

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