Hal Russell of Corona del Mar wrote to Culinary SOS looking for a recipe for the crispy flattened chicken chef Mark Peel used to cook at Campanile.
Dear Hal: Campanile, which opened in 1989, helped to shape the culinary landscape of Los Angeles, influencing so many of today's chefs (many of whom passed through its kitchen). The landmark restaurant closed last fall, but Mark Peel was happy to share his recipe for this signature Campanile dish, originally published in "The Food of Campanile" in 1997.
Campanile's crispy flattened chicken
35 minutes, plus chilling time. Serves 4
4 whole boned chicken breasts with the skin on and the first wing bone in
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
6 sage leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1. Lift up the skin on the cut side of the chicken breasts and insert the garlic slices. Distribute them evenly under the skin, taking care not to break the skin. Rub the sage leaves between your hands to release their oils and insert the leaves under the skin with the garlic cloves. Pull the skin back over the breast. If the chicken has not been brined, salt and pepper liberally on both sides. Wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until hot. Add the olive oil and heat to just below smoking. Season the skin side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in the pan. Season the other side of the breasts. Turn the heat down to medium low and place another heavy pan on top of the breasts, so that they are pressed flat into the pan. If the second pan is not heavy, weight it with canned tomatoes. Make sure the weight is evenly distributed over both breasts. They must cook evenly and at the same time, because once you turn them over you can no longer weight them. Cook until very brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes.
3. Turn the breasts over and cook for 5 more minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from the heat, let stand 5 minutes, then slice and serve, or cut each breast in half and serve.
Protein 59 grams
Carbohydrates 1 gram
Fat 29 grams
Saturated fat 6 grams
Cholesterol 165 mg
Sodium 140 mg
NOTE: Adapted from "The Food of Campanile." For super-moist chicken, brine the breasts a day ahead.