Spatchcock chicken is fast to cook and easy to prepare

In the oven or on the barbecue, spatchcock chicken is fast to cook and easy to prepare, says Rachel Allen, while fresh summer produce makes for wonderfully speedy salads and sauces.
One of my favourite things about cooking in the summer, with all the fresh produce, is how little time it takes to put a meal together. You needn't spend hours slowly simmering a stew or taming a beetroot the size of a soccer ball. Fresh leaves or vegetables need only be chopped up and then thrown together for a satisfying summer supper.
Spatchcocking a chicken is a wonderful way of speeding up the cooking process, whether you're roasting the bird in the oven or on the barbecue. You can ask your butcher to do it if you like, but it isn't difficult.
Spatchcocking flattens the bird so the heat of the oven or barbecue can penetrate it much faster. Roasting in the oven is easier, but, when the weather's lovely, it can really be worth it to cook your chicken on the barbecue. The smokiness adds a gorgeous extra dimension to the meal.
I love to serve spatchcock chicken with a selection of salads and sauces. Tzatziki is a Greek sauce: a divinely fresh mix of yoghurt and cucumber. I think basil really works well in a potato salad along with the sharp, citrus notes of lemon juice.
Watermelon and feta may seem like an unusual combination, but the sweetness of the watermelon balances perfectly with the salty softness of the feta, and this dish makes an ideal accompaniment to barbecued meats.

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Rachel Allen Jun 18, 2012 News