Art on a Plate; Heaven on Your Tastebuds

The key to grilling a whole chicken, or large pieces, is patience (not my best virtue.) Starting with the skin side up reduces flare-ups, and medium heat gives you browned, not blackened, skin and juicy flesh.

Ingredients are assembled for the meat marinade.

The chicken starts getting happy in the anchovy garlic mixture.

The final step to the marinade is adding the chopped oregano and sliced onion.

Ingredients (serves 6-8)

  • 10 oil-packed anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • cups green olives (such as Castelvetrano), plus ½ cup brine reserved
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh oregano, plus leaves for serving
  • 1 3½–4-pound chicken, halved lengthwise
  • Vegetable oil (for grilling)


  1. Toss anchovies, garlic, olive brine, olive oil, and lemon juice in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Place half of anchovy mixture in a large resealable plastic bag; add onion and chopped oregano. Cover and chill remaining anchovy mixture.
  2. Season chicken halves with salt and pepper and add to bag, seal bag, and toss to coat. Let marinate 4–12 hours.
  3. Prepare grill for medium heat; generously oil grate with vegetable oil. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip back into bag (a few pieces of onion and oregano still clinging are okay); discard marinade. Starting skin side up, grill chicken, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, 30–40 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, set out reserved anchovy mixture and let come to room temperature. Use the side of a chef’s knife to smash olives, crushing and pitting them at the same time (smash again if very large). Add olives and lemon zest to anchovy mixture.
  5. Place chicken on top of Tomatoes in Chile-Fennel Oil (recipe follows) and spoon anchovy-olive mixture around. Top with oregano leaves.
Do Ahead: Chicken can be grilled 4 hours ahead. Store at room temperature and assemble dish just before serving. (Although I am a bit distrustful of leaving meat out on the counter that long.)
Assemble some of the dressed heirlooms on your plate, place the chicken on the tomatoes, spoon over the olive mixture, and top with some of those caramelized onions. Almost too pretty to eat!

Because it is so good and versatile, you may want to double the chile oil, keep it chilled, and drizzle over flatbreads, pastas, and all of your grilled meats and vegetables all season long.

The heirloom tomatoes are dressed with the flavored oil and a sprinkle of sea salt before being arranged on individual plates.

Ingredients (serves 8)

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 3 pounds large tomatoes, preferably heirloom, sliced into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) red wine vinegar
  • Flaky sea salt


  1. Cook oil, red pepper flakes, and fennel seeds in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until oil around spices is sizzling, about 5 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until oil is infused with flavor and rusty-orange in color, 20–30 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Arrange tomatoes on a large platter and drizzle with vinegar, then chile-fennel oil. Season with more vinegar if desired and sprinkle with salt.

Recipes by Alison Roman


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