Robin Anish | The Table is Set: Spatchcock: A word every cook should know

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Not a day goes by that I don't hear or read a word that I have never heard before.

The English vocabulary is limitless. I mean, has anyone even come up with an exact count of the number of words in the English language?

I`m eternally grateful for smartphones. Whenever I come across an unfamiliar word, the dictionary app on my phone quickly satiates my curious mind with the definition and adds new words to my vocabulary ... you would think.

However, as I grow older, I'm kumfumbled. There's a fun word to say. Try it. Kumfumbled refers to the fact that my brain is overwrought with data, so much so, that I can be absentminded or forgetful. I totally forget the meaning of the word I searched and it never quite makes it into my vocabulary. Too many words!

Here are a few of my favorite words:

Vellichor: The strange wistfulness of used bookshops. Can you believe there is a word for that?

Phosphenes: The light and colors produced by rubbing your eyes. Isn't that cool? I kind of wondered what that was.

Petrichor: The pleasant, earthy smell after rain. My favorite.

Bombinate: To make a humming or buzzing noise. I love it when the bees bombinate in my garden while I take in petrichor.

And, my absolute favorite word ...

Spatchcock: Preparing chicken so it cooks quickly by removing the breastbone and flattening it. It's just so fun to say and its the best way to get a juicy, crispy-skinned chicken, pronto!

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To spatchcock a chicken, place chicken breast side down on work surface. Starting at the tail end, use kitchen scissors to cut along one side of the backbone to the end and then cut along the other side of the bone. Discard backbone.

Flip chicken over. Spread it open and press firmly on the breastbone until you hear a slight crack and it flattens out.

Spatchcock! It's fun to say and delicious to eat! Spatchcock belongs in every cooks vocabulary!

To give a spatchcocked chicken a try, here's a take on BBQ Fireman Chicken.

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1 roasting chicken, spatchcocked

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 cup vegetable oil

2 cups cider vinegar

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1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon paprika


Combine marinade ingredients. Pierce chicken with a fork. Place in a large plastic bag or dish and pour marinade over. Refrigerate for a least 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade and grill, basting with leftover marinade and turning until chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Let rest before serving.

Alternatively, roast in a preheated 450-degree oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast until chicken reaches 165 degrees.


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