Week 18: Spatchcock Chicken with Wild Garlic Pesto

Alice NeillSpring, Weekly RecipesLeave a Comment

Serves 6

For the first time foragers among you, Wild Garlic is a great place to start. Unlike the illusive mushroom, it is very difficult to harvest the wrong item and if you do you won’t die….well hopefully not. Wild Garlic has a few key features which identifies itself among other grassy shrubs. Firstly it has a very strong ‘garlicy’ aroma, which is relatively unmistakable, it has characteristic spear shaped leaves with delicate 6 leaved flowers. In terms of location, it is found in pretty much all woodlands areas and riverbanks, it thrives in damp areas where it can be found growing clusted together.  If you are a little shy or picking your own you can purchase it from most good farm shops, its availability is between March and July.

Store in at least two bags as it has the ability to permeate the whole fridge with a strong garlic fragrance. If you want to keep for more than 3 days, place it in a jar of water and keep outside. Alternatively it freezes very well.

The pungent smell of garlic is rather misleading as the actual flavor is a lot more delicate and mild, similar to that of a chive. This recipe can be made using ‘traditional’ parsley pesto, but it is well worth keeping an eye open for as it makes for a subtle alternative to real garlic.

‘Spantchcocking’ is an excellent way to prepare chicken, removing the backbone it flattens the bird out ensuring an even cook. This method lends itself well to barbecuing, but equally works well in an oven.


1 Medium Free Range Chicken

100g Wild Garlic

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

50g Parmasan


Wild Garlic Pesto

1. Place the wild garlic and olive oil in a food processor or pestle and mortar, blend to form a smooth paste.

2. Stir in the Parmesan

Spatchcock Chicken


1. Place chicken breast-side down, with the legs towards you.

2. Using sturdy scissors or poultry shears, cut up along each side of the parson’s nose and backbone to remove it, cutting through the rib bones as you go

3. Open the chicken out and turn over. Flatten the breastbone with the heel of your hand so that the meat is all one thickness.

4. Use two skewers to secure the legs and keep the bird flat. Run the skewers diagonally through the breast and thigh meat

5. Cover with the whole chicken with the pesto

6. Cook on the BBQ for 40 minutes each side or roast in the oven at 150 for 1 hour 20 minutes

Little extra:

Serve with a Fresh Green Asparagus Salad

  1. Blanch a bunch of asparagus in boiling water for 4-5 minutes or until tender
  2. Drain and place immediately in cold water
  3. Prepare a lettuce and add the asparagus
  4. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and salt and pepper