- ½ cup bourbon
- 1 tablespoon apricot preserves
- Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
- ½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- 1 whole, 3½ pound chicken
- 2 fresh apricots cut in half with pit removed (plums can be substituted)
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 6 wedges, leaving the stem intact
- 1 cup fresh arugula
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- ¼ cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
In a small sauce pot over medium heat, simmer and reduce the bourbon by ¾ until you’re left with approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons. Remove from heat and pour into a small mixing bowl. Add the apricot preserves, lemon zest and juice, thyme, honey, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and stir to combine. Combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the mixture and set aside to use as a marinade for the chicken.
Butterfly the chicken: With the breast side down and the tail of the chicken facing you, use poultry shears to cut along the length of one side of the backbone. Turn the neck end to face you, and with the breast side still down, cut along the backbone and remove it. Turn the chicken breast side up and open the chicken on the cutting board. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the chicken, pounding it to a fairly even thickness.
Place the flattened chicken in a large zip lock bag and pour in the marinade, reserving 1 tablespoon for glazing the grilled chicken. Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
Preheat the grill to a medium heat. When hot, brush the grill grates with a wire brush, then rub with a paper towel blotted with vegetable oil.
Liberally season the marinated chicken with salt and pepper and place on the grill, skin side down. Place a heavy cast iron skillet on top of the chicken and cook, undisturbed for about 20 minutes. Have a spray bottle filled with water handy at the grill, since to prevent the skin from burning you may have to extinguish flare-ups from the get go, and then sporadically as the chicken cooks. You may also need to adjust the heat of the grill to low.
Drizzle the apricots and onion wedges with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill along with the chicken for about 10 minutes, turning the onions once, half way through. Remember, the grill is on low, so they will take a bit of time. Once done, the apricots will swell slightly and develop nice grill marks, like the onions. Remove, allow to cool, and cut into small chunks.
Now remove the cast iron pan and flip the chicken carefully with tongs, as the skin may cling a bit to the grates. The skin should be dark golden and crisp. Baste with the remaining tablespoon of glaze and continue to cook, skin side up without the skillet for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature registers to 165 degrees. Remove the chicken and allow to rest on a wooden board or rack for 5 minutes.
In a mixing bowl combine the arugula, champagne vinegar, the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the chopped apricots and onions; add salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the chicken into pieces and serve with the tossed salad topped with smoked almonds.