Carole & Simone Talk Wine with Kate MacMurray

Plus Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick Recipe

Simone Zarmati Diament and Carole Kotkin

Carole Kotkin is a syndicated Miami Herald food columnist and co-author of “MMMMiami – Tempting Tropical Tastes for Home Cooks Everywhere.” She is also the manager of The Cooking School at The Ocean Reef Club, food editor for “The Wine News” magazine, and co-host of “Food and Wine Talk” on

Simone Zarmati Diament is editor-in-chief and publisher of and founder of The South Florida Gourmet, a publication focusing on food, restaurant and wine news, dining entertainment, wines, spirits and travel.

Carole & Simone talk wine with Kate MacMurray

Kate MacMurray is the daughter of famed Hollywood actors Fred MacMurray and June Haver. Kate was just six-weeks-old when her parents brought her to the incredible ranch that had been in the MacMurray family since 1941. She grew up here, riding horses and playing amid the oak trees.

Following a Hollywood career in acting, screenwriting and film production, Kate returned to the Russian River Valley, where she now lives in a cabin built by her father. Wine grapes were first planted here in the mid-1990s when Gallo Wines purchased the property. Today, 450 acres of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris vines flourish where cattle once roamed. The original buildings have been faithfully restored, and the 1,500-acre property is now home to old-growth oaks, redwood trees, birds and indigenous wildlife.

Tuscan-Style Chicken Under a Brick

Perfectly grilled chicken is one of life s great pleasures and the hallmark of California cuisine. Cooked over gas or charcoal, properly grilled chicken has crisp, burnished skin, moist meat, and a faintly smoky flavor. But, easier said than done because the white and dark meat do not cook at the same rate and you are often left with overcooked and dry breast meat. One of the best ways to solve this problem is to “spatchcock” the bird. Simply cut either side of the backbone with a strong pair of kitchen scissors. Lift out the backbone (you can freeze it to use later for chicken stock) and open up the bird like a book. Put the cut side down and with your hands on the skin side flatten the bird. Using a paring knife, carefully cut a 1 inch slit in the skin between each leg and back end of the breast. Insert the end of each drumstick through one of these slits and pull the legs through. Marinate the chicken or rub it with spices and spread it out on the grill. The flattened bird cooks quickly and evenly, much faster than would a whole chicken and even faster than some big, bone-in chicken breasts. Even better, all of the chicken and its skin are exposed to the grill, so the whole bird is seared.


Serve with roasted potatoes and wilted spinach. The delicate smoky flavors imparted to the chicken are a perfect foil for a crisp, dry MacMurray Ranch 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Gris

Serves 4

  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon stemmed fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon stemmed fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 whole chicken (3-1/2 to 4 lbs)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, for serving
  • 1 lemon, cut in wedges, for serving
  • 1 brick wrapped in aluminum foil or metal grill press

Place garlic, chopped rosemary and sage, and the pepper in a food processor fitted with a metal chopping blade and pulse the machine to finely chop. Add the salt and process to mix. Transfer rub to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Remove excess fat from the chickens. Rinse chickens inside and out, under cold running water, then drain and blot dry inside and out with paper towels. Spatchcock the chickens. Generously season the birds on both sides with the herbed salt rub.

Heat grill to medium. Arrange the chicken skin side on the grate. Place the brick or grill press on top of the birds. Grill the chicken until it is crisp and golden brown on the bottom, 12 to 20 minutes per side. Use an instant-read thermometer to check for internal temperature of 170 degrees. Place the grilled bird on a platter and generously drizzle olive oil over it, and serve with lemon wedges.

To Spatchcock:

  1. Place 1 whole chicken, breast side down, on a work surface.
  2. Starting at the thigh end, cut along one side of backbone with kitchen shears.
  3. Turn chicken around; cut along other side. Discard or save backbone for stock.
  4. Flip chicken over and open it like a book. Press firmly on breastbone to flatten.
  5. Run the tip of a paring knife along the breastbone and cartilage below the breastbone. Run your thumbs along both sides of the breastbone and cartilage and pull them out.
  6. Cut small slits in the skin of the bird behind the legs and tuck the drumsticks into them in order to hold them in place.
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