The worn wooden block Maria Monaselidze placed atop the spatchcocked chicken didn’t initially catch my attention. She was roasting the bird to later shred the meat for another recipe I had come to learn in her Tbilisi, Georgia kitchen. But then I tasted the chicken and realized I’d missed something vital.
She had removed the chicken’s backbone, then used the block to weigh down the spread-out bird, increasing its contact with the roasting pan. All that extra surface area produced golden, exceptionally crispy skin and moist, tender meat.
Turns out, Monaselidze was employing a technique known as tsitsila tabaka that’s common in the Caucasus region.