Before grilling these small hens, Jonathan Benno butterflies them, cutting out the backbones with kitchen scissors or a sturdy knife so they can be flattened. "It's the best way to cook a bird all the way on a grill," he says. "You get those nice grill marks, and by the time the chicken's got good color on both sides, it's cooked all the way through."
How to Make the Ultimate Umami-Bomb Vegetarian Demi-Glace
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped marjoram
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
4 Cornish game hens or poussins, backbones cut out
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Light a charcoal grill. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, thyme, marjoram and rosemary. Flatten the hens and season them all over with salt and pepper. Spread them out on a platter, pour the herb mixture over and turn to coat well.
Grill the hens over a medium-hot fire, breast side down, for about 10 minutes, or until lightly charred. Turn the hens over and grill for about 15 minutes longer, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a thigh registers 160°. Transfer the hens to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes, then cut them in half, separating the breasts from the legs. Arrange on a platter and serve.