Serves 4 to 6


This same marinade would also work well with bone-in chicken parts. For a quick weeknight version, use chicken cutlets and marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Adjust your cooking time accordingly. Splitting the hens in half will help them cook faster and accommodate the smaller and large appetites at your table- allowing 1 or 2 halves per person.


  • For the hens
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing the grill
  • 4 hot pickled cherry peppers, chopped, plus 3 tablespoons brine from the jar
  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, needles removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 Cornish hens (about 1 1/2 pounds each), split in half through the breast and backbone to make 8 halves
  • For the spicy salsa verde
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers in brine
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pickled cherry pepper, chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


For the hens, whisk the olive oil, cherry peppers and brine, garlic, and rosemary in a large nonreactive container. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of black pepper. Add the hens and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight, tossing occasionally.

Preheat an outdoor grill with one side of the burners on medium high, the other side on low. For the salsa verde, combine the parsley, scallions, capers, lemon zest and juice, cherry pepper, anchovies, and garlic in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to make a chunky paste. With the machine running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to make a smooth, bright green sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in a serving bowl, covered, while you grill the hens.

Remove the hens from the marinade. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the grill with olive oil. Set the hens, skin side up, on the hotter side of the grill. Cover and grill until the underside is lightly charred and releases easily form the grill, about 10 minutes. Flip and continue to grill, covered, until the hens are cooked through and the skin is crisp, about 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh, about 10 to 15 minutes more. (If the skin begins to burn before the hens are cooked through, move to the cooler side of the grill.) Let rest 10 minutes. Serve the spicy salsa verde on the side for drizzling.