Chef's Recipes

Grilled spatchcock with preserved lemon and cumin butter and spiced potatoes

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for grilled spatchcock with preserved lemon and cumin butter and spiced potatoes by Shane Delia at Maha Bar & Grill in Melbourne.

By Shane Delia
  • 35 mins preparation
  • 3 hrs 45 mins cooking plus chilling
  • Serves 4
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Grilled spatchcock with preserved lemon and cumin butter and spiced potatoes
"My husband won't stop raving about the grilled spatchcock and fried potatoes he ordered at Maha Bar & Grill. Would you please obtain the recipe from chef Shane Delia so I can have some peace?"
Margaret MacDonald, Armadale, Vic
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You’ll need to begin this recipe a day ahead.


  • 4 spatchcocks (300gm each)
  • 2 lemons, zested rinds only
  • 1/3 cup (firmly packed) coriander
Preserved lemon and cumin butter
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 200 gm unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ preserved lemon, pith and flesh removed, peel finely chopped
  • 3 lemon thyme sprigs, leaves finely chopped
Spiced potatoes
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds
  • 550 gm large kipfler potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 200 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • 400 ml brown chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp (firmly packed) coriander, coarsely chopped


  • 1
    For preserved lemon and cumin butter, dry-roast cumin seeds until fragrant (1-2 minutes) and coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle. Combine in a bowl with butter, preserved lemon and thyme, season to taste and mix until combined. Roll in plastic wrap to form a 5cm-diameter cylinder, refrigerate until firm (2-3 hours or overnight), then cut into 5mm-thick slices.
  • 2
    Preheat a large wide saucepan of water to 75C over low heat. Cut along each side of spatchcock backbone with kitchen scissors to remove. Press down on spatchcock to flatten. Place each spatchcock in a separate plastic bag (see note), add three slices preserved lemon and cumin butter to each, then divide lemon rind and coriander among bags, season to taste and seal tightly, squeezing out all air. Add bags to water and weight with a plate to submerge. Cook at 75C until spatchcock is opaque and firm (2-3 hours). Remove from water, then lay bags flat on a baking tray and refrigerate until chilled.
  • 3
    For spiced potatoes, dry-roast cumin seeds until fragrant (1-2 minutes), coarsely crush in a mortar and pestle and set aside. Cook potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling water until just tender (10-15 minutes). Drain and cool completely. Preheat oil 1cm deep in a large frying pan over high heat until it shimmers, add potato and turn occasionally until crisp and golden (5-7 minutes). Drain potatoes, reserving 100ml oil (discard the rest), and return potato and reserved oil to pan. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and stir occasionally until soft (1-2 minutes), add dried chilli and reserved cumin and cook until fragrant (1-2 minutes), add lemon juice and season to taste. Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon and keep warm. Return pan to heat, add chicken stock and reduce by three-quarters (5-7 minutes). Add coriander and keep warm.
  • 4
    Preheat grill to high, remove spatchcock from bags, place skin-side up on a baking paper-lined oven tray, dot with remaining butter and grill until crisp (3-4 minutes). Serve with reduced stock and spiced potatoes.


Note Use good quality zip-lock or vacuum-sealed plastic bags for this recipe. The microwave variety are particularly durable.

  • undefined: Shane Delia