• Grilled Cornish Hens with Salsa Verde


Herb & Citrus-Studded Barbecue

By Andrew Zimmern

These marinated and grilled Cornish hens with a bright, herby salsa verde are a dynamite summertime crowd-pleaser.

Grilled Cornish Hens with Salsa Verde

Servings: 8

Total: 1 hour 45 minutes


Cornish Hens

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 8 small rosemary sprigs
  • 8 thyme sprigs
  • 8 tarragon sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Four 1 1/2-pound Cornish hens, halved
  • Freshly ground white pepper

Salsa Verde

  • 1 large jalapeño
  • 2 cups lightly packed parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lightly packed oregano leaves
  • 8 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
  • 6 cornichons
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper


Marinate the Cornish Hens

In a medium bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of olive oil with the lemon juice, salt and sugar. Divide the marinade between 2 large, resealable plastic bags. Add the lemon slices, herb sprigs and garlic to the bags. Add the halved hens and turn to coat well. Seal the bags and let the hens stand at room temperature for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, Make the Salsa Verde

Roast the jalapeño directly over a gas flame or under the broiler, turning, until charred all over; let cool. Stem and seed the jalapeño and transfer it to a food processor. Add all of the remaining ingredients except the oil, salt and white pepper. Pulse the mixture until very finely chopped, then add the 1 cup of olive oil and pulse until blended. Season the salsa with salt and white pepper and transfer to a bowl.

Light a grill. Remove the hens from the marinade and scrape off the herbs, garlic and lemons. Pat the hens dry, brush with olive oil and season with salt and white pepper. Oil the grill grates and grill the hen’s skin side down over moderate heat, turning occasionally, until lightly charred in spots and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thighs registers 160°, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the hens to platters and let rest for 10 minutes before serving with the salsa verde.

Originally published in Andrew Zimmern’s Kitchen Adventures on foodandwine.com.
Photograph by Stephanie Meyer.

Like this recipe? You may also enjoy:

Recipe Finder

Related Recipes


Main Ingredients



Back to Recipes Page