Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry. Follow the directions in the Photo-essay to split and partially bone the chicken. Rinse and dry the chicken halves again. Combine the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil in a large zip-top bag or mixing bowl. Add the chicken halves. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours).
Heat the oven to 450°F. Wrap two bricks in a couple of layers of foil. (If you don't have bricks, use heavy rocks, 2-lb. weights, or another heavy pan weighed down with cans.) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, let the excess marinade drain off, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set a large cast-iron or other heavy ovenproof pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add just enough vegetable oil to lightly film the pan. Put the chicken halves, skin side down, in the pan and immediately put a brick on top of each half. Turn the heat to medium and cook (without moving the chicken) until the skin is a deep golden brown (check with a spatula) and the chicken is cooked about halfway through, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the bricks, turn the chicken halves over, and put the pan in the hot oven to finish roasting the chicken until a thermometer registers at least 165°F, another 20 to 25 minutes.
nutrition information (per serving):
per half 3-lb. chicken;
Photo: Scott Phillips