Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chicken Skewers

Sticks. They can put an eye out, says your mother. But they can also stab portions of protein slathered in a spice paste. In this iteration, we have chicken… the humble* boneless skinless chicken breast, in fact. It’s on a stick, it’s not deep fried (copyright MN State Fair), and you can whip it up in no time. Food Night had some extra time on it’s hands, so we went a little ga-ga with the garnish, so feel free to edit as desired.

*And by humble, Food Night of course means BLAH.

Chicken; On a Stick
Serves 4 as a first course/small plate

For the spice paste
1 clove Garlic, shaved thin
1/2t caraway seed
2t coriander seed
1t alleppo chile flakes (find at Penzey’s)
Zest from 1 lime
White peppercorns to taste
Salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large mortar and pestle and pulverize into a paste. Stir in a couple tablespoons of toasted sesame oil.

For the Chicken
1 whole boneless skinless breast*, cut into large, equally sized chunks
Skewers, soaked in water for an hour or more

*And by “whole”, Food Night means all of the breast meat that would be found on a chicken.

Slather the chicken chunks in the paste, let stand for at least an hour, preferably 4hrs. Overnight would actually be ideal.

For the pickles
Juice of ½ the lime
Pickling cukes, halved lengthwise, seeded, cut into pea size dice
Serrano chile, shaved thin on a mandolin (optional)
White wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a small container, let stand at least 30 minutes.

For the Garnish
Fresh peach, chopped
Mangalitsa coppa, from Heartland*, shaved thin
Blanched, shocked, grilled garlic scapes, from Heartland*
Microgreens (Heartland*)


To assemble
Remove the chicken in the paste from the refrigerator, skewer (2 pieces per skewer), leaving space between each piece of meat. Then, ALLOW CHICKEN TO REST ON THE COUNTER 20 minutes prior to grilling.*

*As you can see by the capital letters, Food Night is trying to emphasize that this is an important step. Food from fridge to fire results in faulty food lacking in proper caramelization and doneness. And honestly, it’s about the EASIEST thing you can do. Actually you don’t even have to “do” anything… just let the skewered bird sit there… and walk away.

Food Night grills it’s skewers on a gas Weber grill over direct high heat, with the grill uncovered. Turning as appropriate, this usually takes roughly 5 minutes total. Grill the garlic scapes (if using) when the chicken comes off in the same way – high heat, uncovered.

Allow your skewers to rest post-grilling for a few minutes, then plate on top of some of the pickles, peach dice, garlic scapes, and top with the coppa and a drizzle of olive oil.

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