Remember the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where Larry David is obsessed with chicken from a Palestinian restaurant, but is racked with guilt for supporting the establishment? “I know, I know, but this chicken, you can’t believe how good it is!”
We had a similar experience with chicken last week, but without the controversy. I had planned to grill some boneless chicken breasts, and was making a double batch to save time on a future meal. I tossed together a marinade using primarily a jarred horseradish sauce leftover from our Memorial Day picnic on the beach.
Really, it was an attempt to use an ingredient that had been sitting around for weeks and to prep dinner quickly in the morning as I dashed off to a meeting.
I caught lightning in a bottle.
Suffice it to say there was barely enough left to justify using the Tupperware to store it, so my dinner doing double duty plan was dashed. But I was thrilled because the dish was delish and oh-so-simple — and best of all my family loved it. After her third helping, my daughter said, “This is like crack!”
We served the chicken with steamed couscous and grilled zucchini. We skipped dessert as it was a busy weeknight, but the meal goes with just about anything. Sorbet, fruit, pie, cake, cookies, chocolates, etc., would be a worthy chaser to this summer repast.
Serves two to four
A word on the chicken: I bought skinless, boneless breasts and then cut them thinly into almost a scallopine. This ensures even, quick cooking and allows the marinade to permeate the entire piece. I cut the breasts horizontally across and each yields three thin pieces.
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut thinly
Spray oil for grill
¼ cup horseradish sauce (This is available in the deli section; it is a sandwich condiment like mayonnaise or mustard.)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup oil
Juice of a lemon plus the rinds
Generous sprinkles of salt and cayenne pepper
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a Ziploc bag, bowl or Tupperware. Throw in the lemon rinds with the marinade.
Place the chicken pieces, one by one, in the marinade, turning each one to coat thoroughly. This step is key; I made this dish a second time without doing this and the chicken was not addictive. Marinade for 4-24 hours.
Bring the chicken to room temperature, and heat a grill to high.
Spray the grill with oil — stand back when you do this as the flame may rise up — but this step is key to keeping the chicken from sticking.
Place the chicken pieces on the grill and allow them to sear. When you lift the chicken with tongs and can see grill marks, flip the chicken and allow the second side to sear.
Lower the heat on the grill to low, and continue cooking the chicken for another 10 minutes or so (4-5 minutes per side). Check the thickest piece for doneness and serve. Note: If you are using a charcoal or wood-fired grill, push the chicken to the outer edge of the grill for the second cooking phase where the heat is lower and less direct.
Serves two to four
This preparation may change some people’s perception of zucchini as being bland and yucky. This is the simplest marinade. Feel free to jazz it up with garlic, onion, your favorite spice blend, soy sauce, Tabasco, etc.
2 zucchini, sliced vertically into ¼-inch planks.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons vinegar (I used balsamic, but you can use any type depending on preference.)
¼ teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
Prepare the zucchini. Cut the stem end off so you have a flat surface to rest on when slicing. Cut each zucchini vertically into slices about ¼-inch thick.
Place the slices in a shallow dish and toss with the remaining ingredients.
Marinate for anywhere from 10 minutes to overnight.
On a hot grill, place the zucchini slices and allow them to sear. Flip after about 3 minutes and repeat.
Zucchini are done when both sides are slightly charred and the slices are soft and bendable.
Serve hot or at room temperature. PJC