Monday, July 5, 2010

Things that you grill for $200, Alex

Alex Trebek:  Answer - "This flavorful use for a less popular part of the bird will satisfy both your family's appetite and your own repressed anger at the absence of your daughter."


Me: What are Mediterranean Chicken Skewers?
Alex Trebek:  Correct!

Mediterranean Chicken Skewers 

A recipe from the grilling class I took a while back.   They are juicy, full of spice, and a cinch to make.  Plus, you get to stab the meat, chanting "you better be nice to her!" or other such comfort phrases, as much as you like.  I served these with a refreshing Tabouleh-style salad made with Israeli cous cous instead of bulgur wheat* and some white bean hummus from Trader Joe's.

1/2 c. olive oil
2 Tbs. minced garlic
1/4 c. combined assortment of minced Italian parsley, mint, tarragon and chives
1 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks

Mix all ingredients except chicken together in a small bowl until well combined.  Place marinade and chicken into a large Ziploc bag.  Turn several times to coat the chicken, and refrigerate for at least an hour and up to a day.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and thread onto skewers. ("Die, evil counselor! Die!")  Heat grill to medium.  Place skewers on the grill, sprinkle liberally with kosher salt, and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning once.  It should be opaque on all sides, but you can check for doneness by cutting into one of the pieces with a small knife.  Serve immediately.

Alex Trebek:   Pick again.
Me:  Things that you grill for $400, Alex.
Alex Trebek:  Answer - "This summer dinner party winner was just one of 101 grilling ideas published recently by Mark Bittman in the New York Times."


Me:  What is Lime Ginger Soaked Skirt Steak?
Alex Trebek:  Correct!

Lime Ginger Soaked Skirt Steak

Out of all 101 sentences in that post, this one just called to me:  Soak skirt steak in a mixture of soy, lime juice, garlic, ginger and sugar (or mirin) before grilling.

So I did exactly that.  Or almost exactly.  I had some fresh herbs around and threw those in, too.  I've tried to replicate the proportions I used, but definitely just wing it.  I don't think you can go wrong.

One 2-3 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 Tbs. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbs. chopped fresh scallions
1/4 c. of soy sauce
Juice of 4-5 limes
1/4 c. of brown sugar
1/2 c. of olive oil
About 2 lbs. skirt steak, visible fat trimmed, silver skin removed as best you can.
Kosher salt

Combine all ingredients except steak in a bowl, and mix thoroughly.   Put steak and marinade into a large Ziploc bag and refrigerate at least 6 hours but preferably overnight.   Once or twice, give the steak a little massage and move the marinade around.

When you are ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high.    Place steak on grill, and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Grill for 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare, depending on the thickness of your steak.  Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes on a pan or tray that will collect any juices from the steak.   Then slice against the grain on the diagonal and serve, drizzling juices over.

Alex Trebek:  I'm sorry.  That's all the time we have for today.  Mostly because I'm too hungry to continue.  Tune in next time, everybody!

Today's post is in honor of one of my favorite movie moments, from White Men Can't Jump:

*  To make the salad, cook the cous cous as directed.  While still warm, stir in the juice from 2 or 3 lemons, 3 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar, 1/3 c. of olive oil, and about a cup and a half of chopped fresh herbs.  The herb proportions should skew towards Italian parsley, but should have a strong dose of mint and scallions, too.   The nice thing about pairing this with the chicken is how much they have in common, herb-wise.   You can easily chop all the herbs at once for both recipes.  Allow salad to cool completely, then refrigerate, preferably for a least an hour, before serving.  About 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, stir in chopped fresh tomatoes, cucumbers or whatever other veggies you like.  Taste, then season with salt and pepper as needed.

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