Tuesday, November 15, 2011

grilled mustard chicken with scallions/shredded kale salad with avocado and tomatoes

So it's a rare opportunity that I get to grill anything, being that I am afraid that I would set the roof of my building on fire were I ever to follow through on my dream of dragging a webber up there. Therefore, I was really excited when my brother suggested we commander mom and dad's grill one evening and throw a barbeque for our friends back in August, before he went back up to Cobleskill for school.

Of course, that failed to take into account that our parents live an hour from the city, and that none of my friends were going to come out after a long week of work for a Friday night dinner party. So instead Nathan and Matt and I cooked everything for Mom and Dad instead. I think they were pretty happy to get to eat all the good stuff we made, and it was a really nice family meal, on a beautiful cool summer night, out in the backyard, crickets chirping. Our friends definitely missed out!

Our main dish was scallion and mustard grilled chicken. It was a little messy, but nothing that was too difficult. I mixed together the chopped green onions with dijon mustard, lemon juice and minced garlic. I went off book a little bit by adding some mayo, but otherwise I pretty much followed the recipe. Then I did my best to shove the sauce under the chicken skin (I used breasts, thighs, legs and wings, not just thighs), and then pinned it back in place with some skewers my mom had. I imagine you could skip that. Then I seasoned the meat and spread the excess sauce back on top. Matt handled the grilling, which took about 50 minutes at 250˚.

It was so delicious. Nathan's biggest complaint about chicken is that it can be bland, but this was anything but. The scallions and mustard and lemon... so much flavor! And of course, the grill added some delightful smokiness. It was an excellent recipe. I would love to try the fresh corn and mascarpone polenta that they suggest serving it with next time I make this.

This little side salad might have been even better: Dorie Greenspan's raw kale salad It may not be much to look at, but my goodness, who would have thought that raw kale could be so deliciously edible? I mean, seriously, usually I am trying to trick myself into thinking it's spinachaka something better.

Somehow, this recipe completely made me forget all the less than thrilling sauteed kale I've eaten. Seriously. If you make kale like this, you will be blown away. So fresh! So crisp! So laden with tomatoes and lime and avocado and red onion and jalapeño!

Also, the recipe directions are pretty awesome. You mix the kale together with lime juice, oil and salt with your hands "as though giving the kale a massage." If that's not the most bizarrely cool recipe line ever, I don't know what is. This allows leaves to wilt, and they somehow become totally palatable raw. I added a little cumin powder, because I thought that would go really nicely with the avocado, tomato, lime, jalapeño and red onion. As you probably have already guessed, I was totally right. Those things together are always amazing.

In addition to the cumin, I made a few small other changes: yellow tomatoes instead of red, and an extra avocado, which I highly recommend. The ratio of avocado to kale would have been out of balance otherwise. Also, I would have loved to add some toasted pumpkin seeds for added crunch, but back in August that was not so much in the cards. Even with these few small alterations, this was a fantastic recipe. It tastes so fresh and leafy and is really a very unexpected salad. So good!

And then we had leftovers for breakfast! I shredded up the leftover chicken wings and served it over a fried egg with melted swiss and a little side salad of tomatoes with garlic, balsamic, grated cheese and fresh herbs.

An excellent meal, twice over!

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