We never used to grill chicken. It was… eh. Never quite satisfying. We were always throwing it back on the grill (“does this look cooked to you?”) because we were paranoid about getting sick, or complaining that it was too dry, or overwhelming it with some ketchup-y four alarm KC BBQ sauce that, instead of tasting good, just ended up burning and tasting like ash. Then, last summer, we discovered two tricks that turned some things around for us, chicken-wise:
1. Pounding the cutlets flat, which makes them very easy (and quick) to cook evenly, and
2. Marinating in yogurt, which seems – by some trick of physics – to result in unfailing juiciness.
Though we don’t exactly advertise it to the kids, we pretty much add yogurt to all of our chicken marinades now – we do a curry-ish one, a onion-ginger-cilantro-and-lime one, and the one you see here, which we’re calling lemon pepper chicken. Try it with some good potato salad, grilled asparagus, and some cold rose. The marinade takes all of ten minutes to prepare, promise. — Andy
Lemon Pepper Grilled Chicken
Pound boneless cutlets between sheets of wax paper until thin.
In a bowl, mix:
½ cup plain yogurt
1 minced clove of garlic
2 tsp salt
Juice from two lemons
1 good squeeze of honey
1 tbsp olive oil
A very healthy dose of black pepper (I probably did 10-15 grinds)
Whisk ingredients together until emulsified. Then, pour into Ziploc storage bag, drop in the cutlets, mush around until coated, and seal. Put in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. When grill is ready (and oiled), cook about 3-4 minutes a side until flesh is firm but not rock hard.
Double Mustard Potato Salad (adapted from How to Cook Everything)
2 pounds baby red potatoes
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp torn fresh basil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Chop baby red potatoes (don’t peel) into one-inch chunks (as shown). Boil in salted water, 12-15 minutes, or until tender. Rinse and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add oil, both mustards, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Add potatoes to bowl and stir gently, to coat. Sprinkle with torn basil leaves and serve. This is best eaten when the potatoes are still warm.
Nothing is easier than grilling vegetables – and, for my money, grilled asparagus is the best of them all. The slight crust of char on the tips adds a really nice crunch. Our girls pick them up by the bottom and eat with their hands, like pretzel rods.
Trim bottom of asparagus spears (I usually cut off the bottom inch or so). Put in baking dish with a decent amount of olive oil and generous salt and pepper. Toss until coated. The key to grilling these – and I realize that even admitting this says a lot about my IQ – is to put them perpendicular to the grate, so they don’t fall through. (Like I said: not too smart.) Cook for 4-5 minutes, rotating occasionally with a pair of tongs to cook them evenly. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and serve.
The kids do usually eat the chicken, but we wanted to try out another new discovery from TJoes — their nitrate-free, uncured, all-beef hot dogs. The sacrilege here was not that we were preparing two separate meals, but that we were not grilling Hebrew Nationals.