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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sailing Away

It sounds dreadful to be unhappy with summer weather. Almost like you are ungrateful to the fact that fresh produce is abundant and the sun is generally shining. I have a problem with, the lack of sunshine and the need to grill even during the dreary overcast days to trick myself into thinking the sun is out. Maybe it is a spoiled mindset from growing up in Florida, but I feel entitled to a certain allotment of UV rays every day during the dog days.

The other day when I was tricking myself that the sun was out and it would be marvelous to be sipping a Pimm's Cup and breathing quintessential charcoal fumes while the meat is marinating.  Instead, the weather was reminiscent of San Francisco haze but there was still chicken marinating and smoke trickling out of the Weber. In line with tricking myself there was sunlight trickling through the leaves of the trees, I planned a dinner with everything we love about summer- a salad highlighting cool fresh fruits and vegetables and spicy grilled meats as a counterbalance.

Jerk chicken is such a classic summer dish but sometimes classics should be updated to stay current and stylish. New peppers and new colors that change the whole outlook of the grilled bird. Departing from the familiar orange hue imparted by the Habanero peppers in the marinade, I switched it up a bit by adding Serrano's to elevate the marinade to an intriguing shade of green. This imparted a fresh heat alongside the musky bitterness of the ground allspice and cloves.

But what is a nice grilled piece of meat alone on a plate without an opposite or arch rival to show the strengths and differences. A cool bright salad of soft nectarines and mangoes with fresh tomatoes and cucumbers and crisp cabbage all laced with a peppery allspice vinaigrette. All superheroes begin in similar ways and the salad must marinate for optimum performance just like the moist heat of the chicken that brings to mind sunny days whether it is outside or not.

Emerald Jerk Chicken

1 3-5 # chicken cut in 8 pieces
3 serrano peppers, 1 deseeded
1 bunch green onions
5 garlic cloves
1 T allspice berries, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C apple juice
5 grinds black pepper
a couple pinches of sea salt

After chicken has been cut into pieces, pulse all the marinade ingredients in a food processor until fully incorporated. It helps to grind the spices before everything is added together so they are ground fine enough. They can also be crushed in a mortar. Place chicken in a large glass bowl and pour marinade over and allow to marinate for at least an hour at room temperature or up to four hours refrigerated.

Grill over hardwood charcoal and wet mesquite chips until done (approximately 170 degrees) depending on heat of grill. Enjoy.  

Summer Salad
1 nectarine finely diced
1 mango 1/4 inch dice
2 C diced cabbage (1/2 large head)
1/2 cup finely diced cucumber
10 cherry tomatoes quartered

1 tsp. allspice berries ground
1/3 C. apple cider vinegar
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
a few grinds of pepper and sea salt to taste

Grind berries before pulsing vinaigrette. Then pulse the vinaigrette until all components are incorporated. Mix the vinaigrette well with the chopped salad and refrigerate at least an hour or up to a day for the flavors to meld. Enjoy the salad and chicken with a nice French Rose.



Angie's Recipes said...

What a fantastic summer meal! I wouldn't complain at all about the hot weather if I were served this great grilled chicken dish in a lovely garden with a couple glasses of sparkling wine.

Fresh Local and Best said...

It is true, good BBQ or grilled meet is nice but can be amazing with complementary sides. I like how all spice berries unite both recipes.

Magic of Spice said...

A lovely summer dish...the salad looks amazing:)

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

What a landmark summer meal - looks fantastic!!

Drick said...

whoa, I see in the photos of both an incredible duo but your words are written so well, crafted with such a rhythmical dance of the senses, I actually could taste both flavors of the chicken and salad - well done

Ana Powell said...

Beautiful Summer dish.
Great flavours.
Wishing you a great Sunday ♥

Anonymous said...

I like your updates to the jerk chicken recipe! And, as crazy as it sounds like the sound of the overcast weather. I live in Phoenix and get too used to the sun shining everyday. (I know, it does sound ungrateful.)

Stella said...

Hey Guys, don't feel guilty after reading my post! It was just to bring, how do I say, 'awareness' to the high amount of sugars (good and bad versions) that we all eat. I guess I was hoping to just make people think about it in the sense of noting how many sugary foods we're eating at each sitting. I'm a sugar addict btw, so don't admire me (smile). I'm trying to do better though...
Oh, and this chicken has the perfect color on it, and sounds so good with that slaw. Hey, that's a low sugar plate if I've ever seen one!

Diana's Cocina said...

Perfect! I love grilled chicken and the salad makes this dinner complete. Thank you for sharing.

Chele said...

Fantastic looking dish - in Edinburgh we 'fool' ourselves into thinking its summer by BBQ'ing too lol

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I hate grey days too! That is a sunny meal. Yummy!



Brie: Le Grand Fromage said...

yum, definitely a delicious summer dish. i didn't know you grew up in Florida. i definitely love the summer heat, no matter how hot i get. i hope to move to a bigger city, even outside of Florida, soon and know i'll miss it one day, so i try and be grateful to be here now.

Anonymous said...

Nom Noms! Looks like a great dish for summertime!

Rick said...

This makes me want to go to New England.

grace said...

what a lovely plate of food! i often catch myself resenting the ridiculous heat, and then i recall the dreadful winter chill and straighten up immediately! it's always something, right? :)

Jen Cheung said...

love the food and presentation. the colors are just beautiful just like the food. well done!

have a lovely day

Pam said...

The sounds wonderful!

julie said...

Oh how I love jerk chicken! I hope the sun comes out for you soon, I'm not a big fan of gray gloom either. You have a beautiful site!

shaz said...

Sigh, I wish it was summer already down here, downunder :) I'll definitely be bookmarking this delish dish, bring on the grill!

Btw, thanks for visiting my blog :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What a great name-Emeral Jerk Chicken! And the side of Summer Salad is definitely a match made in BBQ heaven :D

lisa is cooking said...

Sounds like a great summer meal! The crunchy, flavorful salad looks like a perfect side for the chicken.

Monet said...

What a lovely post...and blog! I love coleslaw salads during these warmer months, and I love the sweet twist on this rendition. I will be giving it a try soon, and following your blog in the future!

Foodessa said...

Dawn and Daniel...sorry to read how greyer days don't inspire you. I actually welcome them or else I would never get my work done during stunning summer days. BTW...this year, we have been surprisingly blessed here in Montreal.

The surprise ingredient of cinnamon in the chicken is one I will use in my marinade next time. Thanks for the small twist.

Hope the rest of the summer treats you well ;o)

Ciao for now,

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

What a great way to brighten up a grey day! LOVE jerk chicken and yours looks pretty darn perfect to me!

Carolyn Jung said...

Jerk chicken and a Pimm's cup! I can totally kick back with that. ;)

Joanne said...

Summer without sun is definitely less than ideal! Way to bring the sun to you with this fantastic chicken.

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