I have been reminiscing about the summer already, and it’s not even over yet. Seems to go by so quickly, even more quickly than when I was in high school and dreading the arrival of September.
I am making sure to get in all of the cherries, stone fruit, corn, tomatoes and seafood I possibly can. I’ve also been looking for kiwi berries but haven’t seen them yet. Please let me know if you find any.
I am fondly remembering another great long Fourth of July weekend up in the Berkshires at Lisa and Doug’s place. I won’t wax on about the ridiculous “chowdah” at the Shaker Mill Tavern in bordering Massachusetts or the delicious spices and sauces of the Bittersweet Herb Farm we sampled at the annual Berkshires Art & Crafts Festival or the coconut ice cream with semi-sweet chocolate chips and slivered almonds at Lick in Hudson, N.Y. I won’t do it…
Rather, I will merely use the fun weekend as my inspiration for a couple of recipes that you should try before the summer is over. First up is what I’m calling grilled fried chicken. Yes, we cooked it on the grill, it tasted like fried and it was chicken. Might have put a hair too much salt…due to too much wine…but very good.
The technique was simple. There wasn’t enough time to marinate the chicken so I quick-brined it in some vinegar, lemon juice and salt for an hour or so. I then drained and rinsed the pieces and moved them to paper towel-lined trays. The key to getting the crispy texture of the finished product was thoroughly drying the chicken.
I cut the breasts in half (to match the cooking time with the other pieces) and put a 1-inch slit in the thighs to allow the seasonings to get in. Then I lightly rubbed each piece with some olive oil and liberally seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Cooking this on the grill takes a little skill and technique also. Always make sure your meats are at room temperature before you put them on the grill and, while it looks cool, you don’t want crazy high flames that will burn your food before it’s even cooked.
You want to use a combination of direct and indirect heat. Turn two of your burners to medium-high and one to medium-low, if not off or some combination of this, as it pertains to your grill. Start your meat on the medium-high (direct) part of the grill to get that sear on both sides then move it to the low burner (indirect) to gently cook the inside. If available, you can also move the pieces to the top rack to finish.
Cooking times vary, so don’t be ashamed to gently cut into a piece to check doneness. If the juices run clear, you are good to go. Otherwise, keep it over the indirect heat for the additional needed time.
At the table, I finished the chicken with a modest brushing of maple BBQ sauce from Bittersweet Herb Farm. However, if this grill-fried chicken is not what you seek and you MUST sauce it on the grill, wait until it is almost done to slather it. If you put sauce on any time sooner, the sugar will burn before the chicken cooks.
‘Twas quite delicious with the chipotle black bean corn salad, grilled salmon with crispy skin and Lisa’s roasted potatoes-and that was only the first night…
I will hit you with a gazpacho recipe and a grilled vegetable salsa next week.
Enjoy, get eating and thanks for reading!
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Kysha Harris is owner of SCHOP! which is available for weekly service or for home entertaining. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Email kysha@iSCHOP.com.