Sunday, September 19, 2010

Simple Pleasures (Brined, grilled chicken with garden salsa)

So, it’s the end of the season. You’ve still got tomatoes, peppers, and boatloads of basil. You’re tired of making salsa. You’ve got enough pesto. What to do?

As little as possible. That’s what:

  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 c. water
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • a tomato or two, diced
  • a green pepper or two, diced
  • pine nuts
  • basil leaves, chopped
  • couscous

Now, if you’re running really short on time, you can skip the brining. But if you have 10 minutes the night before, it’s so worth it. Brining makes anything (other than beef) juicier, more tender, and more flavorful.

Other than the brining ingredients, vary the amount of ingredients to your liking.

Put the water, salt, garlic, and sugar in a pot over high heat. Stir occasionally until all the solids have dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat. Either let cool to lukewarm or add a handful of ice cubes. Put the chicken in a ziploc bag. Add the brine. Seal the bag and put it in the fridge for at least four hours – overnight is better.

When dinnertime gets close, get a grill to medium-high heat. Drain the chicken and pat dry. Rub the chicken with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with ground pepper. Grill the chicken until the juices run clear – usually 6-8 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet over high heat. Add the pine nuts. Toss until lightly toasted. Add the tomato, pepper, and basil leaves. Cook, stirring, for one minute. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Also, make your couscous. For this one, we used pearl couscous – but you can really use anything you like here.

When the chicken is done, remove from the grill and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Plate up. Pour a medium bodied, fruity white wine. Torrontes is a great choice. Chow down.