When Nathan and moved into our house, one of the things we were most excited about was grilling on the deck and a grill was one of our first big purchases (yes, we have discovered that owning a home involves a lot of purchases…especially when you’re both designers…but I digress.) This summer we have fully utilized our grill and deck and have grilled up an array of burgers, steaks, carne asada and a variety of veggies. One dish we have not had much of a desire to try is also the most basic…grilled chicken. At best grilled chicken is a bit boring and at worst it’s dry and tough. But we decided to attempt to take grilled chicken to a higher level and we looked to our friends at America’s Test Kitchen for help. The secret to tender, juicy flavorful grilled chicken is brining the chicken for about an hour before grilling and then basting the meat with a flavorful sauce to keep it moist. We decided to make a creamy lemon caper sauce for our chicken and it added an awesome flavor and creamy texture to the dish. We also decided to attempt a couple of veggies that we haven’t grilled in the past…artichoke and fennel (two veggies we don’t seem to cook much in the U.S. but should!) Nathan and I both agreed that if we ordered this dish in a restaurant we would be wowed…and it was relatively simple to make at home! Make this and get ready for the best grilled chicken of your life!
This wine was perfection with this dish…there’s not too much else to say! It had a punch of citrus that paired perfectly with the lemon in the sauce and a brightness that contrasted the richness of the dish nicely. I would buy this wine again and again…it would be great with seafood, appetizers, poultry, the list goes on.
A pale ale was the perfect beer pairing for this meal. Hoppy enough to cut through the rich sauces but light enough to help wash down the rich flavors of the artichoke, rice, and fennel. Green Line Pale Ale was a completely respectable and tasty representation of the style. Represent, Chicago! My favorite city (only in the spring).
For the grilled chicken:
From this recipe
1/4 cup salt
¼ cup sugar 4
(6- to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil spray
Lemon caper sauce (recipe below)
1. Dissolve salt and sugar in 1½ quarts cold water. Submerge chicken in brine, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Combine milk powder and pepper in bowl.
2. Prepare your Charcoal Grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
3. Clean and oil cooking grate. Sprinkle half of milk powder mixture over 1 side of chicken. Lightly spray coated side of chicken with oil spray until milk powder is moistened. Flip chicken and sprinkle remaining milk powder mixture over second side. Lightly spray with oil spray.
4. Place chicken over hotter part of grill and cook until browned on first side, 2 to 2 ½ minutes. Flip chicken, brush with 2 tablespoons lemon sauce, and cook until browned on second side, 2 to 2 ½ minutes. Flip chicken, move to cooler side of grill, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, and cook for 2 minutes. Repeat flipping and brushing 2 more times, cooking for 2 minutes on each side. Flip chicken, brush with remaining sauce, and cook until chicken registers 160 degrees, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
For the sauce:
From this recipe
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons butter (or oil)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1¼ cup chicken broth (stock)
½ cup milk (full fat or 2% — or use reduced fat cream or heavy cream)
⅔ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons capers (plus 2 tablespoons extra to garnish)
1 tablespoon cornstarch (cornflour) mixed with 2-3 tablespoons of water
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice — juice of 1 lemon (adjust to your tastes)
Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until butter has melted and pan is hot.
Add the garlic to the oil in the pan and fry until fragrant (about 1 minute). Reduce heat to medium low heat and add the broth and milk (or cream). Bring the sauce to a boil; season with salt and pepper to your taste; add in the parmesan cheese and capers and allow sauce to simmer for about 2 minutes until thicker. Slowly add the cornstarch/water mixture until the sauce has reached your desired consistency.
Pour in the lemon juice, allow to simmer for a further minute to combine.
For the grilled artichokes:
Adapted from this recipe
1 lemon, halved
2 large artichokes
Extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
Salt & Pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
Trim the stem from each artichoke to 1-inch long, then bend back and snap off dark outer leaves. Cut top inch of artichokes with serrated knife. Using a vegetable peeler, peel dark green areas from stem and base of artichoke. Quarter each artichoke. Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the choke and remove the purple, prickly tipped leaves from the center of each wedge.
Place finished artichokes in a large bowl of cold water and squeeze 2 lemons into the water and stir. Continue with remaining artichokes.
Once finished, drain the artichokes and place into boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 15 minutes.
Drain the cooked artichokes and liberally drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place onto preheated grill. Cook until tender and lightly charred in spots, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes.
For the grilled fennel:
1 bulb fennel, sliced into ¼ inch thick rings
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper
Drizzled the sliced fennel with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place the fennel on a sheet of aluminum foil and curl the edges of the foil up slightly.
Place the foil sheet on the grill and grill for 8-10 minutes until the fennel is tender and browned in spots.