Sometimes I wonder if it's even fair to post recipes as simple as the one I'm sharing today. So let's call this one a technique, shall we?
The sous-chef has become a true master of the grill this summer. His bison burgers are truly the Best I've Ever Had (hint: add minced garlic and LOTS of cumin), and he can deliver a balsamic-marinated portobella with perfect hatch marks. But the best dish he's created yet is the one that made me appreciate grilled chicken again. (Thank goodness he put a ring on it, because I'll be eating well forever.)
Poor chicken, always the protein afterthought -- it's thrown on a salad so we can call it a meal and paired with rich side dishes to mask its blandness. I thought I was over it completely, dismissing it in favor of flavorful vegetables and hearty red meat.
Oh, how I was mistaken.
What chicken needs to succeed is tons of seasoning. I'm no fan of marinating, because who has the time? The solution: smother the chicken in high-quality, whole grain mustard. Just trust me on this one -- yes, the mustard bits will burn. And that will be delicious.
After talking to Chefs John Currence and Vishwesh Bhatt of Oxford, Mississippi's City Grocery group recently inspired me to expand my vegetable grilling horizons, as well. They both swore whole okra took well to the hot flames, and they weren't kidding; the okra was slime-free and bursting with pleasantly nutty flavor.
Grilled Mustard Chicken with Smoky Whole Okra
Ingredients (Serves 2):
For the chicken:
2 organic chicken breasts (between 3/4 and 1 pound total)
1 tsp. olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced (for best results make sure garlic is very fresh and mince finely)
3 heaping tbsp. whole grain mustard (we are partial to Maille Old Style)
2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
Salt to taste
For the okra:
About 8 whole okra pods
1 tbsp. Spanish smoked paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse the chicken breasts well with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub thoroughly with olive oil, garlic, and mustard then sprinkle on a light coating of salt and black pepper. If desired, lightly dust them with a pinch of cayenne pepper for more kick.
Fire up the grill and turn the heat to medium-low, allow the grill to heat for a few minutes. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and cook with the top down for 10 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until there are nice grill marks on both sides and the meat is firm.
While the chicken is cooking, rub the okra with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Place on the grill grate and cook for about 2 minutes, turn onto the opposite side, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until you see nice grill marks. Serve both chicken and okra immediately.