Time for another Guest Post, everyone! Today I’ve got Sara, a food lover with a little bit of advice and some fresh ideas for those of you with a certain aversion to anything green
Look, I get it: There are plenty of salad haters out there. I’ve heard from the lot of you that they can lack taste and substance and should never be the star of the meal. OK, fine, you can have your say all you want, but here’s mine: After eating a godly kale salad last year, I’ve never looked back at enjoying these dishes, especially in the summer.
As we all know too well, the summer months lead to many obvious changes in our daily lives: the need for sunscreen and air conditioning; an urge to head to the closest beach; and the desire to grill more than ever before. Of course, the grill enthusiasts out there will argue that you can take your cooking outside during any time of the year, but let’s be real: If it’s snowing, raining, or below 45 degrees, you’re staying indoors. However, for the next few months—if you’re anything like me—you’re looking for any excuse to hit the grill. Not only that, but you may be trying to eat a bit lighter and searching for a way to do so without losing any flavor.
That’s a sentiment I’ve had in the past two years or so, particularly when I was in college. I was lucky enough to rent a house off campus with five of my friends that came equipped with one sweet grill. The only problem? It was gas, which meant that the real “grill” flavor wasn’t there. Personally, I’ve preferred the charcoal approach ever since I was a kid, because my dad knew how to bring that coal flavor right into whatever he was grilling. Unfortunately for me, my recent (and first) attempts at charcoal weren’t terribly successful. However, I stumbled upon this grilling article at Verizon Wireless hosted by Guy Fieri of the Food Network. Among other tips, he recommended “avoid[ing] putting on coals that aren’t burned through.” I know, duh, right? Well, no, because no one had taught me that!
It was then that I realized the problem with my otherwise killer ginger-lime chicken salad recipe—the grilled chicken breast just wasn’t tasting as good as when I baked it. After reading that article, though, all has been well and my bright and delicious salad has never been better. The chicken is a riff off of Ina Garten’s tequila lime chicken recipe, in which I replaced the tequila with ginger (powder or grated) to amazing results. Let’s get to the recipe!
First, you’ll want to marinate the chicken for at least a few hours, though overnight is preferred. To do so, you’ll need one or two boneless, skinless chicken breasts—it depends on how many people you’re serving—and the following:
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger (or powder!)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (seeded)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Once you have the chicken properly (or at least partially) marinated, you’re ready to grill it (or bake it, if needed). When grilling, it should take about five minutes on the first side and then 10 minutes on the other. Once you have a nice brown color on the meat, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for five minutes before cutting into it. As a commenter on this Food Lab post makes clear: Yes, you even want to rest your chicken breast to make sure all the juices remain inside the meat.
Now, here comes the best part of the recipe, because the rest is all up to you! Personally, I’m on a kale kick—I know, so trendy, right?—and I’ve found a great way to keep the green at its most palatable. You’ll want to massage it with avocado before dressing it, because this step will make the green lose its toughness. Next, I like to add red onion that I’ve marinated in balsamic vinaigrette, shredded carrot, a little grated parmesan cheese for a salty kick, fresh snap peas, a sliced hard-boiled egg, and chickpeas (preferably roasted).
As for the dressing, a simple vinaigrette will do perfectly here. I like to go with something bright and acidic. However, you do not want it to be too acidic because you’ve got enough acid from the marinade. Find a solid balance—or just use the aforementioned balsamic—and you’ll be enjoying one of the most delicious recipes I’ve ever had (and made!).
Good luck and hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!