Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Now that spring has officially arrived here in the south, How to Grill by Steven Raichlen has been pulled out of mothballs. Even though I don't always refer to this book for the recipes, I do use it religiously as a reference tool for grilling meats and vegetables.
With this week being busy, and spending hours perusing my cookbooks wasn't an option, I decided to let this book be my all - recipe and reference.
I have had good luck in the past with yogurt-based marinades for both tenderness and flavor so I decided to try Saffron-Grilled Chicken. A quick marinade was made and poured over the chicken. In the evening while the meat grilled I made the butter baste to brush on during the last few minutes.
It did not disappoint! Tender, juicy and alive with flavor it was a perfect accompaniment to a spicy caesar salad, a crisp white rioja, and soft folk music in the background.
Saffron-Grilled Chicken (Adapted from Steven Raichlen)
For the chicken and marinade:
2 chickens, (3 1/2 to 4 pounds each), cut into pieces, skin removed
½ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
⅔ cup lemon juice
⅔ cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons black pepper
1 large onion, thinly sliced crosswise
For the saffron-herb butter baste:
¼ teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon hot water
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Black pepper to taste
Use your fingers to crumble the saffron into a large nonreactive mixing bowl. Add the water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, yogurt, oil, salt, pepper and stir until the salt is dissolved.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a large nonreactive baking dish and top with the onion. Spoon, the marinade over the chicken and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 4 hours or as long a 8, turning several times.
Prepare the butter baste: Crush the saffron threads into a saucepan (tilt it slightly), add the water and let stand for 5 minutes. Add the butter, lemon juice, chives, and pepper and cook over medium heat until the butter melts.
Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to medium. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. Place the chicken drumsticks and thighs skin-side down on the hot grate. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then add the breast pieces skin-side down. Cook all for 5 to 6 minutes, then turn all pieces over. Continue grilling for 6 to 8 minutes more; you may need to turn the chicken pieces several times to keep them from burning. The last 2 minutes or so, start basting the chicken with the saffron-herb butter.
Transfer the chicken pieces to plates or a platter and garnish with the parsley sprigs. Serve with lemon wedges and sliced red onion.