A Grill Disaster (plus a salad)
It’s generally never a good thing to smell burning rubber while you are cooking dinner.
This means something has gone horribly wrong.
A few days ago one of our very good friends (and Twitter celebrity) @mutgoff rolled through our small Colorado town and I promised her a good meal and drinks.
Everything was going perfectly until my grill caught on fire.
I mean… grills are supposed to be on fire, but not ON FIRE! Fire was billowing out the back and sides of the grill and I decided that it was probably time to turn the gas off and run for cover.
As you can see from the above picture, somehow I had managed to burn clean through the hose that was supplying gas to the grill so propane was just billowing out the back – igniting immediately.
Guess what? I still saved dinner because that’s how I roll.
Garlic Chicken Salad
Yield: Serves 4.
1-2 pounds chicken pieces, I like thighs and breasts
20 cloves garlic, peeled
1 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup olives, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, sliced
4 cups baby arugula
Salt and pepper
Mini food processor
1) Peel garlic cloves and add to a small pot with olive oil. Heat over low heat until oil starts to simmer. Watch closely and cook until cloves turn slightly brown and are soft and fragrant, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
2) Mix half the garlic cloves with half of the oil with vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper to a mini food processor. Process until smooth to make the dressing.
3) Toss chicken pieces with a few tablespoons of the garlic oil. Grill over high heat until cooked through, about 5-6 minutes per side depending on the chicken pieces you are using.
4) Slice chicken into large chunks.
5) Add olives, roasted red peppers, the rest of the cooked garlic cloves, and arugula in a large bowl and toss with a few tablespoons of dressing. Add sliced chicken and toss to coat.
6) Serve immediately with extra dressing on the side.
Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.
Confit that Garlic
Grill disasters aside, this was a pretty good salad that won the poll last week.
While the original recipe used chicken, I don’t see why you couldn’t use tofu or tempeh and make this vegetarian. Most of the flavor, after all, comes from 20 whole cloves of garlic.
Of course, this would be way to much raw garlic to put into any one dish, but the recipe calls for a really cool technique that works great.
Basically, you confit the garlic in olive oil by cooking it over low heat for 10-15 minutes. This does two things: 1) It infuses the oil with a garlic flavor that is very delicious. 2) It mellows out the garlic and makes it much like roasted garlic.
After the garlic is done simmering slowly in the oil you can pop a whole clove in your mouth without a problem. It’s slightly sweet and savory and very wonderful.
You do need to keep an eye on the pot while it is cooking. You can easily burn the garlic if you aren’t careful and then it will become really bitter.
So just heat it over low heat and watch it. Once the cloves have turned a light brown color and they are very soft, the job is done. Then you can strain the cloves out and you have some tasty garlic cloves and also infused garlic oil!
Honestly, my favorite part of this recipe was this dressing. Once you have your garlic confit, combine about half of the cloves with half of the oil and puree it with some mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
This stuff is addictive!
There’s nothing to preparing the chicken for this salad. Toss it with a few tablespoons of that delicious garlic oil and it’s ready to grill.
Just be careful with the grill. I’m not entirely sure what caused my grill disaster, but I think that some of the oil from the chicken dripped onto my gas supply hose and somehow caught fire.
Luckily, this unplanned fire happened near the end of the grilling process so we were still able to chop up the chicken and have dinner. If it would’ve happened at the beginning of the grilling process I would’ve just cooked the chicken in the oven.
Finishing the salad is super easy. Just toss the olives, parsley, arugula, and roasted red peppers with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Then add in the chopped chicken and toss it to coast everything evenly.
We served this with some nice crusty bread and it was really tasty!
I was, of course, a bit embarrassed that I started an almost very serious fire while people were over to enjoy my supposedly good cooking.
That just goes to show you that things can (and will) go wrong in the kitchen.
Luckily, most mistakes are fixable. Turns out I can order a replacement hose for the grill for about $25.
What this means is that I’m not the first person who has done this! Somehow, that makes me feel better.