A Grill Disaster (plus a salad)

Slow-cooked garlic mixed with grilled chicken makes for a perfect salad. Great for a dinner or lunch!


A Grill Disaster (plus a salad)

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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

Serves 4
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Slow-cooked garlic mixed with grilled chicken makes for a perfect salad. Great for a dinner or lunch!

Adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe.


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


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.

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.

20 cloves. More or less.

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.

Slow cookin’

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!

Just like roasted!

The Dressing

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!

An awesome dressing!

The chicken

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.

Are ya chicken?

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!

One broken grill later…

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.

12 Responses to “A Grill Disaster (plus a salad)” Leave a comment

  1. Yikes! Check the grease catcher on the grill and make sure it’s on straight when you replace the hose. I had a hose catch fire on a gas grill, too and I was afraid the tank was going to explode. The grease cup was askew (love that word), and it had dribbled fat on the hose which caught fire from the high flame above. So, nope, you’re not the first person to do this. Glad it wasn’t terrible. But that dressing. It’s making me drool, and it may become my house dressing for a while.

  2. We look forward to hearing about your shopping for your next grill, the schlepping it home, the proper way to prepare your new grill, followed by the first new grill meal……..but of course, glad to hear you’re unscathed……..and Macheesmo-ready-to-go!

  3. Glad to hear there was no massive kersplosion and dinner was saved.

    I’m curious, if there were a smackdown between roasted garlic and confit garlic, which would win in your kitchen?

    1. Think it depends on use… the nice thing about the confit option is that the oil is as flavorful if not more flavorful than the garlic itself and you can use it in a ton of stuff.

      Roasting is a bit more hands off though… you don’t really have to worry about burning the garlic when you are roasting it.

  4. HA! I’m sorry, I’m not LAUGHING laughing but I am laughing. In empathy, of course.
    This post is timed perfectly ~ it’s going on my calendar for Mother’s Day for two reasons:
    First, because I want to test a fire theory. I totally burnt something MAJOR last Christmas Eve when my parents were over for dinner, discovering that our new old house is fitted with an industrial strength smoke alarm (Holy Loud, Batman), and did the same thing the next time I had my parents over for dinner. Those are the only times I’ve really burnt ANYTHING. Is my mom just bad luck?
    Second, my mom is the biggest garlic fanatic on earth. One of her favorite dinner parties was one where she roasted “40-clove chicken.” Seriously, FORTY cloves. The schmaltzy rosted garlic was a side dish. Along with garlic-stuffed olives, garlic bread, and other garlicky nonsense. FUN! She’ll love this.
    THANKS!!! I’ll let ya know if my mom is the smoke-alarm-magnet or if those incidents were just a freak coincidence. Enjoy your new grill!

  5. Hey! I tried this salad and I must say, is the very best salad dressing I had in my life, and fits perfectly with the arugula. I made this for me and my wife as a main dish (the 4 people version) and we couldn’t get enough of it. Last night I made for some friends as a side dish (without the chicken) and everybody loved. This is officially my favorite salad from now on! :)

  6. My only issue with this recipe is that if I confit garlic, I have to make 10 times the actual amount of garlic that I will be using. I have a tendency to eat all of it, clove by clove, as I walk by it. It does, however, make a person, humm, gassy. I still do it. :)

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