Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grilled Jerk Chicken Salad

I would be perfectly happy to never turn on the oven in summer. Most houses up North don't have central air conditioning and ours is no exception. This is one of my delicious summer salads for keeping the heat outdoors. Eating like the "islanders" - Jamaicans in this case - is my preferred way to sail through the hot months of the year.  

There are plenty of jerk spice blends on the market these days, but it is definitely worth the effort to make this fresh marinade. My easy blender version is tops in taste. It's super simple and most of the ingredients just get tossed in without much prep work. If you want to reduce the heat in this sauce, remove the seeds and veins from the scotch bonnet pepper. If you want massive heat, like the Jamaicans prefer, toss a few more peppers in the blender.


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 

For the marinade
4 spring onions, halved
2 garlic cloves
1 inch knob of peeled ginger
1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeds/veins removed for less heat or not for more
Leaves of 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon agave nectar

Puree all the marinade ingredients in a food processor. It doesn't have to be smooth. In a sealed container, marinate the chicken breasts in the jerk sauce overnight or at least 4 hours.

Heat grill to medium. Brush oil on the grill to keep the chicken from sticking. Grill chicken for about 5 minutes per side or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Keep the lid closed while cooking. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes after removing from the grill.

For the salad
2 bunches of Romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 orange bell peppers, sliced
1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into eighths
2 limes, cut into sixths

Assemble the salads; lettuce on bottom and other vegetables around the sides. Slice the chicken and arrange over the center of the salad. Dress the salad with a drizzle of lime juice.

Serves 4

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1 comment:

  1. family is coming for dinner tomorrow. I'm going to try this marinade for chix we are going to grill. sounds good. Love u, M