Longer days, warmer nights. As we step out of spring and into summer, it’s the perfect time to switch up the menu and try something new. Add some Middle Eastern flair to your recipe repertoire with Grilled Chicken with Turmeric Spice Rub and Baby Greens. This recipe is great to whip up for family and delicious enough to serve guests at your first summer cookout.
Toasting spices before grinding them draws out their aromatic oils and intensifies their flavor. To make the spice mixture, grind toasted seeds into a powder that will adhere well to the chicken breasts. The yogurt sauce provides a cooling balance to the piquant dish and a creamy dressing for the mixed spring greens. I like the fact that you can do a lot of the prep — the pounded chicken, spice rub, and yogurt sauce — one day ahead.
I just returned from Italy, where artichokes (or carciofi in Italian) are celebrated with great enthusiasm. I absolutely love artichokes, devoting a whole menu to them at my restaurant Maude. While the humble artichoke — the edible flower bud of a thistle plant — has a reputation for being tricky to prepare and eat, its distinctive flavor and health benefits make it well worth the extra effort. When buying, look for artichokes that are plump, heavy, and firm, with tightly closed leaves. Once cut, artichokes discolor quickly, so prepare them just before you are ready to eat. While I like them as a light lunch, Braised Artichokes with Lemon Vinaigrette can be enjoyed as a side or main first course.
Grilled Chicken with Turmeric Spice Rub and Baby Greens
(Makes 2 servings)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 English hothouse cucumber, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 cups mixed baby salad greens
To prepare the chicken: Using meat mallet, lightly pound chicken breasts until thinned to about ½-inch thickness, being careful not to rip or tear chicken breasts.
To prepare the spice mixture: In heavy small frying pan, toast coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds over medium-high heat until spices begin to pop, shaking pan gently to jostle spices in skillet, about 2 minutes. Using mortar and pestle or clean coffee grinder, grind toasted spices into powder. Mix in cayenne pepper and turmeric.
To cook the chicken: Preheat barbecue for medium-high heat or a grill pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and season generously with spice mixture. Drizzle with olive oil, then rub spice mixture into chicken breasts to coat. Grill chicken until brown grill marks form and chicken is just cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to two plates and let rest for 2 minutes.
To prepare the yogurt sauce: In small bowl, combine cucumber, yogurt, and garlic. Finely grate peel from half of lemon into yogurt mixture. Squeeze about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into yogurt mixture. Add cilantro and stir to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Mound salad greens alongside chicken on plates. Drizzle sauce over chicken and serve.
- Calories: 334
- Total Fat: 14.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
- Sodium: 222 mg
- Carbohydrate: 15.5 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 36 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 3.5 lean meat, 1 vegetable, 2 fat, 0.5 nonfat milk
Braised Artichokes with Lemon Vinaigrette
(Makes 4 servings)
- 20 baby artichokes, peeled, cleaned to the hearts
- Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 shallot, halved
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 teaspoon chopped shallot
- 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems and leaves
- Chives, cut into ½-inch pieces
To prepare artichokes: Into large saucepan, place artichokes and all remaining ingredients. Add enough water to cover and season to taste with salt. Place pan over high heat until liquid comes to gentle simmer, then reduce heat to low and continue simmering for about 25 minutes or until artichokes are tender. Remove pan from heat and let cool for a few minutes before removing artichokes from cooking liquid.
To make vinaigrette: In medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, water, and shallot, and then slowly drizzle in olive oil while whisking to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve: Cut artichokes in half lengthwise and gently toss them with vinaigrette to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with chopped parsley and chives and serve.
- Calories: 142
- Total Fat: 7 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Sodium: 72 mg
- Carbohydrate: 17 g
- Fiber: 6 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Diabetic Exchanges: 3 vegetables, 1 fat
Curtis Stone is the chef/owner of Maude and Gwen restaurants in Los Angeles.
This article is featured in the May/June 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.
Featured image: Ray Kachatorian