Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Artists Palette in Fiery Apricot

The question was, with what flavors would I load my palette today?

We had bright yellow-orange apricots. Deep purply-red figs. Lush pink and orangey peaches. Vibrantly green limes. Burgundy colored balsamics. Lots of choices.

Grilling to me is about imparting flavors. Sometimes just the charred flavor of the grill itself. But more often, the added sparkle of some brushed on flavor, maybe sweet, or hot, or a combination.

I feel like Gauguin, or maybe van Gogh, splashing not bright colors so much as bright flavors wildly across my fiercely burning canvas. Bold strokes, robust flavors, that cause the fire to flare up wildly in appreciation (at least in my mind!) of my efforts.

Today, we went with the apricots.

A glaze, made of fresh apricots, cider vinegar, some turbinado sugar and a chili pepper. To go on some grilled chicken thighs. So easy. So much flavor.

Along with some grilled apricots on the side. Just to accent the flavors in the glaze.

And because we had a little extra time today, we peeled back the corn husks of some corn on the cob, and brushed the corn kernels on the cobs with a little olive oil. The reason you need a little extra time is not because of the brushing, but because you have to carefully rearrange the husks over the kernels, and then try to tie them with a strand of corn husk so the husks stay in place during grilling. That’s a tricky business. At least for my clumsy fingers.

Brushing olive oil, or butter, onto the corn before grilling gives it an amazing roasted flavor, and causes the kernels to brown more than otherwise (more of an aesthetic thing).

All this served over TeenBoy’s famous herbed couscous.

Everything grilled. In the cool evening breeze. A Palette of bright summer flavors!

Apricot Glaze
Recipe by surfindaave

9 fresh apricots, pits removed, roughly chopped
½ cup cider vinegar
¼ turbinado sugar (or brown sugar)
1 serrano chili pepper, minced (remove seeds first, if less heat is desired)
Salt, pepper

In a small, heavy pot, heat all ingredients until they come to a boil. Reduce heat, and cook mixture at a very low boil until it thickens and the apricots have mostly dissolved, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, and reserve.

Apricot Glazed Grilled Chicken with Grilled Apricots
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4

3 to 4 pounds of chicken pieces with skin and bones (breasts, thighs, legs, mixed)
Canola oil
Apricot glaze (see recipe above)
9 fresh apricots, cut in half, pit removed, brushed all over with olive oil
Parsley, chopped, for garnish, if desired

Toss the chicken pieces lightly with canola oil and reserve.

Heat coals in grill until they are white all over with ash. Lightly rub some canola oil on the grill rack.

Grill the chicken pieces over the coals, extinguishing any significant flames with a water squirt bottle, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Turn, and grill on other side for 5 to 7 minutes, until that side is lightly browned.

Brush the tops of the chicken pieces with the apricot glaze, and turn the pieces glaze side down. Brush the newly turned pieces again with the glaze. Continue to turn the chicken every few minutes (it will darken quickly with the glaze applied), brushing the newly turned pieces each time with additional glaze, until the chicken is cooked through, another 20 minutes or so. Remove the chicken to a plate, cover and reserve.

Place the olive oil brushed apricot halves on the grill, cut side down. Grill without moving until the apricots are browned, just 3 or 4 minutes. Remove the apricot halves to a plate.

Serve the chicken with the grilled apricot halves and additional apricot glaze on the side. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish, if desired. Enjoy!

Herbed Couscous
Recipe by surfindaave
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups couscous
2 cups chicken broth
6 tbsp butter (the secret ingredients!)
1 cup chopped parsley
3-4 scallions, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
salt, pepper

Place couscous in a large heatproof bowl. Cut butter into the bowl with the couscous. Heat chicken broth in a pan until it boils. Pour the hot broth over the couscous and butter, stir, and cover with a plate. Let the couscous sit for 10 minutes undisturbed. Stir in parsley, scallions, salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork. Serve. Enjoy!

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Anonymous elle said...

looks goods, tastes good, it's all good-might make this soon as my chicken repertoire is getting BORING.

3:33 PM  

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