Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Grilled watermelon and chicken thighs

Yes, I realise that this is an odd title, but it is hard to come up with anything different.
It is now officially hot in Texas, so we typically avoid adding heat inside the kitchen and use the grill for just about everything. Tonight's dinner was no exception. And, as usual there are leftovers: The dinner was a salad of lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, potatoes, grilled chicken and grilled watermelon. Sounds odd, I admit! But it did get the "we can serve this to people" accolade from Madame, so all is well.
Why thighs and not breasts? They are much easier to cook without drying out - more forgiving and more flavorful. Yes they are fattier, but we embrace the inner fat in this house. Flavor rules!
Also we typically don't dress our salads directly. We cook potatoes, dress them while hot and then use the dressed potatoes as the dressing for the salad overall. It is one way to make sure you don't overdress the salad. Oh, and since it is as fast to make a dressing as it is to open a bottle, the dressings are all home made. Where to start?



2 lbs waxy potatoes with the skins on
water to cover


1/4 cup cider vinegar
3T Sherry vinegar
1 small shallot - minced
1/2 t dry mustard
3/4 cup neutral oil
2T Extra Virgin Olive Oil


6 watermelon wedges
oil to lightly coat - prevent sticking on the grill
salt/pepper to taste


6 Boneless/skinless chicken thighs
1/2t Hungarian paprika
1/2t Cayenne Pepper
1/2t Cumin
1T coarse salt
a few grinds of pepper
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
1/4 t dried oregano


A few lettuce leaves torn into bite sized pieces
6 small tomatoes (not cherry or grape sized - larger than that, and nice and ripe), each cut into eighths
1 small cucumber peeled and chopped so the pieces are the same size as the tomatoes
Coarse sea salt



Quarter the potatoes. Place in cold, salted water in a saucepot. Bring to a simmer. and cook until fork tender, but not mushy. Drain the potatoes. While still warm pour the dressing over the potatoes and allow to come to room temperature


Combine all ingredients, except oils into a glass jar. Shake to mix. Add the oils, and shake again to emulsify. Use immediately. However it will keep in the fridge for a week or so.


Season the watermelon with salt/pepper and brush with oil. Grill for about 3 minutes each side. Serve slightly warm


Pat the chicken thighs dry. make up the rub by vombining the spices in a pestle and mortar, grinding until a fine, uniform powder. Coat the chicken with the spice mixture and allow to stand while the grill heats up. When the grill is hot, grill the chicken thighs for about 5 min/side until they are cooked through. Remove from the grill, allow to stand for a few minutes before slicing thinly across the grain.


Lay some lettuce leaves in the bottom of an individual salad bowl. Mix in the tomatoes/cucumber. Decorate with the chicken slices. Add some dressed potatoes to the salad, place 2 grilled watermelon wedges on top, and serve.

It looks like a lot of work, but from start to finish this took the requisite 45 minutes.

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