Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On the Grill: Lemon & Garlic Chicken with Corn on the Cob

I’ve made a handful of mistakes in life. You know, just a few moments here and there when I REALLY blew it.

For example, one time I fed my cat a delectable piece of chicken that I was cutting up on the countertop. This normally would seem harmless except for the fact that animals are creatures of habit and now, no matter WHAT I am cutting in that exact spot, I have a begging kitty pawing at my shirt.

"I can haz chickenz?"

This other time I was playing softball in ninth grade and I didn’t call for a short fly ball behind the second base bag. This resulted in a hard collision between me and my shortstop, leaving me with a bloody nose and which actually sent my teammate to the hospital (she’s fine now…). It was my birthday…worst birthday ever.

I also made the error of not buying a stovetop grill pan sooner.

This little (and extremely heavy) kitchen gadget is awesome. I am coming to regard it as a kitchen essential for the home cooks who are living in apartments with minimal backyard space. This particular pan I have is pre-seasoned and cast iron. On my gas stovetop, this baby gets hot REALLY quickly. However, with a few adjustments and the right kind of temperature control, these grill pans allow you to get that awesome backyard barbeque-grilled taste anytime, anywhere.

That’s exactly what was on the menu tonight. Lemon and Garlic Marinated Grilled Chicken with Grilled Corn on the Cob. Serve alongside a fresh salad, a Sam Summer or a Sangria and you have the epitome of summer on one table. Ready in a flash!

Here’s what you need:

1 pound of thin-sliced chicken breasts (I used the pre-sliced Purdue breasts)
1 cup of your favorite marinade (as the title suggests, I did a Lemon and Garlic blend—perfect for chicken and fish! You could use the bottled kind…I did that today because I was away in Philly this past weekend and needed a time saver…you can also combine lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, S&P and Dijon mustard to create your own!)
Ears of corn on the cob, shucked (enough for each dinner guest to have 1)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper, dried basil to taste
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, divided
Freshly grated parmesan cheese (about ¼ of a cup)
Salad of your choice using summer’s best in season vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and spinach are my favorite)

Here's what you do:

Place your chicken in an air tight container and season with cracked pepper and dried basil. Top with your marinade and cover. Let the chicken sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours. I love the basil and lemon combination!
Heat your grill pan on one side only over medium heat. Natural convection will get the other side warm without direct heat on both sides.
Brush your corn ears with a light amount of oil. You may want to spritz the grill pan with cooking spray as well.
Place the corn on the hot side of the grill and cook for about 3 minutes on all sides until nice grill marks appear on some of the kernels.

This was a really funny time for me. I put the corn on the grill and started doing other things when all of a sudden...*POP POP* yeah, turns out, regular corn kernels will pop under extreme heat as well. The cat went flying into the other room and I had to take a few deep breaths as I calmly convinced myself my kitchen was not under attack.

So, anyway...After the initial searing, move the corn to the unheated side of the pan and cover with a bowl that is O.K. under heat. This will finish the cooking process after about 5 or 7 minutes (turn the corn once while it's under the bowl).
Remove corn from the grill and immediately brush it with 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper. Serve hot.
While the corn finishes cooking on the unheated side of the pan, add a touch more cooking spray to the hot side of the pan and add the chicken to the grill. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until cooked through and grill marks appear, about 4 to 6 minutes on each side. To keep the chicken moist, use any reserved marinade that has not touched raw chicken (nobody likes contamination) to brush onto the chicken after the first flip.

This was a great summer meal. Corn on the cob has always been one of my all-time favorite side dishes, and I personally think we need to be grilling up our corn cobs more often! Grilled chicken is a classic meal, but giving it enough time to marinate and letting the flavors marry together can really bring it to the next level.

What's your favorite food to throw on the grill?

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