Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper
On the rare occasion when I leave him to fend for himself for a few days, our neighbors know to keep an eye on the house for smoke curling out of the kitchen windows. But more often than not, they know that his meal of choice will be Doritos, and they pop in occasionally to make sure he hasn’t passed out in front of the TV in a powdered pasteurized cheesefood product-induced coma. His fantasy baseball team is aptly named “The Dorito Banditos.” It’s disgusting.
But just as the planets aligned for Appalachian State to beat Michigan in 2007, the Booze Hound sometimes digs deep into the depths of his soul and is able to produce an edible meal. And usually, surprisingly, it’s good! See, I feel strongly that people who love to eat food have, in some capacity, the ability to procure tasty vittles. The Booze Hound loves him some eating, so mathematically, his odds of making something good every once in a while are good.
Enter Thursday night. The Booze Hound has declared it “Mama Appreciation Night” in honor of running SS Hound solo when the Booze Hound travels for work. Any foodie understands the fabulousness of having someone else cook dinner once in a while! Even though cooking is something I love to do, it’s nice to be on the other end! So he did his own shopping and planned his own meal. And, in turn, I stocked up on frozen pizza. Just in case 🙂
With the Booze Hound you never know. There was the time he boiled pasta for two hours because he wanted to “keep it warm” till I got home from work. There was the (recent) incident involving the microwaving of a single chicken thigh for 12 minutes. But then he made turkey burgers with tomato-corn salsa that rocked my world and seriously could help him win the Next Food Network Star.
Again, you just never know.
The meal on Thursday was Bobby Flay’s Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper and Arugula-Tomato Salad. And it was fabulous. I’m not just being nice because it’s the Booze Hound. It’s not a recipe that would have jumped off the page at me, so I’m thrilled he picked it. His reasons for picking it were threefold:
1. Bobby Flay doesn’t make bad stuff.
2. He has heard of all the ingredients (even arugula!) and it didn’t look too challenging.
3. It’s from the “French Bistro Grilling” episode, and we know how I love everything French.
The chicken was flavorful, and like the good Food Hound follower he is, he knew to use chicken thighs in place of boring breasts. It was a light and tasty dinner to which he added crusty baguette and a killer wine. And trust me, if the Booze Hound can make it, you know it’s easy. Of course, so is making pasta and we know how that turned out…
Dessert was Litton’s famous strawberry cake. It really deserves its own write-up because it is beyond fabulous. For those of you not in Knoxville, Litton’s is a local burger place right down the road from us that makes great burgers. They grind their own meat, make their own burger buns…. and they make their cakes from scratch. My personal favorite is their strawberry cake. I am not one for brightly-colored, fruity cakes, but I happened to taste a bite of someone else’s one time and I was hooked. It has chunks of strawberries throughout, and it’s sweet and rich, just the way cake should be! I’m not even going to comment on the frosting. It tastes like a cross between a cream cheese and buttercream, both of which are amazing. And they pile it on. Sometimes you want moderation, sometimes you don’t. When you don’t, head to Litton’s for their strawberry cake.
I wouldn’t trade running SS Hound and feeding all of its inhabitants, both canine and homo sapiens, for anything in the world. But every once in a while, it’s nice to sit back, sip some vino, and let the Booze Hound man the ship. Cheers!
Grilled Chicken Paillard with Lemon and Black Pepper and Tomato-Arugula Salad
Adapted from Bobby Flay
1/4 c freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 shallot, minced
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts, pounded thinly)
1/2 lb arugula
2 ripe beefsteak tomatoes, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 T red wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
Lemon halves for garnish
Whisk together lemon juice, shallot, olive oil and pepper. Place chicken in a large plastic zip-top bag and pour lemon juice mixture over chicken. Turn over to coat, then marinate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from marinade, season with salt on both sides, and grill for 3-5 minutes per side (depending on the cut of chicken you use) until golden brown and just cooked through.
Combine arugula, tomatoes and onion in a large bowl; toss with olive oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Place 2 chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast) on each plate and drizzle with olive oil. Top with arugula-tomato salad and garnish with lemon wedges.
Ohhh, almost forgot to mention the vino!! T’was fabulous and (surprise!) t’was red. I’m totally into old vine wines now, and this one was great. Too bad I didn’t have this back when the Booze Hound and I started dating and I had to choke down 2-hour-boiled pasta mush he made for my first dinner at his house… 🙂
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