Smoky Chicken with Romesco Relish

13 11 2009

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Last fall I had the pleasure of visiting Houston’s Midtown Tasting Room for a five course wine-paired meal featuring San Fran chef Joey Altman.  Two things made the evening: Joey’s impromptu jams with the house band, and his Pimenton Chicken.

As lovely as skin-on chicken thighs and olive oil are, especially in this particular configuration, I needed a lighter version to keep me safely enjoying this flavor-bomb of a dish as often as possible.


Smoky Chicken with Romesco Relish

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic
2t smoked paprika
1t poultry seasoning
1t your favorite powdered chile (I usually use ancho)
1t kosher salt

1/2c roasted red peppers
1/2c peppadew peppers
1/4c Italian parsely
1/4c marcona almonds
4 saltine crackers
2T lemon juice
1/4t kosher salt

For best results, I recommend marinating your chicken overnight. Mix salt, paprika, poultry seasoning and chile powder together and sprinkle liberally on both sides of the chicken. Mince your garlic, add the salt and crush it with the side of your knife until it becomes a rough paste. Then, rub the chicken with the garlic mixture and store overnight (or for at least an hour or two if pressed for time) in a shallow dish or plastic bag.

Take the chicken out twenty to thirty minutes before go-time to take the chill off. While you’re waiting, prepare the relish.

This is where my deep affection for my food processor comes in. Put red peppers, peppadews, parsley, almonds and crackers into a processor and pulse on chop until you reach your preferred consistency. Add the salt and lemon juice and give it one more whiz. If you want something more saucy, you can add a little more lemon juice or even some yogurt and let it rip for a full minute.

Give the flavors some time to mingle while you cook your chicken. You’ll get the best flavor by cooking about five minutes per side on a charcoal grill, but I usually just reach for my countertop model and do them on high for five minutes total. Rest your chicken for another five minutes, and top with the relish.

I love to cook a big batch and make wraps with the cold leftover chicken (sliced) and sauce. If you make some rice or other grain to go with the original meal, you can take my throw-it-all-in-a-bowl-and-see-what-happens approach to leftovers and make a killer salad!




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