Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer = Corn Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa

The first of our local corn is arriving. Used as a key ingredient of a salsa along with some other flavors of season, this will put summer smack dab onto your plate.
This was largely improvised but the measurements are fairly close to what I used. Don’t get hung up on exact amounts in a recipe like this one. What is a medium-sized tomato anyway? If yours is bigger than mine and you have more tomato in your salsa, it will still taste great. Free yourself and allow your judgment and taste inform you.
Instead of a raw corn salsa, I cooked the corn first. When I drained the corn after it was done, I didn’t rinse it opting instead to spread in out onto a paper towel-lined baking tray to cool, then transferred it to a bowl and then to the refrigerator.
This recipe is for two servings. It might seem like a lot but it wasn’t just used as salsa but also as our “vegetable” as well. I grilled chicken for this but it would work with just about anything. And like all things should be in the summer, this is easy.

Grilled Chicken with Corn Salsa
For two servings

2 ears corn
1 medium tomato
¼ cup diced red bell pepper
2 to 3 Tablespoons minced onion
juice of one lime
hot sauce, to taste
salt and ground black pepper
6 to 8 basil leaves, cut into ribbons (about ¼ cup fresh basil)
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Husk the corn and remove the silk. Hold an ear of corn in a bowl as you carefully slice the corn off the cob. Repeat with the second ear of corn. Place a saut√© pan filled with ½ cup lightly salted water onto the stove over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the corn, reduce the corn and cook the corn for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and drain the corn into a strainer, shaking excess water from the corm. Spread the corn out onto a paper towel-lined baking tray and allow to cool. Transfer the cooled corn to a bowl, cover and refrigerate.
2. Remove the stem from the tomato. Slice the tomato in half lengthwise, and cut each half into thirds or quarters, depending on the size of your tomato. Remove the center part with the seeds and discard. (You can place the discarded bits into a strainer and let the juices drip into a bowl and add them to the salsa.)  Slice the remaining tomato pieces into strips then cut them crosswise. Place the diced tomato pieces into a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, along with the corn. Season with salt and black pepper and mix until combined. Cover and let the salsa stand allowing the flavors to combine.

Grilled Chicken
This marinade for the chicken is my “go to” marinade suitable with any meat. Sometimes I will include some lemon juice and a chopped fresh herb, such as thyme but since the salsa has basil and lime juice, I omitted them this time. I prefer to salt the chicken as it cooks instead of including salt in the marinade. Again, this is improvised based on experience but the amounts should get you started. Feel free to improvise with in the future. Just don’t reach for the bottled dressing as a marinade anymore. Have you read the ingredient label?
For two servings
8 to 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
2 to 3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tablespoon minced shallot (you can substitute with onion)
ground black pepper
red pepper flakes, optional, to taste

1. Trim the chicken breasts, if necessary. Carefully slice the chicken breast into cutlets, depending on the size and thickness of the breast. Place the chicken into the bowl with the marinade and mix to cover the chicken with the marinade. Wash hands. Cover the bowl and set aside. If you are not going to cook the chicken in 20 minutes or so, refrigerate the chicken.
2. Heat grill and when it’s hot remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken on grill, season with salt, and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, then turn and finish cooking on the other side. Since the chicken has been sliced into thinner pieces, it will cook faster. Remove chicken from grill.
3. Spoon salsa onto the bottom of two plates. Top with the chicken and top the chicken with additional salsa. Summer is served.

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