Flame Kissed Chicken and Lentil Salad


This week what I thought was going to be a culinary disaster resulted in the best chicken I have ever eaten.  Twelve people were coming for dinner–a teachers’ sorority.  One of the women gave me the chicken half frozen in marinade to take to my house–we work together.  She planned to come to my house early and grill the chicken.  Because she was unexpectedly late, I had to grill the chicken myself.  Now, to tell the truth, even though I cook a lot and blog about food, I had never grilled chicken before.  My daughter had grilled steaks several days earlier, but it never occurred to me to clean the drippings pan under the grill.  Here is what happened:

I heated the grill to about 450 degrees, took the still slightly frozen chicken out of the marinade and placed it on the grill.  It took only about 30 seconds and flames were shooting up about 6-8 inches and the chicken  was turning a grayish color.  I was concerned about two things:  the flames getting totally out of control and starting a real fire (my grill is propane) and the chicken being totally inedible.  I turned the heat down, pulled the grill farther away from the wall, turned the chicken over, and hoped it would be ok in the end.  After all this commotion, a half hour or so later, and after cooking the hamburgers as well, we tried the chicken.  It was the best chicken I have ever eaten.  It was even good left over cold out of the refrigerator–I normally refuse to eat leftover, cold chicken, reheated or otherwise, because I think it tastes dreadful.  People also told me the hamburgers were cook perfectly.

If anyone can tell me how to duplicate this delicious chicken result without all the flames and fire dangers, please comment on this post.

Several weeks ago a fellow food blogger, The Hungry Irishman, posted a lentil salad.  Here is my promise to him to post the lentil salad I make.  The original recipe is from one of my oldest and most favorite cookbooks, The Silver Palate.  However, like most everything I cook, I modify to suit myself and  never really follow the recipe, except maybe for cake, but I rarely bake cake so…

LENTIL SALAD

Cook two cups dried lentils in water with several carrots, 1 medium onion, chicken or vegetable stock, cloves, and 1 bay leaf.  Be sure not to over cook.

While the lentils are cooking, combine 3-4 garlic cloves, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 teaspoons dried thyme (you can use fresh also, but will require more thyme), and black pepper to taste in a blender and blend until creamy.  You may also add 2 teaspoons ground cumin for a slightly more  Middle Eastern taste.

When lentils are done, drain, and remove the carrots, etc.  Place in a serving bowl and stir in the blended  mixture.  Refrigerate overnight.  Just before serving add 1 cup scallions, chopped, and 1 cup chopped walnuts.  You may adjust vinegar and olive oil to suit your taste.

If you use regular onions chopped rather than scallions, this salad will keep well in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

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