This was our Date Night from last weekend, and it was really, really tasty. Our dinner was Grilled Chicken Pieces with Garlic Herb Dressing and Grilled Lemon. It came from the book “Tyler’s Ultimate” by Tyler Florence. Really tasty and easy. He calls for roasted garlic, which is where you split a whole head of garlic in half, wrap it in foil, and roast in the oven for about an hour. I didn’t realize this until the chicken was half-way to the grill, and didn’t really have time for that. So I used regular garlic, but cut back on the amount (to 2-3 cloves) and it worked just fine. Enjoy!
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH GARLIC-HERB DRESSING
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
Leaves from 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
Juice of 2 lemons, plus 2 lemons, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 (4 lb.) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium head of radicchio, cut into quarters
In a blender, combine garlic, 1/2 cup EVOO, thyme, lemon juice, and parsley. Blend to make a thick vinaigrette.
Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
Put chicken pieces in a bowl and toss with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of EVOO. Put radicchio in another bowl, and toss with salt, pepper and EVOO.
Prep the grill with an oiled paper towel (run it over the grates to prevent sticking). Place chicken on the grill skin side down, along with the radicchio quarters and grill them together. Cook radicchio for about 2 minutes per side until it has a nice char. Pull it and set aside to cool. Cook chicken for a total of about 20 minutes, turning once, then basting with the vinaigrette. Cook until an instant-read thermometer reads 160 F in the thickest part of the breast meat and the chicken is nice and caramelized all over, about another 15 to 20 minutes. During the last few minutes of cooking, throw the lemons on the grill cut side down and cook just until they’re marked and smoky.
To serve, separate the radicchio quarters into leaves, then add chicken pieces on top, then drizzle with the rest of the dressing. Squeeze grilled lemons over all. Enjoy!!
LEMON MERINGUE TART
Dessert was equally delicious. It’s basically the best lemon meringue pie I’ve ever tasted, just in tart form. It was a little complicated to put together, but totally worth it! And I honestly thought several times during the baking process that mine was going to bomb big-time, but it turned out quite well, I was very pleased with it! It comes from the book “Barefoot in Paris” by Ina Garten. The tart pan is what makes this typically American dish French (or something like that). Anyway, give it a try! If you usually don’t care for lemon meringue pies, you’ll love this one.
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs
5 extra-large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest (from 6 to 8 lemons)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
8 tbs cold unsalted butter, diced
1/4 cup ice water (I needed less)
4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Lemon Filling (see above)
LEMON FILLING: Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment for 1 minute (alternatively, you can easily use a handmixer for this). On low speed, add eggs and egg yolks one at a time, then add lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Don’t worry if it looks curdled. Pour mixture into a small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until thick, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Whisk briskly when it starts to thicken and cook over low heat for a minute or two, whisking constantly. Don’t allow it to boil! Pour into a bowl and cool to room temperature. Note: I had to raise the heat to almost medium to achive the thick consistency you need. It worked just fine because I watched it like a hawk and it only needed a minute or two at higher heat.
Combine flour, 3 tbs sugar, and 1/2 tsp salt in a bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times until butter is in small bits. Add ice water and process until the dough comes together. Dump onto a well-floured board and form into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll the dough out and fit into a 9″ tart pan with removable sides. Don’t stretch the dough when placing it in the pan or it will shrink while baking. Cut off excess if need be. Line tart shell with a piece of aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Fill with pie weights, or dried beans or rice. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and beans and prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork all over. Bake another 15 minutes until lightly browned. Set aside and cool.
Raise oven temp to 425 F.
For the meringue, whip egg whites, cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or just do this with a handmixer). Mix on high speed until frothy. With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat until the meringue is thick and shiny, about 2 minutes.
Immediately spread the lemon filling in the cooled tart shell and pipe the meringue over it with a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, just spoon it on and smooth it with a spatula. Be sure the meringue covers the entire top and touches the edges of the shell, to prevent it from shrinking. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned. Cool to room temperature and serve!