Eat Fresh


Which you will, when partaking of anything on the plate today.  There are the string beans fresh from the pole, no matter whether you picked them yourself or bought them from a farmer who did.  Then there are the sweet potato wedges, brushed with olive oil and grilled until they’re soft and fluffy on the inside, just past the slightly crisped exterior.  These are served up with a Dijon-cilantro dipping sauce that doesn’t just happen to be fresh, it proclaims it.

Finally, we have the Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Dill, a preparation Fine Cooking featured in its August/September 2019 number.  Surprisingly, it’s the only one of the four items on the plate that’s credited, as the other three (admittedly, the sides) were personal developments.

Recipes for most everything follow this text.  Everything, that is, but the string beans, because they’re laughably simple.  Just clean, string and steam some pole beans.  Garnish with sliced almonds and a piece of lemon if you wish, and there you have it.  See?  How easy (and delicious) is that?

As for the chicken and the dipping sauce, Dijon mustard gives both their character, a savory zing that contrasts beautifully with the mild sweetness in either the bird or in the potatoes.  The dipping sauce is perfectly suited for less formal (i.e., summer) applications, though if you want to be a little fancier, you always can drizzle it over the sweet potatoes.  If a Happy Meal’s unpretentiousness is fine, though, dip away!

In addition, green vegetables add a fresh clarity to both preparations: dill to the chicken thighs, and cilantro to the dipping sauce.  As a matter of fact, they ensure the garden theme carries through to all the meal’s components, not just the beans.  And why not?  It’s summer, and greenery exults with all the warmth and sunshine.  Dine now and share their glory.

*****

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Dill

  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • fresh dill, for garnish (optional)

In a large sealable plastic bag combine the mustard, Worcestershire, olive oil, dried dill, salt and pepper.  Place the chicken in the bag, force out as much air as possible, and seal the top.  From the outside of the bag, manipulate the chicken so the marinade mingles well with the poultry.  Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for up to two hours.

Ignite half the grill, while leaving the other half unlit.  Lower the lid while the activated side climbs to 500°.  When it does, lower the burner to medium.  Pace the chicken, skin side down, on the lit side.  Lower the lid and let the flames char light grill marks, about four minutes.  Flip the thighs and cook on the other side for another four minutes.

Remove chicken to the unlit half of the grill and continue cooking for another twenty minutes, with the lid down as much as possible.  Flip chicken a few times throughout, to promote even cooking.

Remove and garnish with fresh dill, as you like.

*****

Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed clean (*1)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Halve each sweet potato lengthwise, then halve again each piece lengthwise, producing four quarters for each potato.  Finally, halve each quarter lengthwise, resulting in 16 wedges, total, between the two sweet potatoes.

Brush each wedge on all surfaces with the olive oil.  Place them on the unlit half of a grill, with the other half at medium intensity.  Cook for 25 minutes total, with the lid down as much as possible, flipping frequently to promote crisping and even doneness.

Serve with dipping sauce (recipe below) if desired.

NOTES:

1 – Buy sweet potatoes (white flesh), instead of yams (orange flesh), as the former are milder in taste and produce a smoother interior when grilled.

*****

Dijon-Cilantro Dipping Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (*2)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 tablespoon freshly-ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped or torn cilantro

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients but the cilantro.  Cover a refrigerate for 30 minutes, to give the flavors a chance to accentuate each other.

Remove from the refrigerator and allow to warm to room temperature, about 15 minutes,  Mix in the cilantro and serve.

NOTES:

2 – Any hot sauce you like will do, though most will have a tough time matching my choice, sriracha.  It contains just enough heat and just enough flavor to enhance the Dijon.

13 thoughts on “Eat Fresh

    1. Yep Crystal, and that holiday would be summer! There’s something magical about the endless bounty which makes every aspect of dining an absolute pleasure. From planning how to divvy up the treasure this evening, to basking and luxuriating in the cool breeze after dinner,

      Enjoy, repeat tomorrow.

      Like

      1. Knew you’d appreciate it, Crystal!

        Though citrus excels in winter, and dry goods are available year-round, summer’s benevolence is uniquely inspiring.

        Plus, the heat makes us crave lighter, fresher things. A great way to boost nutrition. Without contrivance either.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, and ultimately, in cooking and in every other endeavor, it’s about more than just the blessings (though they stagger the mind), but in what we do with them. See, being a foodie has Supreme Inspiration!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Somebody is getting their grilling in this summer. I’ll bet you grilled the next day too, didn’t you? 😜 (A belated happy Independence Day, by the way!)

    But I am definitely not complaining. This looks lovely — and I like the sauce. Dijon and sriracha… Interesting pairing. All the meal is missing is corn instead of beans, because then you could’ve grilled that too. Hmm. Unless…
    Do you suppose grilling string beans is a futile endeavor?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Rachel! You won the bet, by the way. On any given day over the summer, the chances of my strumming the grates are better than a coin toss. Even at the other end of the year, amidst the blizzards, I still am sporting 10:1 odds.

      Good question about the beans, and it is possible, provided one has the proper supporting equipment, as in some kind of mesh basket. Oh, and an eagle eye too, to ensure the beans don’t char, as something so thin is liable to do.

      As for the other option you suggested, corn, completely awesome idea! In fact, have you ever had grilled corn on the cob? If your household counts a grill in its inventory, you’re on your way. All you need now is to find a roadside stand, a supermarket or your own garden, and then a Saturday afternoon. After that, ambrosia is yours! 🌽😋

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I suppose a grill is something to keep warm around during the cooler seasons, eh? 😜

        As a matter of fact, I have had grilled corn on the cob, some of it recent. Though never, I think, fresh corn… But it still manages to brush divinity.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. True, though I don’t ask dinner guests to trudge through the snow to witness male obsession with grilling. The low temps mean everything takes longer to cook, but it does provide a cheerful flame and the illusion I’m more cold-tolerant than I actually am.

        You definitely appreciate a seared cob’s perfection. Its initial disposition, whether frozen or fresh, means less than does its pre-grill treatment. For what promises to be one of the better of these applications, check out a future entry on Elote, Mexican grilled and seasoned corn.

        Like

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