We like to think of ourselves as a sophisticated and well-mannered bunch around here at Thread & Whisk. Despite that, the expletives start flying some afternoons the closer it gets to dinner time. We're beginning to completely understand why our own busy parents would occasionally blurt out, "Okay gang, breakfast for dinner tonight!" It was brilliant quick thinking on their parts. Food/fast/here/now. Dinner, BAM!
When you write a blog with the guiding principals of taking the time to do something just right because it's worth it, it can get you into a moral pickle some times. Entire days have been devoured testing out a recipe or contemplating the spacing of button holes. Dinner time rolls around and we've been caught completely by surprise. Admittedly, we're no strangers to occasional take-out dinners. Sometimes though, there's not a single menu in the drawer that can satisfy the craving. It's not necessarily a certain dish we are seeking, it's more like a feeling that wants to be satisfied. Then we realize what it is. No matter what you make, sometimes food just tastes better when you make it.
Like many small workplaces, we've got our own language. We keep trying to come up with a word that describes flavor of meat right off the grill, or the juice in the pan that you mop up with a crust of bread. Sohn-maash is the word that we've been borrowing from Roy Choi, the Korean American chef and creator of the gourmet Korean taco truck, Kogi. In his memoir, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, Choi talks about sohn-maash when he describes his mother's cooking and how she practically had "flavor in her fingertips" because of her passion for cooking and sharing an innate ability to capture flavor in the moment. You know what we're talking about, right?
If you strategize just right, the actual cooking part of dinner can take less time than the whole act of getting take-out. It's the burden of thinking of what to cook that can suck your soul right out when you have a million other things going on. It's a supportive bunch that we roll with, sort of a Thread & Whisk village. Every now and then, there's a shout out to the group and it goes something like "What the (choice expletive) should I make for dinner?" You can usually count on someone to immediately respond with a quick list of ingredients and a simple cooking method. Welcome to our village. Here's the dinner idea to pull out of the air the next time that 5:30 comes nipping at your heels: Chicken breasts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper. Put it all in a ziplock bag for as long as you have time for. Spark up your grill and and work a romaine salad with a caesar-ish vinaigrette and flat bread. You've got dinner, BAM! Sometimes, the time you take to do something just right doesn't take much time at all. That's when it's really worth it.
This is not a bowl of cereal for dinner.
Slice the chicken, just a little off-kilter, on the bias.
That's the magic in the pan, or as we've been calling it the sohn-maash. Put the sliced chicken back into the pan to soak up that goodness.
Vinaigrette - shaken (vigorously), not stirred. While you're at it, romaine hearts - torn, not chopped.
Grilled Chicken Salad with Oregano and lemon
2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced juice of one lemon
2 tsp dried oregano
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Salad & Dressing:
3 small heads of romaine lettuce
juice of one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil, or more
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper
Flat bread or pita
Combine all of the ingredients for the chicken in a ziplock bag. Marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to several hours if you have time.
Preheat your grill to medium high. Cook the chicken on the grill, turning it once. It should take about 12-14 minutes on a hot grill. Check for doneness by making a small cut into the thickest piece of chicken. Remove the chicken from grill and place in a dish. Cover it with foil and let it rest for 3-4 minutes while you warm up the flat bread on the grill. Place a piece of flat bread on each dinner plate.
While the chicken is grilling, tear the romaine lettuce into bite-sized pieces and put it in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a jar. Give it a vigorous shake and pour it over the romaine. Gently toss the salad and serve a portion on top of each piece of flat bread.
Slice the chicken on the bias into 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick slices. Put it back into the dish to soak up the rest of the juices. Those juices are liquid gold and make the chicken extra succulent and flavorful.
GOT A FEW EXTRA MINUTES?
This recipe can get bulked up with a few add-ons like cubed feta cheese, kalamata olives, yogurt sauce or bell peppers that have been tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and grilled along side the chicken.