Foodstuff: It’s grilling time
Chicken goes to Italy this Memorial Day Weekend
It’s officially time to crack open the grills and enjoy the splendors of summer cooking (at least until the next inevitable, soul-crushing blizzard in June)!
Alas, grilling time is not to be, for me, due to the following situation on my patio:
You might have read about the Great Recycling Fiasco of 2022 in a previous Foodstuff column. My Homeowners’ Association is back at it again, with drama surrounding an exterior painting project. My doors, windows, outdoor furniture, and basically every other surface, which I might use now that the weather is warmer, is currently covered in plastic — including my incredibly fancy Everdure grill, another food-related gift from my brother and his family (Christmas 2018 was one for the books!).
While I myself can’t yet enjoy the spoils of it’s-almost-summer-let’s-cook-with-fire fun, that shouldn’t stop YOU, dear reader, from trying one of my favorite summer specialties: chicken spiedini. This recipe is a combination of my grandmother’s, my brother’s, and Tom Jackson from All Things Barbecue (His great demo can be found on YouTube). Easy, fast, and fantastic with pasta, a mixed-green salad or grilled vegetables on the side. I like a salad and asparagus myself.
1lb. chicken breasts
1c Italian dressing*
2T olive oil
1/2c Italian style breadcrumbs
1/2c panko breadcrumbs
2T freshy grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting a slit in each breast at the thickest part at the top, then slicing vertically, being careful not to cut the chicken completely in half crosswise. Open the chicken at the slit, and pound to an even thickness (about half an inch).
Place the chicken breasts in a glass baking dish, piercing each a few times with a fork, so they better absorb the marinade. Pour the dressing over the top of the chicken, turning to coat. Let marinate, covered, in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes or up to two hours.
Once the chicken is done marinating, preheat your grill to medium-high heat. While the grill is heating, combine the breadcrumbs and cheese, seasoning with salt and pepper. Coat the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs into the meat.
With the long side of the breast facing you, roll the chicken away from you into a tight bundle. Cut in half, then cut the two halves in half, making four pinwheels of chicken. Take two skewers**, and tightly pack the four chicken pieces on to the two skewers.***
Once the grill is hot, rub the grates of your grill with a cloth or paper towel soaked in olive oil. Grill chicken for five minutes on one side, covered.
While the chicken cooks, zest and juice the lemon, and melt the butter. Once the butter is melted, combine it with the zest and juice. Flip the chicken, and either brush or spoon the lemon butter over the cooked side of the chicken, being careful of flare ups. Cook the chicken for five more minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°. If the breadcrumbs get too brown, move to indirect heat until the chicken reaches temperature. Finish with remaining lemon butter.
*I like Newman’s Own myself.
**Metal if you have them, wooden pre-soaked in water if you don’t. Two skewers are better than one here, as they prevent the chicken from spinning on the skewer.
***Pierce the chicken through the seam side, otherwise it will unroll.
You can see from my photo that I allllmost burned the breadcrumbs, so be careful here, but know that these were still delicious. I can’t wait to eat them again once my HOA stops fighting over door, garage, and trim colors (red or brown, in case you were wondering). Riveting stuff. Here’s to summer cooking!
Katherine Roberts is a midvalley-based writer and marketing professional who can’t currently use her grill, but she has no problem roasting her neighbors. She can be reached via her marketing and communications firm, Carington Creative, at firstname.lastname@example.org