Tue Apr 9, 2013
If all has gone well, I'm into my second week of a three-week jaunt around Spain, now enjoying the sights and tastes that Sevilla has to offer. Even on vacation though, the wave of meat shall not cease, and I've done some prep ahead and put the blog on autopilot to continue to fill your eyes and bellies with great grilled treats. Getting giddy by the thoughts of what this trip may have in store, I busted out another Spanish-influenced recipe from the archive with these Spanish spice-rubbed chicken breasts with parsley-mint sauce.
You'll have to excuse the photos, these were taken before I meticulously documented every step in my process, so some steps are missing. (I actually have a lot of good recipes sitting dorment for this very reason, but I figured this was a fitting time to try to get an oldie, but goodie up.)
Like almost all chicken recipes I do, this one starts with a brine. This is especially important for chicken breasts which dry out easier and faster than dark meat. As you may have noticed, the above photo is not of chicken breast, but of a whole chicken—I had to borrow a brining photo from another recipe, but you get the point.
As the chicken brined, I worked on putting together a Spanish-influenced spice rub of paprika, cumin, mustard, fennel, salt, and pepper, whose aroma filled the kitchen and left me incredibly anxious to get this on the grill and into my belly.
That rub was applied to the brined and dried chicken and let sit for a couple hours in the refrigerator. As the chicken approached the end of its rest time, I fired up the grill and got started on the accompanying parsley mint sauce that began by roasting a couple jalapenos over the flames.
Those were peeled, chopped, and thrown into a food process and pureed with parsley, mint, garlic, honey, mustard, and olive oil to create a fresh, herbal, and slightly spicy sauce.
Then finally the chicken went on the grill and it cooked up even more beautiful than it smelled. The skin crisped and turned an attractive reddish-brown that looked like it was going to explode with flavor. Man, my excitement at the time probably matched my intense anticipation for the vacation I'm currently on.
Finally it was time to eat, but there was one problem—I was left trying to find all those wonderful smells and looks in the taste. I'm not saying this was in anyway bad, quite the contrary. The chicken was moist with a mildly spiced and crunchy skin, and the sauce gave a balance of freshness with a slight heat, but for all that went into this, it was missing a robust punch that I was so positive was going to be there. Still, it was obviously memorable enough that I thought it about in the excitement leading up to my Spanish adventure and I'm glad I finally got it out of storage and out to all of you Meatwavers.
Spanish Spice-Rubbed Chicken Breasts
Adapted from Grill It by Bobby Flay
- Prep Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Inactive Time:
- 3 Hours
- Cook Time:
- 30 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 4 Hours
- 4 servings
- For the brine
- 2 quarts cold water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup salt
- 4 bone-in split chicken breasts
- For the rub
- 2 tablespoons Spanish paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
- 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- For the parsley-mint sauce
- 2 jalapeno chiles
- 1 1/2 cups tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 2/3 cup tightly packed fresh mint leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Whisk together the ingredients for the brine until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place the chicken breasts in the brine, using a plate to keep them submerged, and brine in the refrigerator for 30 to 60 minutes.
- While the chicken is brining, combine all of ingredients for the rub in a small bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the breasts on all over with the rub and place in a Ziploc bag and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Grill the serrano chiles until charred on all sides and remove to a small bowl, cover, and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Peel and roughly chop the chiles and add them along with the parsley, mint, and garlic to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the honey and mustard and process until combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Brush the chicken lightly with olive oil and grill, skin side down until golden brown and crisp, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the breasts over, cover, and continue to cook until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the breast, about 15 to 20 minutes more
- Transfer chicken to a platter and immediately drizzle with some of the parsley-mint sauce. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with additional sauce on the side.