Thursday, March 19, 2009

At Market...Citrus

The weather has been gloriously spring-like here in southern California. So much so that we have been spending as much time out-of-doors as possible--gardening, eating and just lounging around. My apple trees are blossoming, and the daffodils and poppies gently bob their heads in the breeze, nodding in agreement that indeed spring has come. The exotic smell of confederate jasmine is in the is spring fever. Consequently, the birds have gotten quite amorous, chasing each other about the trees, squawking and screeching, with puffs feathers drifting down. Several mourning doves have threatened to settle in the eves over the porch, which I detest, mostly for the fact that they spook easily and knock their eggs out of the nest onto my bricks...which is not a pretty sight. I guess the expression "bird brained" came about for good reason.

Despite the advancing season, my produce drawer is still chock full of several different kinds of winter-ripe citrus. And while eating them fresh is lovely, I decided to try to use some up today in a marinade for chicken. Now that the sun is up longer, we can grill it outside, in the fading light and lingering warmth of the day. Marinades are really difficult to mess up, which is a relief, isn't it? All you need is an acid to help tenderize the meat, some oil to keep it moist, and some herbs and spices for flavor. Nearly any combination will turn out well, and it is very fun to experiment with ingredients on hand. I almost always marinate meat in a gallon-sized, zip-top bag. It is so much easier to mix the marinade and turn the meat, and clean-up is a breeze too.

Citrus Balsamic Marinade

In a large zip-top bag, place 1/2 of a medium sized onion (thinly sliced), 4 cloves of garlic which have been smashed and roughly chopped, the juice from 2 oranges (I used blood oranges but any are fine), 2 limes and one lemon (about 3/4 C citrus juice total), 2 T of balsamic vinegar,2 T of low sodium Tamari (soy) sauce, 1/4 C olive oil, 1 t salt, and 1 t pepper. Squish bag around to mix and put in mixed bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (about 2 pounds).

Marinate chicken for about 6 hours or over night. Remove chicken from marinade and shake off excess. Grill over a medium-low flame for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Flip chicken every 15 minutes. It will be ready when the internal temperature registers 160 degrees. Remove from grill, cover, and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

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