Passover week isn’t so hard. Just imagine yourself on a low-carb diet with unlimited access to fruits and vegetables. And chocolate. And macaroons. Sounds pretty luxurious to me. Add a grill to the mix, and you’ve got it covered, with very little dishwashing to plague you as you cook.
One of my tried-and-true lazy cooking tricks is to buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, transfer them directly from the store to sealable plastic bags and pour in a marinade. The sealed bags go into the freezer or sit in your fridge overnight until you are ready to grill.
Some knowledgeable cooks (who apparently don’t have small children screaming for food at 6:05 p.m.) say that if you let chicken sit in acid longer than 4-5 hours, the meat becomes tough. I haven’t found this to be true, and I don’t think I’d really care if it were. In my book, the convenience of having chicken flavored up and ready to smack on the grill or in a pan far outweighs any adverse textural effects. If you don’t want to risk it, by all means, marinate 30 minutes to 5 hours, and not a moment longer. And mazel tov to you for managing your time so well.
Aside from make-ahead, freeze-ahead marinades, the most exciting grilling discovery I’ve made in recent years is, hands down, radicchio. Cut those beautiful little purple heads into quarters, remove the core, skewer them, and you’ve got a very colorful salad to play with.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (tenders removed)
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 Tbs. minced garlic
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
plenty of fresh ground black pepper
Put chicken in a sealable plastic bag or large glass container with lid. Add tequila, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and paprika. Seal and shake. Freeze or let marinate 30 minutes to 5 hours. If freezing, defrost by leaving in refrigerator for 24 hours. When ready to cook, remove chicken from marinade and sprinkle evenly on both sides with salt and pepper.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Grill 6-8 minutes per side until cooked through. Or cook on grill pan or in skillet over medium heat, uncovered for 6 minutes, and then flip and cook covered for an additional 6-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Grill or cook tenders separately 3-4 minutes per side.
Grilled Radicchio and Asparagus Salad
1 lb. asparagus, tough stems removed
2 zucchini, stems removed and sliced vertically into two long pieces each
1 head radicchio, quartered and cored
1⁄3 cup olive oil
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
plenty of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup roasted red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1⁄3 cup crumbled feta (optional)
Place prepared asparagus and zucchini on rimmed baking sheet. Skewer quartered and cored radicchio on metal skewers. Place on baking sheet. In a jar with tight fitting lid, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt and pepper. Screw on lid and shake. Drizzle 3 Tbs. of dressing over raw veggies. Turn to coat.
Preheat grill to medium-high. Place radicchio skewers directly on grill. Arrange asparagus on perforated grilling pan if you have one, or carefully lay across grill so the spears won’t fall through the cracks. Arrange zucchini, cut side down on grill. Cover grill.
Cook for 5 minutes. Remove asparagus. Flip radicchio and zucchini. Cook 4-6 more minutes until zucchini is cooked but not mushy, and outer leaves of radicchio are browned. Remove from grill. Coarsely chop asparagus and zucchini. Remove radicchio from skewers. Transfer vegetables to a large salad bowl. Add roasted red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Toss with remaining dressing to taste. Serve with feta if desired.
Josie A.G. Shapiro, who won the 2013 Man-O-Manischewitz Cookoff, is the co-author of “The Lazy Gourmet” and works at the JCC of San Francisco. Her columns alternate with those of Faith Kramer. Her website is www.thechickencontests.com.