Grilled Chicken with Garlic-Herb Dressing

Do you ever grill chicken and think that it’s just missing some flavor? When it comes to grilling meats, sometimes it seems like there’s only a few flavor options. The first person that comes to mind when trying to solve a grilling dilemma is Bobby Flay. But that’s not where we turned for this delicious grilled chicken recipe. From now on, I think it’s going to be difficult to have grilled chicken without Tyler Florence’s garlic-herb dressing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 or 2 heads garlic, cut in half horizontally
– salt and pepper
– 1/2 cup olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
– 2 whole thyme springs, plus the leaves from 6 sprigs
– the juice of 2 lemons
– 1 small bunch fresh parsley
– 1 whole chicken (or any combination of chicken pieces you prefer), cut into 10 pieces

Before you can do anything with this recipe, you have to roast the garlic. This is going to take at least 30 minutes, so make sure you account for the extra time it takes to get everything prepared. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. To roast the garlic, place the halved head(s) face-up on a large piece of aluminum foil, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and add two whole thyme sprigs to the top. Fold up the aluminum foil to make a little packet and throw in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes, or until the cloves are golden brown and soft.

Once the garlic is done, squeeze all the cloves out of the skin into a food processor. Also add the olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, and parsley and puree until you get a smooth, thick vinaigrette-type dressing. Now you’re ready to grill! About halfway through the cooking (after about 20 minutes) start basting the chicken with the dressing. The outside of the chicken will caramelize a little and get a result in a great crusty, crispy skin.

This was seriously the best grilled chicken I have ever had in my life. Once we took it off the grill, we added a little more of the dressing for an added flavor boost. I’m not sure that it needed it, but it sure made it tasty! The flavors of the garlic, lemon and herbs really came through in every bite of chicken…not just the skin (although the skin was the best part). The skin was nice a crispy, but not burnt, and the meat was nice and tender and juicy. I said it last time we made a Tyler Florence recipe and I’ll say it again — it’s called Tyler’s Ultimate for a reason! The deliciousness of this chicken is unexplainable. Period.

You can find the recipe in Tyler’s latest book, Tyler’s Ultimate, or on the Food Network Web site. And I highly recommend you find the recipe and try it out. You won’t be disappointed!

Butter Stuffed Shrimp on the Grill

Apparently we’ve been in a grilling mood. I guess we’re trying to catch up on all the grilling we didn’t do over the summer. At least the weather is still good. It takes a pretty good chef to be able to call your dishes “the ultimate,” but I think Tyler Florence has the chops. His book, Tyler’s Ultimate, has “the ultimate” recipe for everything. Let me tell you, his grilled shrimp with lemon-basil butter stuffing were amazing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 stick butter, softened (make sure it’s not melted)
– a large bunch of fresh basil
– the juice of 1 lemon
– salt and pepper
– 16 large jumbo shrimp, shells on and split down the back

This recipe is really easy, but it takes some time to individually stuff each shrimp. We ended up with a really good system where one of us would put a drop of butter under each shell and the other would rub it around a bit. However it gets done, make sure you’re not shy with the butter because it gives the shrimp so much flavor. To make the butter, throw the softened stick, basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper into a food processor and puree until smooth. Stuff the butter under the shells of the shrimp, about a half a teaspoon for each shrimp.

Heat the grill over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray so the shrimp don’t stick. Once the grill is hot, throw the shrimp on and don’t touch until they’re ready to flip, about three minutes. Baste them with more butter as they begin to cook, then flip. Baste again and let them cook through, about another three minutes. Simple as that!

Leaving the shells on the shrimp while they’re grilling gives them so much extra flavor, but nothing can top the amazing flavor from the lemon-basil butter. The shrimp had such a buttery flavor, but the flavors of the lemon and basil resonated throughout the meat of the shrimp. I’ve had grilled shrimp before, but there’s no doubt that these are truly the ultimate grilled shrimp.

Smoked Salmon

Well, sort of. Over the weekend, we found this smoke box attachment type thing made for a regular gas or charcoal grill that basically gives you all the great flavors of smoked food without the smoker. (There are other ways of doing this, such as cooking your food directly on a wood plank, but we had never seen a box made for wood chips.) The box is pretty small, about 10 inches long and one or two inches deep, but it fits right in between the burners on a gas grill. You fill it with wood chips that have been soaked for at least 30 minutes, set it on a pre-heated grill and let it heat up until the chips start to smoke. It’s really simple to use and the salmon came out extra delicious.

We used apple wood for our Atlantic salmon fillet (at the recommendation of Bobby Flay). We soaked the chips for 30 minutes in a cup with another cup set on top to hold them down. While the chips were soaking, we seasoned the salmon with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lemon zest and rubbed in a thin layer of olive oil so the fillet wouldn’t stick to the grill. Billy pre-heated the grill, I drained the wood chips and put them in an even layer in the smoke box then placed the box in between two burners on the grill. With the grill closed, the wood chips began to heat up and started smoke away. After about 10 minutes we could smell the apply goodness…it was time to put the salmon on the grill! Billy put the salmon, skin side down, on the grill, closed the top and let the smoke box do its thing.

When the salmon was about half-way cooked, Billy quickly flipped it (have to get those perfect grill marks!) then shut the grill again in order to keep as much smoke in the grill as possible.

The fish was amazing. It was cooked perfectly, thanks to Billy of course, and had a subtle smoked flavor. Conclusion about the smoke box experiment: awesome deliciousness! We thought that maybe letting the food cook low and slow may give it more of a traditional smoked flavor, but the box is perfect for infusing food with a great smoky flavor. We served the salmon with grilled zucchini and quinoa (instead of rice or potatoes).

This was also our first time trying quinoa. It was…interesting. The texture was pretty close to rice, but it had a small bite to it. It didn’t have much flavor on it’s own, but we tried to boost it up with some salt, pepper, chili powder and lemon zest. Definitely will be using it again, but will need more flavoring ideas…anybody have some they’d like to pass along?