Watermelon plays nice with chicken

 There’s been so much tasty goodness this summer.  This was another popular food porn shot receiving multiple recipe requests.  The tangy lime dressing is so refreshing with the watermelon.

This is a great example of how you can turn a salad into a meal by combining it with a protein, in this case, a foolproof (always juicy, never dried-out and rubbery)  grilled chipotle-lime chicken recipe from Cooks Illustrated (subscription required)

I’m trying to eat more greens, so I tend to always have clamshells of organic arugula or mixed greens in the fridge.  A handful goes on the plate first, and then I just lay the salad on top

Watermelon Feta & Mint Salad with Chipotle-Lime Grilled Chicken

  • Make ahead: the grilled chicken (I make a huge double batch and use it throughout the week, good for 4 days in the fridge and much longer in freezer )
  • Prep time: 15 minutes for watermelon salad, 1 hour for the grilled chicken
  • Serves 4
  • Ingredients:
    • Chicken (for each 1.5-2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts)
      • Marinade: whisk together 3 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp lemon or lime juice, 1 tsp sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 3 cloves minces garlic.
      • Sauce (this sauce is awesome, and perfect if you’re having the chicken by itself, otherwise you can omit for this recipe): whisk together 3 Tbsp EVOO, 1 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp minced chipotle chile, 2 Tbsp  cilantro leaves, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
    •  Dressing
      • 1/2 cup mint leaves
      • 1 serrano chile (seeded and minced) or 1/2 tsp red chile flakes
      • 1 Tbsp  honey
      • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
      • 1 Tbsp lime juice
      • 3 Tbsp EVOO
      • Salt & pepper
    • Salad
      • 1/4 cup mint leaves
      • Seedless watermelon about 3lb, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
      • 6 oz feta crumbled
  • Preparation
    • Charcoal grill: if using (you can also broil the chicken if you’re in a hurry), fill and light the chimney starter,  then make a two level fire – all charcoal on 1 side.
      • I like using smoker chips.  Add 1 cup of Hickory chips to 2 cups of water before starting the grill (they need about 30 minutes of soaking).  Add to the charcoal after its gone white, then add the grate back in
    • Chicken:
      • Make the marinade and pour into a gallon size zip-loc freezer bag
      • Add the chicken and massage around, squeeze out the air, seal the bag and put in the fridge for 15 minutes (I usually do this after starting the grill)
      • After 15 minutes flip the bag, and leave for another 15 minutes (total of 30 minutes)
      • Use a wad of paper towels with oil on them to grease the grate just prior to adding the chicken to the side withOUT the coals.
      • Grill 5-7 minutes each side on the cool side with the lid on (until chicken goes white, maybe some minor brown marks)
      • Move chicken to the hot side (where the coals are) and add some color (grill marks) about 2 minutes each side
      • Use an instant read thermometer (you’re good once it reads 135 degrees in the thickest part, and get it off straight away if you’ve topped 150! If you’re using a broiler, you’ll just need to watch it, plan on around 5-9 minutes each side)
      • Cover with foil and let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes
    • Dressing:
      • Put all dressing ingredients (remember to save 1/4 cup mint leaves for garnish!)  in a blender, buzz, taste, add more chile, lime, salt or pepper to taste
    • Salad:
      • Toss the watermelon with the dressing up to 30 minutes before serving
      • Add the feta and grilled chicken and toss lightly
    • Plating
      • Lay down some arugula, then place salad on top to desired portion size.

Enjoy!

 

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