I am anxious for the smell of burning charcoal and days of frisbee outside. This April has been colder than March was. Summer seems devastatingly far away. Equipped with some skewers, chicken and a broiler I decided to bring the cook-out indoors one night. Pistachios may be the way to my heart, so when I saw this recipe on Epicurious, which crushes these nuts up into a pesto for the chicken and vegetables, I was not dissuaded by even the wicked wind and rain that day to venture to the store for a “grill-in”.
Assembly is a little time-consuming if you have an appetite like mine. I picked up some chickpeas and naan for a hummus appetizer as the skewers browned under the broiler. If you are planning ahead and would like to make your own hummus use this recipe by Ruth Reichl of Gilt Taste, though, you’ll probably always turn your nose up at the store-bought stuff afterwards.
Serve with some rice, or do as we did and just eat these standing up around the kitchen island while sharing stories about each others day and making plans for summer.
Chicken Skewers with Tarragon-Pistachio Pesto
Recipe from Bon Appetit (April 2011)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons unsalted natural pistachios
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
16 1-inch pieces red onion (1/3 inch thick)
16 1-inch squares red bell pepper
8 lemon slices, halved
1 pound chicken tenders (about 8 large)
8 metal skewers
Puree the first 5 ingredients in a processor. Add ¼ cup of olive oil and blend slightly, until the ingredients form a paste. Mix in 2 tablespoons of water and season with salt and pepper. Transfer about 3 tablespoons of the pesto to a small bowl for the chicken and vegetables; reserve remaining pesto.
If cooking on a grill, prepare the barbecue to medium-high heat. Brush the grill with some olive oil. If you live in a balcony-less apartment and will be cooking the skewers indoors, turn the oven to broil. To prepare the skewers, thread 1 piece of onion, 1 bell pepper, 1 lemon slice half, 1 chicken tender (lengthwise), then 1 onion piece, 1 bell pepper square and another lemon slice half. Do this for all 8 skewers. Brush the chicken and vegetables with a little bit of olive oil followed by some of the pesto from the 3 tablespoons in the small bowl set aside. Sprinkle skewers with salt and pepper. Grill until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are slightly softened, 6 to 8 minutes per side. If using the broiler method, cook skewers on a foil-lined baking sheet approximately 8 minutes each side. Serve with reserved pesto.